When I was last travelling on my own through Tetouan and Chefchouen on my way down to meet my friend at Marrakech I did as I normally would and stayed at a budget place in the town centre for only 50 dirham.
The place was clean and though without ensuite the water available was hot.
I paid a guy to guide me around - well he hassled so much and seemed so determined and deserving of it! that I felt sorry for him so agreed - but by the time I got back after about 3 hours of walking around the medina, up to the remains of the fortress above for sunset views, a visit to the rip off berber pharmacy and dinner, it was pretty late - and cold!!
My warning is this - this el cheapo place had no other complaints but that after a certain time in the night the temperature plummets and as many blankets as I had to put on that I was really weighted down with them I just could not get warm!! I was so uncomfortably cold all night!!
When I moved onto Chefchouen the next night I particularly was heading for a place I knew with heating and silly me got sucked in again listening to local touts and stayed at a hotel I didnt know - and froze again!crying about it I was so cold it was traumatic!
After that I stayed where I knew it was warm and Id be looked after with people I knew not ripping me off at my expense!
Unique Suggestions: If you must have el cheapo range of budget but youre like me and cant quite cope with less than blood warmth temperatures and dont have someone with a blood warmth body to share with you then please find a place that has excellent insulation - such as mud brick walls - or has some form of heating!!
got taken there by the faux guide i used to show me around the Tetouan medina - knew i was being charged too much but took their salesmen crap and paid some ridiculous prices anyway.
Unique Suggestions: You can learn some interesting info and tips for uses of stuff for your hair, scents, foot care etc but go with your gut instinct - the cheap looking terracotta heel scraper is not worth the 5 euro they are asking!! more like 5 dirham!! and the 2 for the price of one and then get another free is still only worth a third of that price!! so haggle seriously!!! dont be soft hearted at all.
these guys with shops in the medina are professional tourist manipulators and they will go for the jugular and ask for ridiculous prices no worry whatsoever.
Fun Alternatives: enjoy the roam around the medina - the medicine/herbalist can still be an interesting experience - tell them you would like to look and learn but dont want to buy anything. or have a quick roam around in the shop and then thank them and leave.
but its really about knowing the usual prices and with that they will have an idea of what price level they cant go to/try to get away with.
The medina was dirty, ugly, neglected and even stinking in some places. And all stores were closed when I visited Tetouan in the early morning.
Unique Suggestions: Keep your nose closed :-).
Fun Alternatives: Do not enter to medina or do it not so early morning as me, probably it's more clean later.
Hassan II Square was full of garbages and stinking when I visited Tetouan in the early morning. Two arab men were cleaning the square. think that the square became clean later. But, anyway, it wasn't pleasant place for me.
Unique Suggestions: Keep your nose closed :-).
Fun Alternatives: Skip Tetouan on your Morocco itinery or don't visit it in the early morning.
Our tour guide took us to a local shopping centre which actually turned out to be a VERY hard sell carpet shop.
May the hard sell commence......................................
We were all separated up and each put in a carpet room and given mint tea.
Then a boy had to unroll dozens of carpets, as he did it we had to seperate them in to like and dislike piles. From the offset we had repeatedly told the sales man we had no intention of buying a carpet, but it fell on deaf ears.
After what seemed 100 carpet unrolling's later, the sales man ungraciously conceded defeat and stormed out of the room, leaving the poor carpet unroller to rull them all up again.
Out of a group of about 10 we were the only ones to walk away empty handed, so it obviously works on most people.
I have to say the carpets were beautiful, and maybe another time we would have bought one, but in the middle of a 5 month trip, home improvements were not our top priority (~_~)
On the plus side it was the nicest mint tea I have ever tasted
Beware if you go into a rug shop in Morocco. The salesmen roll out rugs endlessly and are very good at keeping you there. Then if you don't buy one they tend to get quite angry.
Unique Suggestions: Assure the salesmen that you do not intend to buy anything. But, that won't stop them from trying.