Traveling to a new environment might be overwhelming. Learning where to stay is a good start to having the best travel experience.
Rabat – Finding where to stay on your travel to Morocco might seem challenging. However, Morocco has no shortage of wonderful and diverse accommodations to suit any traveler’s preference.
Whether you choose to stay in the heart of an ancient medina to experience the traditional Moroccan lifestyle or in the newer areas of cities, you will have plenty of options.
Travel to Morocco offers a wide range of accommodations. You can find classified and unclassified hotels that vary in price point, famous traditional houses in the heart of the medinas called riads, houses and villas for rent, and other accommodations.
Whether you stay in youth hostels or grand sultan palaces, the costs vary, so you can choose where is best for your stay in Morocco based on your own resources and priorities. It is also wise to reserve accommodations in advance, especially in major cities such as Marrakech, Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, and Agadir.
Following this guide will help you narrow that decision and give you an idea of the different places where you can stay during your travel to Morocco.
These hotels are classified by the Moroccan National Tourist Office. You usually need your passport or entry stamp number when registering to stay at a classified hotel.
The hotels are often located in the city’s ville nouvelle (new city), as opposed to the ancient medinas. Their quality can vary, and star rating is a good indicator. However, the hotels in Morocco usually receive their star ratings according to their facility and amenity offerings, such as pools, elevators, restaurants, and saunas, rather than a rating based on how grand and excellent the service is. You might want to check for a hotel’s comfort, location, and atmosphere before choosing where to stay in Morocco, regardless of the establishment’s star rating.
Despite having a classification, the hotels set their own prices. This usually depends on their star rating. However, they also might offer discounts and promotional rates off-season. Sometimes this means having breakfast and dinner included — and sometimes lunch too — which can be a great deal.
High-end hotels are the luxurious four- or five-star hotels that have Western-style standards of service and comfort. They are also stylish with unique designs and architecture, whether Moroccan or European. In resort towns such as Agadir, you can find high-end hotels that have complexes for pools, golf courses, nightclubs, and several restaurants.
Some of the best-known five-star hotels are La Mamounia in Marrakech and El-Jamai Palace in Fez. These two are great choices if you want to stay in a luxurious and historic Moroccan conversion. There are also the three-star Ibis hotels. They are almost always located next to the train station, and are convenient, comfortable, and a good value.
Unclassified hotels are usually located in the old parts of the cities and are often the cheapest accommodations around. They do not have star ratings, and depending on the price range they can lack some popular facilities such as air conditioners, showers, and Western toilets.
Some unclassified hotels are better maintained than others. You’ll find a few in poor condition while others are well-kept with the necessary resources. Some unclassified hotels have gas-heated showers or shared showers and squat toilets. They might not offer soap, shampoo, or towels, so it is better to bring your own.
The prices of these hotels can vary and can also be a bargain for travelers on a budget. There are some cheap hotels, especially in the deep south of Morocco, where hosts will offer a mattress for a stay on their roof terrace. Others may provide a space in a traditional Moroccan salon, lined with mattresses and cushions. You can typically stay at these accommodations for less than MAD 50 ($5) per night.
One of the advantages of unclassified hotels is their location in the heart of things, where you will get to spend more time exploring the medina and souk markets. When hot water or showers are not available, you can head to a local hammam nearby and enjoy your time at the traditional Moroccan bathhouse.
Riads or maisons d’hote, which roughly translate to “garden” and “guest house,” are traditional Moroccan houses that typically have no street-facing windows. Instead, windows open inward to an open-air courtyard in the house’s center.
The riad tends to have many rooms or salons on multiple levels. The courtyard consists of a fountain and a little garden, to which all the rooms look out. Facilities such as a kitchen, laundry room, and hammam are usually at the entrance.
Sometimes the courtyard at maisons d’hote, the equivalent of a bed and breakfast, will open toward the sky. The riad, however, offers a more traditional and stylish Moroccan design. In a few riads, it is possible to rent the whole house. Because of their rising popularity in Marrakech, riads are now found in most tourist cities such as Fez and Essaouira. You can even stay at one in the Atlas Mountains or in the southern regions.
The now-trendy accommodations are located in ancient medinas, within old walls built by the different dynasties that ruled over Morocco. A medina location is perfect to explore the heart of the city, close to most of its attractions.
The 18th-century medina houses are stylish and offer perfect shots for your Instagram. They sometimes have small pools, jacuzzis, and include breakfast. Some are more expensive than hotels, given their traditional value and location, although they offer a similar level of comfort and service to a four-star hotel. Others are cheap, depending on facilities. Riad rooms are consistently cozy, clean, and have an intimate Arabian vibe.
However, sometimes some lack air conditioning, heating, or are difficult to access while hauling suitcases. It is best to view your riad of choice online and read reviews or contact the manager before deciding where to stay during your trip to Morocco.
Another accommodation option where you can stay in Morocco is a rental house or apartment, especially if you are traveling in a group or as a family. Coastal cities such as Agadir, Essaouira, Asilah, and Tangier have many houses for rent at different price ranges, depending on their size and location. Prices in off-seasons tend to be lower.
The houses are usually modern with bedrooms, Moroccan salons, a kitchen, and showers. Most of them have a cool temperature in the hot summer with tile floors and breezy windows. Some even have balconies or terraces, while villas can have outdoor pools and gardens.
To look for houses, walk around the area where you want to rent and ask the locals or shopkeepers if they know any place available, or look for “for rent” signs hanging from windows. This is particularly straightforward during festivals, when locals anticipate travelers who will need a place to stay.
Most people now speak English, or at least a few words, which will help your communications. Keep in mind, however, that you might find people who only speak French or Arabic. Have a translator with you or learn a few words in French and Arabic that will get you by.
Another way to find a suitable rental house is to look online. Airbnb is always a solid avenue to explore options, but you can also find options with Facebook’s Property Rentals feature.
If you are staying longer-term, there are websites where agents post rental advertisements. The same agents can suggest other places to stay if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for. However, you will usually have to pay a one-month fee and a damage deposit. Some of the websites you can check are Avito, Maroc Annonces, Askoon, and Mubawab.
There are many official campsites in Morocco where you just need permission to stay from the site’s owner. They are located in most coastal towns, in southern Morocco, in the Atlas mountains, and sometimes they are even farther from cities.
The majority of the campsites have water and electricity, small restaurants, and a grocery store nearby, or even a swimming pool. You can either pitch a tent at the location or rent a small camper vehicle.
There are also campsites in national parks, and glamping options are readily available for anyone who wants an outdoor experience with luxury comfort.
Hostels are plentiful in Morocco, and they are a perfect choice if you are young or traveling alone. They allow you to explore Moroccan cities while staying in a social and enjoyable environment, and they are also some of the cheapest accommodations in the country.
“Auberges de jeunesse” is a reliable and comfortable hostel chain, located in Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, Meknes, Ouarzazate, and Rabat. Some hostels might offer you breakfast and accessibility to the kitchen and communal showers, and some can be a bit far from the city.
Gites d’etape are accommodations located mainly in the mountains, small villages, or other regions in the Sahara desert. In this case, locals have a homestay or hostel. They usually consist of one bedroom and offer a communal shower, a dining room, and sometimes hot water is accessible as well.
Some homestays in the mountains might not have electricity. However, the Moroccan hosts’ warm welcome and friendliness are usually worth it, especially when you get to live in an environment different from yours and learn about other cultures and lifestyles.
Due to the wide range of accommodations in Morocco, it might be confusing figuring out where to stay and which place best suits you and your needs. Following this guide should give you enough information about the types of accommodations available to help you plan a wonderful travel experience in Morocco.