Decided to take a few days off work at short notice and got a cheap flight to Marrakech. As I was travelling alone and backpacking looking for somewhere cheap (around 10 GBP per night) and near Djamaa El Fna for first and last nights whilst trekking in Atlas mountains and chilling out at Essaouira on coast in between.
Took 20 dirham airport bus into city and dropped off near main square. Looked at a place in one of the guide books but a bit tatty and run down. As I left approached by youth with a card for Hotel Fantasia. Whilst normally wary about such approaches I had nothing to lose by checking it out. It was only another block away in Ryad El Moukha so still very close to the action. Fact that the building next door had been demolished was initially offputting but entrance and reception area very welcoming as were the staff. Colourful tiles everywhere.
Hotel is on three floors set around quiet courtyard with a fountain (not in operation on my first night but was 10 days later when I returned). There is then a further roof top terrace with another fountain (same operating arrangements as the one on the ground floor !!) and then up some steps to a sun terrace. Mismatching tables and chairs found on both and a large tented area where you could lounge around drinking mint tea. There is a good view across the rooftops to the Koutoubia and other monuments and on clear days you can see the Atlas mountains.
My room was basic but with very comfortable bed and clean linen. Showers, on my floor at least, were a bit of a hotch-potch of various plumbing attachments. No water at all when I first arrived but this was sorted out quite quickly and then constant hot water. What may be a bit off putting to some people is the fact that you shower directly above the squat style toilet !
Hotel is only 5 minutes from Dlemaa El Fna which is a must. Eat at the stalls in amongst the locals or at any of the restaurants around the edge of the square or overlooking it. Not surprisingly prices vary with location. Le Toukbil particulary good value - plate load of food for a pound or two depending on choice. Probably tried out just about every cafe around the square for coffee and rounded off the evening in the Hotel Tazi. Big worn but comfy sofas in the main lobby plus a dingier bar attached. One of the few places where you could get a beer but quite expensive by English standards. However each drink was accompanied by a plates of nuts, olives and popcorn!!
Marrakech certainly enjoyable experience despite the beggars and scammers. Atlas mountains absolutely superb. Trekked for three days without seeing a single fellow traveller. Essaouira very laid back - good seafood. Great roof top bar at Taros Cafe.
- Also Known As:
- Fantasia Hotel Marrakech