We have just returned from touring Morocco and we spent one night here. Having booked all our accomodation for everywhere else I left Rabat until last as I didn't seem to be able to find a reasonable hotel with decent reviews that didn't cost the earth! As we were arriving by train and were only staying one night, the Balima seemed an okay option and was fairly cheap (£35 a night). We arrived at about 10.30 in the morning and having read that the earliest check in was 13.00 we were prepared to not be able to check in. Ready to simply drop our bags off we made our way straight to the hotel (a 1 min walk from Rabat Ville train station - come out the station and turn left and walk 200m and the hotel is on the opposite side of the road). Although being a french speaker the guy at reception was quick to realise that we were English so he quickly switched to English and made us feel quite welcome straight away. We were then shown straight to our room at the end of the corridor on the 2nd floor by the porter. Having read some of the views I was imagining a dirty flea pit but we were quite pleasantly surprised. The room that we were in had obviously been recently renovated and although the paint work looked to have been done in a somewhat speedy fashion, the rooms looked a lot brighter and more modern than they did on the internet! The only issue that I had was that, as mentioned in another review, the maid seemed to have a bit of an aversion to sweeping the floor and being white tiled throughout it was quite difficult not to miss the clumps of hair that were gathering in the corners!!! Beware that they are still renovating the hotel. Work seems to start around 9am ish and finish at 6.30/7pm. This didn't really affect us though as we were out all day sightseeing. Having only stayed one night we didn't really explore all the bars/clubs/restaurants that the hotel has to offer but they are popluar with both tourists and locals. The hotel has a bit of a weird set up in so much as that it is designed like a big H. As you face the hotel, the reception is in the right hand side and the snack bar/restaurant is in the left hand column of the building. To get to the breakfast room you need to go into the left side and wander into the snack bar. There is a set of stairs hidden almost behind you and breakast is served up there either inside or on the terrace (nice for watching the world go by). I wouldn't agree with the last comments re breakfast. The breakfast is standard accross Morocco - orange juice (although not freshly squeezed on this occasion), choice of hot drink, a croissant with jams, a bread roll (contrary to what the last review said it was actually the freshest bread roll we'd had in 3 weeks!!) and laughing cow cheeses. It suited us just fine.
All in all we had a decent stay here. I wouldn't like to say what the rooms were like that hadn't been renovated but for what you pay and the amazingly central location, you can't really complain. If you are only here a couple of days then I would suggest staying here as we spoke to other people that paid an awful lot more to stay in other hotels and they were extremely unimpressed.
Rabat made a welcome break from all the hussle and bustle of Marrakech and Fez. It's also really easy to find your way around here. Definitely visit the Chellah. The guide book I had said it was a 40 min walk to train station. We took a taxi there (7DH) but unfortunately we couldn't find any coming back so had to walk it although it actually only took us 20mins at a slow walk too! One point to note is that taxis are all metered here which was a welcome change! Just behind the hotel is McDonalds if the tagines all get too much for you. We were tempted but chose to go to the Italian that is behind called La Mamma as we'd read good reviews. It didn't disappoint either and for those that like ice cream they had about 30 different types all based on traditional Italian recipes too!
You could do an awful lot worse than to give this place a try!
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- Also Known As:
- Balima Hotel Rabat