North Africa's Arabian Arcadia
Morocco offers the traveller an extremely wide range of accommodation throughout the year. This includes trendy Medina houses, world-class luxury hotels, beach resorts, desert and mountain kasbahs and grand sultan palaces. Options for the luxury traveller have increased considerably over recent years, but there is still plenty of budget accommodation as well. Advance bookings are recommended during the holiday season from June to September, as well as over the Easter and Christmas/New Year periods. If you are thinking of visiting Marrakesh, then you need to book in advance whenever you decide to go. You'll also need to book in advance if you want to stay in a Medina maison d'hôte, where it's almost impossible simply to arrive and ask for a room.
Hotels in Morocco
Broadly speaking, there are two types of hotel in Morocco: those that are unclassified and those that are classified by the Moroccan tourist board. Classified hotels are awarded from 1 to 5 stars for having certain facilities, which include a pool, a restaurant, a lift, etc. It is important to remember that the Moroccan rating system applies to the facilities that a hotel has, rather than its standard of service, or to how luxurious it may or may not be. Thus, it is not always the case that the accommodation with the most stars is necessarily the most comfortable or atmospheric. Hence, it is not a good idea to rely too much on the star classification system, as inspections of classified hotels can be erratic, and regardless of their star rating, hotels can charge whatever they wish. Classified hotels in the cities are usually found in the ville nouvelle (new town), rather than in the Medina. If you are looking for accommodation that is characteristically Moroccan, or exotic, then you should look at other types of accommodation, such as riads. Most classified hotels in Morocco will have Western-style rooms and usually provide reverse-cycle air-conditioning and showers with a good supply of hot and cold water, during both the cold winter and hot summer. Some classified hotels also offer demi-pension (half board), which can be a good deal, especially in the more isolated areas where there aren't too many other dining options. A typical 5 star hotel in Marrakesh in May will cost about £109 a night for a room that sleeps 2 adults and 1 child including breakfast, whereas a twin room (2 adults) in a 3 star hotel in the same city at the same time of year, will cost about £35.