Morocco Journals

2.5 weeks in Morocco

A November 2004 trip to Morocco by thuand

Tour of the Desert Photo, Merzouga, Morocco More Photos
Quote: I took a brief, but wonderful trip to Morocco with four other friends, and I want to share my experiences.

2.5 weeks in Morocco

Overview

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There were many great things about Morocco, and I will try to highlight them in this journal.

Quick Tips:

Best Way To Get Around:

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In a word? Dank.

This hotel was listed in the moderately priced section of the Morocco Rough Guide. I have to say that it should be moved to the cheap accommodations section.

The room that we rented was indeed cheap, less than $20 a night. It was also dirty and damp. We had to go down to the front desk to ask them for towels and to turn on the water. The bathroom had the distinct smell of mildew.

If you're looking for a cheap place to stay in Marrakesh's medina, the Hotel Ali is a much better deal. The general mood of despair that permeates the halls and rooms of the Arset el Bilk really puts a damper on your enjoyment of Marrakesh itself.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on December 15, 2004

Hotel Arset El Bilk
Rue Bani Marine
Marrakesh, Morocco

Hotel Ali

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Hotel Ali Photo, Marrakech, Morocco
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A great place for travelers on a budget. The Hotel Ali teems with budget travelers from all over the world. The staff is very friendly and speak a variety of languages. They are very used to dealing with tourists and offer a range of services (money exchange, restaurant, Internet cafe, etc). If they cannot provide you with something, they can always refer you to someone who can. They gave us the name of the tour company that we used for our desert adventure. The hotel's rooftop offers one of the best views of the Djemaa el Fnaa around. Each room comes with a basic but free breakfast. Guests can also check their email for free. The rooms themselves vary widely. The double...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 15, 2004

Hotel Ali
Rue Moulay Ismail
Marrakesh, Morocco

Villa Maroc

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Villa Maroc Photo, Morocco, Africa
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The Villa Maroc is a beautiful hotel with a professional and courteous staff that makes you feel welcome from the moment you first step in the door. The management has taken care of every aspect of the hotel with a real attention paid to decor and presentation. Each room, stairwell, and niche in the hotel is beautiful. The villa is located just within the medina wall in Essaouira. It's spacious and airy, with an interior courtyard that houses a large cypress tree and song birds. The hotel also has a hammam on the lower level that caters to men and women. Rooms come with a large complimentary breakfast that the staff provides no matter what time you choose to awaken. The Villa Maro...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 10, 2005

Villa Maroc
10 Rue Abdellah Ben Yassine
Essaouira, Morocco
+212 44 47 31 47

Tour of the Desert Photo, Merzouga, Morocco
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My group booked a 4-day, 3-night tour with Imagine le Voyage Tours, a company based out of Marrakech. They offer tours of the desert, Dades Valley, and Todra Gorge for groups and individuals. For $125 per person (for a group of five), we were able to rent a Land Rover with a guide and have him pick us up in Fez and do the tour in a reverse order, ending back in Marrakech. Although Imagine le Voyage promised 2 nights in the desert in Berber tents, you must be aware that it's not with Berber families. The guide drops you off at the place where the camels are waiting, and a Berber guide leads you on the camels into the desert, where you share an encampment with other tour groups. Th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 8, 2004

Djemaa el Fna/Jamma el-Fnaa

Attraction | "The souks of Marrakech"

Djemaa el Fna/Jamma el-Fnaa Photo, Marrakech, Morocco
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The souks of Marrakech were much easier to navigate than those of Fes. The Rough Guide to Morocco provided an excellent guide to accessing them, and once inside, it's quite easy to find your way. It's also a great place to get acclimated to the noise, smells, and life of the country. The places closest to the Djemaa el Fnaa are more aimed for tourists. The quality of products was not very good, and the prices were very high. You will have to make your way into the heart of the souks to find items of good quality. I highly recommend the cloth found in Marrakech. The weave is well done, and the colors and patterns are quite captivating. One of my gro...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 16, 2004

Djemaa el Fna/Jamma el-Fnaa
Medina Quarter
Marrakesh, Morocco

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The cheapest way to get from Marrakech to Essaouira is by bus. Unfortunately, there are always "guides" who wait around the bus station to "help" you find the right bus. It was particularly bad for me because I was traveling in a group of five. We arrived at the bus station by taxi and were immediately accosted by people asking us where we were going. Naively, I responded to them. One of the guides then took us to a gentleman who tried to charge us extra for not reserving seats beforehand - and then asked us for a baggage handling fee per person. The baggage fee was real, but the extra charge for not reserving was not. We were firm but calm and kept stating the price we were wi...Read More

Essaouira

Story/Tip

Essaouira Photo, Morocco, Africa
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Essaouira is a beautiful town located on the western coast of Morocco. Even in November, the weather was beautiful - sunny and warm for the entire time that we were there. Coming from Marrakech, Essaouira provided a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle found in the more touristy areas. The medina is small enough that you can really get a feel for its layout within a day of wandering. The people are very friendly and not as aggressive towards tourists as in other places. Essaouira is the place to go to buy wood items. The Exposition de l'Emsemble Artisanal is a series of shops that offer handicrafts. The woodworking shop is a must-see for those looking for gifts. The qual...Read More