Casablanca – the mere mention of this cosmopolitan city’s name and your mind probably conjures images of the glamorous Lauren Bacall and stoic Humphrey Bogart standing on an airport runway or standing by the bar as Sam plays it again. Casablanca may have come a long way since the days of Bogey and Bacall, but it still retains its glittering Hollywood glamour.
Casablanca (map) is Morocco’s largest city, its cultural capital, its economic base and by far the most liberal city in Morocco, making its nightlife the best to be found within the country. Designer labels and shops are in abundance in the streets of Casablanca whilst French-colonial design reigns supreme in the city’s architecture.
The city has excellent transport links by bus, train and there are plenty of flights to Casablanca. With such great transport options, taking day trips out of the city is a breeze, but you might want to stay put: Casablanca is home to some wonderful sights. The lavish King Hassan II Mosque is the third largest in the world and one of only two main mosques in Morocco, and with the tallest minaret in the world and stunning interior with beautiful tile work, a trip to this mosque alone is worth a journey to the city.
The Old Medina is a small traditional walled town found in the north of the city that, like most medinas in the country, is home to the city’s souk – a market offering a wide range of traditional and modern goods. Although not quite as impressive as the souks of Marrakesh, Casablanca’s souks offer plenty to please the eye and lighten your pockets. The Quartier Habous, built by the French when they ran the city, is also worth a visit.
For those looking for a taste of old Hollywood glamour, a trip to Rick’s Café is a must. This beautiful bar and restaurant was inspired by the Rick’s Café from the film Casablanca and the décor does its best to live up to it. Serving American, French and Moroccan food, head along on a Sunday to enjoy the evening jazz session and pop up to the 1st film for a free screening of the legendary film.
Luxury hotels in Casablanca
Casablanca’s cosmopolitan nature and excellent transport links have also made it a welcome home for luxury and boutique hotels.
The Hôtel & Spa Le Doge feels like the hotel that time forgot – with a fabulous Art Deco interior, each of the hotel’s 16 rooms is dedicated to a different artist from various eras in history, making a stay here a truly eclectic experience.
The Art Palace Suites Hôtel & Spa offers a similar aesthetic quirk, with each room having been inspired by celebrities and international icons of interest. A slightly more modern experience, the Art Palace also has its own permanent art gallery.
A very modern hotel, the Mövenpick Casablanca is located near the Medina and many of the city’s most interesting tourism spots. The hotel manages to traverse the line between contemporary and Art Deco rather well and the rooms are opulent and stylish.
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