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Casablanca, Morocco

My wife and her friend, mid 30's, will be in Casablanca mid Nov 15 for 5 days including travel. We dont know much about the city... Any gems anyone can recommend? Interested in relaxing, food and drink, and shopping. Staying at Hotel Kenzi Tower. Thanks :o)

Posted by
29 posts

Sallam 'lekum MikeJ,
Casablanca is often 'chastised' by fellow travellers as being "non-Moroccan" and devoid of interest, but I've grown to really like the city over the years. Here's my list for your wife and friend (in no particular order of preference):
Wining and dining - along the stretch of Rue Allal ben Abdallah opposite the Marché Central are the restaurants L’Étoile Centrale (Moroccan, unlicensed), La Brasserie Bavaroise (French-International, licensed) and La Bodéga (Spanish Tex-Mex, licensed). The latter is also good for a fun night out accompanied by sangria and heading downstairs to the dance floor and it attendant ogling (male) locals; Ostrea (licensed) offers some of the best seafood around, located in the port area close to the Casa Port train station; Rick's Cafe (licensed) is both a not-so cheesy sightseeing attraction and respectable dining establishment...go on any night except Monday to hear the classic "As Time Goes By" played by the resident pianist.
Shopping - it's true that nothing is made in Casa and subsequently everything is imported from other parts of the country and is generally more expensive. However, if Casa is the only place that your wife will be visiting, then the string of shops lining both sides of Boulevard Félix Houphouët Boigny offer all the crafts that Morocco is famous for, as well as the desire to haggle while sipping a glass of mint tea. Marché Central is a largely undercover market selling everyday grocery items, a few souvenirs, fresh produce (good olives) and fresh flowers.
Culture and sightseeing - the downtown Art Deco neighbourhood (Boulevard Mohammed V and around) is fascinating to discover (just keep remembering to look above the street level); Villa des Arts, the Cathedral of Sacré Cœur and the Abderrahman Slaoui Foundation Museum are all on or bordering the peaceful Parc de la Ligue Arabe and are all worthy of a visit, as of course is Morocco's architectural showpiece, the Hassan II Mosque.
Relaxing - head out to the beach suburb of Aïn Diab for a stroll along the seaside promenade. If it's a sunny, warm day then perhaps pop into one of the beach clubs for some sun bathing.
Should your wife have the time, then I'd consider heading further afield for a half/full day up to Rabat or down to Azemmour, both of which are accessible by train but perhaps better visited with a local guide/driver.
Hope this helps.
Your fellow traveller,
Darren Humphrys

Posted by
661 posts

Darren thank you, thats really useful and i appreciate the effort :o)

Posted by
39 posts

Visiting the Hassan II mosque is an opportunity you should not miss. It is the only mosque in Morocco that is open to non-Muslims. The required tour is quite informative and it is fabulously beautiful.

Posted by
661 posts

Thanks Darren and Beth, my wife returned yesterday and had a wonderful time. She visited the mosque and many other places and loved everywhere. She has stayed in many top hotels around the world, but said the service at Kenzi Tower was the best she's ever had, and the food she had on the whole trip was wonderful. She got ripped off by a taxi driver who tried to charge 70MAD for a 15MAD journey, but she gave him hell and only 40MAD... which is only a few pounds, but why Taxi drivers the world over feel the need to take advantage of tourists is a constant mystery (well not really). She said this was the only small negative and everyone else she met was lovely and very welcoming. She also remarked how clean and beautiful Casablanca is. They would happily have stayed a few more days.

**** UPDATE ****
Just found out my wife's credit card had an attempted £1250 spent after she left Morocco, and she knows who did it, and amazingly and quite by chance, got a photo of them, it was in a well known chain of shops, her bank caught it and declined... BEWARE.

Posted by
284 posts

The above mentioned Mosque. Avoid the Souk. Scam artists abound and can get quite pushy including touching. Have hotel arrange transportation to avoid getting ripped off.

Recommend getting out of Casablanca as fast as possible and seeing other parts of the country. Rest of the country is wonderful.

Posted by
29 posts

Sorry to hear that, Mike.
Can you please let me know the name of the shop/chain, just to lodge into my memory bank should I have clients that wish to shop there?