I'm very fond of the Hotel Atlantide as I lived in Safi in the mid-1980's when I was a Peace Corps volunteer. At that time, it was the best hotel in the city, as Safi has never been a tourist center so offers few options. Now there's a newer hotel located next door to the Atlantide, which offers a spa, and a couple of small riads in the medina that are more comfortable and tourist-oriented. However, the Atlantide is still the best place for an authentic taste of the colonial era in Safi.
The hotel is nearly 100 years old and is showing its age, and it's no longer the center of social events the way it used to be. While the public rooms are still quite beautiful and grand, the bedrooms need an update. They're clean, the beds are comfortable, and the bathrooms have plenty of hot water, but everything is just plain old. The staff freely admits that it doesn't really cater to tourists. It was originally built to host engineers working at the nearby OCP chemical facility, and those people are still the main clientele.
All these comments aside, I still love the place. It's like stepping back in time. The Art Deco hotel was built to resemble a big passenger cruise ship (a nod to Safi's seaside location) and you can easily imagine the Atlantide as a setting for an Agatha Christie mystery, as the public rooms and the hallways resemble one of the sets for a Hercule Poirot TV movie. My friends and I stayed over the Eid el Kebir holiday, when we were practically the only guests, and it reminded us of the hotel in "The Shining."
The rooms have only 2 beds per room, and since there was 3 of us we had to get 2 rooms. We still only paid about USD $65 total, including breakfast. At dawn, we could hear the call to prayer from multiple mosques, so went on our balconies overlooking the pool and back gardens to watch the sun rise over the ocean. The hotel is in on a hill, so you get a great view of the town sloping down to the sea.
The Hotel Atlantide is not for everyone. If you expect luxury or Arabian Nights-Casablanca fantasy decor, this is not the place. However, it's relatively inexpensive, clean, quiet, conveniently located near a few restaurants and cafes in the new part of town, and an easy walk to the old medina. If you love Art Deco architecture and want to stay in a place with an authentic colonial atmosphere, you should like it.
- Also Known As:
- Atlantide Hotel Safi