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“Just o.k.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Balima

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Hotel Balima
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   283 Ave Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #26 of 38 Hotels in Rabat
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Just o.k.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

This hotel fits into the "consider the total package" category. Price is right. Location is amazing - literally two blocks from the train station. Food was fine. On the down side, the street noise is very loud (ask for a room on the back side of the building), the cigarette smoke creeps into every room, and the bathroom shower was a bit treacherous. No English spoken. It was o.k.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the back side, and higher up, to avoid all the street noise.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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109 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    5
    28
    37
    24
    15
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13
34
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
174 reviews 174 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
204 helpful votes 204 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

Look! When I travel to another country, I make sure that I experience how the locals live and attribute my version of stars to the establishment accordingly. That is my feeling when I go to the Hotel Balima where I am expecting the old doorman to open a historic door, expecting to get the change in your pocket as a tip. The reception area has kept its distinctive style, something that incorporates an Islamic look with colonial style desks mixed in. The multilingual personnel act as though they have spent their lives at their jobs, keeping an eye on guests and dealing with them sensitively according to their culture. They know that European and American tourists want to be steered towards bazaars and restaurants where you are not taken advantage of, while a man from Arabia expects to be treated with reverence and given priority. Expecting a generous tip, a porter will guide you to your room, open the window, and make sure you notice the welcoming fruit basket. Overall, when you are at Balima you are living a Moroccan experience. The small elevator reminds you that it has been added as a luxury to the historic hotel. Breakfast is served in your room, your coffee may not arrive as hot as you like on a busy day, but you get plenty of local butter and jam. Do not expect air conditioning, but rather you will do as the locals do and open your window, an authentic and bearable experience because the air is dry and the stone and brick structures help you to feel comfortable. I like the Balima and I hope that it does not change.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2012

I've stayed at the Hotel Balima several times -- 1984, 1990 and in Nov. 2011. I love the classic old-timey French colonial atmosphere. You really can't beat it for historic importance in Rabat. Due to its central location directly across from the parliament building, it's been at the center of all important historical events in the city. I've swapped stories with a friend's grandfather who stayed there in the early 1950's and we had similar experiences. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco in the mid-80's, the Balima terrace was where we'd hang out to have a coffee and watch the world go by, in uninterrupted tranquility. I was delighted to find on my 2011 visit that my fond memories of the hotel were still accurate. The public rooms are grand but of a simple elegance, none of this over-the-top Disneyified concept of Morocco that you get in new hotels. The Balima is simply the real thing. Our 2 rooms were simple and clean, nothing luxurious. That said, I wasn't fond of the floral decor, and the bathrooms could stand an update. The location is also amazing, walkable to the medina and all the major tourist sights, convenient for cafes and restaurants, and only a block to the train station. Considering the low cost -- approx. $100 US for 2 adjoining bedrooms with 4 twin beds and a shared bathroom -- the place is still a bargain. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone staying in Rabat. People who want to feel as if they're in an American hotel may not find it modern enough, but even they will appreciate the location, historic ambiance, and good value.

Room Tip: I love the rooms that overlook the front, with a view of Avenue Mohamed V and the Parliament buildin...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2012 via mobile

I'm not quite sure why this hotel has such bad reviews....

Booked it last minute to be closer to the train, 2 blocks away. It's massive and easy to find, also close to La Mama which was a plus. Our room was pretty big and we had a wifi signal (yay!). Breakfast (included) was pretty lousy and consisted of some bread with jam and butter, a laughing cow wedge, a hard boiled egg, and coffee. There's also a restaurant and cafe attached. The cafe is nice because it has a lot of outdoor seating space but the restaurant is awful. The price is midrange; plain pizza was 28dh, tajine was 80dh. But it doesn't even matter because the food is so bad you shouldn't eat here. The pizza was straight out of the freezer and the tajine was the worst we've had since coming to Morocco. If you're willing to spend the money, just go to La Mama down the street for good pasta (around 60-75dh) or Le Petite Beur for good tajine (110dh).

Also, the room is really cold at night so bring an extra sweater. We paid $75 for the two of us/night.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waitsfield, Vermont
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2011

Our visit to Hotel Balima began with the rates being substantially more then the website advertised. 1100 Dh for a four person room instead of the advertised 800 Dh. They then gave us a hard time about passports and took the copy of one of ours that was the only copy we had for our current travels around Morocco. Promising to give it back the next day we checked in. Later that night we tried to go to the bar that was supposed to be a hot spot in Rabat. It was across an alley down a dark flight of stairs, full of smoke and prostitutes. When we came back to the hotel we found out that a man who had a key walked into our room on the one of us who had stayed behind (this was at 11PM) the manager on duty was unconcerned and had no explanation but we could easily have been robbed or worse. We did get him to change our rooms after a great deal of argument. The next day the reception had misplaced the photo copy of the passport they had insisted on taking. Very, very bad experience.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
El Jadida
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2011

We've stayed several times at this hotel for short breaks over the past 20 years, most recently in Sept 2011. The rooms have been renovated recently, which is good, but still have dark wood furnishings, which give an old-fashioned feeling, which I think is nice.
During one stay (Dec 2010) we found ourselves in a room where the previous occupant's tobacco smoke still hung around for several days. The chambermaid tried to air the room during the day, but because of the weather could not leave the windows open. Suggestion to Balima management, if you read this: consider designating one storey for smokers.
Reception staff are always friendly, and staff seem professional. Breakfast is OK: if you are staying for several nights and get bored with the same thing every day you could go out to one of the cafés close by for a better choice.
The hotel doesn't have a car park, but we always manage to park close by in spite of the fact that this is the city centre.
Clients seem to be a mix of Moroccans, foreign tourists travelling independently, and package hols.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Verona
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2011

Simple rooms, nice terrace outside, very close to the railway station, decent breakfast.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Balima

Address: 283 Ave Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer Region > Rabat
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #26 of 38 Hotels in Rabat
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Balima 3*
Number of rooms: 71
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Balima Hotel Rabat

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