After staying in budget hotels and feeling frustrated in Laayoune about the time it took for the shared shower to be free, and after a nine hour bus journey, I decided to go a bit upmarket. I ignored my guidebook's suggestions of going to the centre of town to stay in one of several "backpacker favourites" and opted instead to go for an en-suite room at the Hotel Erraha in the "new" town centre close to the sea, the new mosque and the new covered market. I didn't just get a room, I got an apartment! For 200 dirhams (roughly 12 dirhams = £1), I had a beautifully tiled bedroom, a bathroom with the biggest of all luxuries, a hot shower, a room with an extra sink and work surface on which I suppose could become a kitchen, and a hallway with a comfy chair in it. I also had a balcony overlooking the mosque and the sea. My first reaction was to think I'd struck lucky and bagged a bargain.
The room was good enough for me, although on closer inspection, I could understand why it wasn't more expensive. The television cable wasn't long enough to reach the socket, so to work it had to sit on the floor. the balcony door didn't shut 100% properly and rattled vigorously in the wind. The boiler in the bathroom had dodgy wiring, so for the first day I was reluctant to even touch it...if I'm going to be electrocuted, I don't think I'd choose Dakhla as the location. The toilet seat wasn't fully attached to the bowl. The shower only worked when you crouched down and held the shower head underneath the taps. The kitchen was a bit of a waste of space...I wasn't able to cook as there were no facilities, and I wasn't able to sit in there because there were no chairs, so I wasn't really sure what it was for. the room itself didn't smell, but there was a sewagey smell out in the corridor and around reception in the evenings. And finally, late afternoon, the fish canning factory over the road sprung into operation for the night shift, so it was a bit like trying to sleep next to a whirring lawnmower.
Having said that, the location was great, with sea views from the balcony, a built-in alarm clock in the shape of a mosque, a cafe down below and a row of fish stalls around the corner. The staff were very friendly too.
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