We stayed here at the end of our Moroccan trip and decided to finish up with a ‘normal’ hotel resort experience to relax after staying in Riad’s in previous cities. We found the resort to be very nice and new but sometimes a frustrating experience. And Casablanca as a city is not somewhere we’ll ever go back to as it was just too frustrating for us enjoy after having a fantastic time in Marrakech and Rabat.…
As the Pestana complex is fairly new no taxi drivers knew where it was and we had to show them a printout of the name each time until we eventually realised it was easier to tell them the Anfa Place shopping centre which the resort is part of. Another detriment to it being so new is that only half of the complex/rooms appear to be open in the hotel block and surprisingly the best ones with beach views were all apparently unopened/unfinished. The view from our hotel balcony was of the neighbouring resort which was all finished and brand new but deserted and totally empty awaiting their opening.
The rooms themselves were all brand new and lovely with nice furnishings, fittings and being a good size with plenty of space. We slept well in the hotel and had no problem with noise from any other rooms.
We had no problem connecting to the WiFi but it was useless as it was too slow to use on any device and we gave up in frustration.
The beach is directly behind the hotel and we got lost trying to find the way to it (as signage either doesn’t exist or is poorly signposted) and eventually stumbled upon the exit to outside and to the beach so was no problem from then on.
The pool is small but big enough to relax in for a quick dip and pull up a deck chair to relax in the sun. If you want a towel reception will direct you to get it off a guy who is meant to be sitting down there keeping an eye on the pool etc. Unfortunately when we went for a swim the guy was not there and we couldn’t find any towels so had to traipse all the way back up to reception (easily a 5min walk back to street level) to ask for a towel. Again we were directed to get one from the guy that was meant to be there (later found out he’d gone for a swim to the beach) and 5mins later we’re down at the pool looking for him. Eventually we got peed off an found a security guard who had enough basic English to work out what we wanted and got on the radio so someone from the service staff could get us 2 towels from somewhere.
We were only in Casablanca for 2 days so planned on dropping the bags off into the room upon arrival and heading straight out to have a look around. Unfortunately our room was ready 2 hours later than when we arrived for check-in and we sat in reception for a while waiting before eventually going for lunch at a nearby restaurant. However the hotel staff and the people at the front reception were all lovely and very professional. Aside from the staff working the late evenings they were all fluent in English as well and were all very helpful.
We had phoned ahead from Rabat to see if we could arrange a transport via the hotel to collect us from the train station which was a 12min drive. The hotel quoted us €30 for a transport which was ridiculous for a 12min journey so we had to try our luck at the train station with our bags and get a Petit taxi which are the small red hatchback taxis that serve the inner city. Thankfully we had no trouble at the train station and the taxi drivers that swarmed us happily agreed a €10 fare to the hotel (even though it would’ve been just a few Euro’s on the meter).
Now our biggest gripe with trying to enjoy our trip to Casablanca were the Petit taxis. They are the only way to get around unless you hire a car (which I would strongly recommend against unless you’re used to driving in Africa with no road rules) and unfortunately the taxi’s ruined our trip. Every time we went out somewhere we had no problem getting a taxi from the hotel who would use the Meter. Fares are very cheap and a lot of the drivers are very friendly and welcoming to Casablanca and willing to try and talk to you. In this situation I have no problem tipping a friendly driver providing a valuable transport service. However once you’re stranded somewhere away from your hotel then those friendly Petit taxi drivers refuse to use the meter and once they ask you were you want to go then every fare quote starts around €10 as a fare. There was no negotiation even as we tried to offer less. This happened every time we left the hotel and went to try and enjoy something in the city. Usually each time we tried to come home we were walking in the direction of our hotel and took on average 20mins to find a Petit taxi that would either use the meter, or at least offer a fare of €5 for the trip back. The last thing you need to know about the taxis is that they can take 3 passengers. So even when my wife and I were in the back seat they will also pick up a person for the front seat so don’t be alarmed. It’s quite a smart system and the taxi driver can run 2 fares on the meter and we had no problem when this happened.
So beyond the many frustrating experiences we had in Casablanca, the hotel was very nice and we were quite happy to be ‘stuck’ there at the hotel considering it was too difficult to go out and see the city. The beach and surrounds in Anfa Place were all nice and the shopping centre next door is a good size (no need to go to the Morocco Mall and then not be able to get back via taxi which happened to us) .
I think when the nearby resorts and surrounding complexes all open fully this will be a lovely area along the beach and a hive of activity. At the moment it’s lovely but appears to still be going through the early phases of opening and the launch of everything along the newly developed beachfront.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Pestana Casablanca Hotel is located 30 minutes from the international airport Mohamed V, its also very close to Hassan II Mosque and modern Morocco Mall shopping center. Allows quick and easy access to restaurants, shops, bars, beach and green spaces. ... more less
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