Reasonably Easy to Find...
On my 2nd trip to Casablanca, I had to spend a night in the city due to flight scheduling. Hotels near the airport would cost much more and they aren't worth the splurge. I picked this hotel as it was one of the cheaper (or cheapest) I could find from reading a few English-language guidebooks, and had English-speaking staff.
When I got on a Petit Taxi at Casa Voyageurs train station to come here, the taxi driver barely understood the address to get here. A friendly, helpful young chap who boarded the taxi next, was roped in by the taxi driver to double-confirm where I was going, and he also cautioned me to be careful of my belongings as he said this is "not a very good area". Of course it didn't help that it was already evening (dark), I was a girl travelling alone, and I stand out from the local population. Solo female travellers should have this in mind, as I've read a negative review about this aspect on TripAdvisor.
The taxi stopped on the opposite side of the street and they kindly pointed the hotel out to me till they were assured that I was sure where it was. I was touched by the helpfulness of the other passenger, he spoke Arabic, French, Spanish and apparently not much English, but he tried his best to give me tips and point out places during the ride.
The hotel is on a smaller street opposite Marche Centrale, should be easy to find especially if you come during daylight hours. The reception area is small but quite welcoming. I had originally called them to reserve a single room with ensuite shower for 170 MAD, but when I got there they couldn't find my booking and had no rooms with ensuite shower left. They offered me instead a big family room which had a big double bed and a smaller bed, with washbasin but no ensuite shower, for 150 MAD. Showers and toilets were down the corridor. Not a problem if you want to save a bit of money.
My room was big and spacious, with a tiled floor. There's a cupboard if you want to hang your clothes, but I sprawled mine over the other bed since I didn't have anyone else occupying that anyway. There was also a small table, 2 chairs and a small sofa seat. There's a small balcony where you can have a not-very-interesting view of the street.
It took a bit of wrestling with the door to figure out how to lock it. This can get a little annoying at night as the corridor light will frequently turn off while you're still trying to make the lock work, leaving you (literally as well as figuratively) in the dark.
Corridor lights are activated by pressing the round-ish switch on the walls, and turn themselves off after a period of time.
The shared showers and toilets were clean, though the design perhaps a little lacking in consideration. It can be difficult to get in and out of the showers as you're standing in the way of the door (swings inwards, not outwards). It's less of a problem when you go in as the showers will hopefully be dry, but a bit acrobatic if you want to get out after a shower without wetting your clean, dry clothes.
Be careful on the staircase, I fell and twisted my ankle. :( The staircase is a tad dimly-lit plus I was tired and misjudged or whatever. Thankfully it was the 2nd last step.
The guys at the reception (I never figured out who's really the boss, working there, or just friends hanging around) do speak some English and can help with basic questions. If you ask them for recommendation for Moroccan food, they'll direct you to Restaurant Etoile Centrale which's located on a street behind Marche Centrale, which I think is listed on the Lonely Planet guidebook.
Checking out the next morning at about 0630, the reception area was dark but the reception guy walked me to the main street, helped me hail a Petit Taxi and told them to send me to Casa Voyageurs train station.
A Petit Taxi ride to/from Casa Voyageurs train station should cost about 7-10 MAD.
Unique Quality: The hotel room keys are on a keychain which's shaped like a lady's hand.
Directions: On a small street opposite Marche Centrale
Budget good hotel
I stayed in Hotel Galia, which is located on 19 Rue Ibn batouta (tel: 022-48-16-94) opposite to the central market. It is conveniently located and can be accessed by public bus no. 2 and no. 30 from CASA-Voyageurs train station. Although the management and the hotel seem to be new, the building itself is not. However, the hotel is clean and efficiently managed. The room I stayed (Rm no 22) is spacious. Hot bath is available throughout the day and the shared toilet and bathroom are surprisingly clean. The room rate is S/D Dh150/220. Highly recommended. See pics for room view.
From Casa voyageurs train station, you can take a local bus for DH3 to get there.
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