Address: 3 Sidi Bouloukate (it’s pointless to post that since there are no streetsigns…)
Price: 100 DH
Bath: on each floor, sink in room
Amenities: Nice roof terrace with cafe, sleeping on roof terrace, pretty courtyard, colorful rooms, friendly staff, great location.
Just off the north extent of Djemaa el-fna you’ll find the Grand Cafe Glacier Panorama. Keep heading into the corner to the narrow and bustling street Rue Riad Zitoun el-jedid. Continue down and at a fairly large intersection with a nice Riad, turn right and you’ll find Hotel Essouira.

It’s decent. Not bat, but we definitely didn’t sleep in the sheets. The room was tiny as you can see in the photo, but it wasn’t as small as the room we had in Fes. It was fine though, and we didn’t have any real problems. I had a cold shower, and the showers weren’t all that great when they were warm. But whatchagonnado? As I was going into the shower one night a German couple was checking in and the German dude pointed at me and said, “le douche?” Freaking Germans.

Street outside Hotel Essaouira

Street outside Hotel Essaouira

Speaking of the Moroccan Handoff. We had originally picked out Hotel Chella from the Lonely Planet guidebook. It was easy to find, but we were hassled by touts and faux guides anyway. Chella was full, but the desk man said to try his cousin @ Hotel Essaouira. They always have a backup plan like that. We tried a couple others, but found Essaouira and decided to stop running around getting hassled.

The touts sit in the streets near the alleys where their hotels are located. As you walk down the street looking tired, touristic as all freaking hell with your travel pack, and daypack on your chest, they jump up. “Hotel? is Riad, very nice. Very clean. Hot shower. Just here.” They act as if you were specifically waiting for them to come and save you. Usually they’ll only hassle you as far as a few steps since they’re tied to the hotel for their commission.

The hotel is well signed

The hotel is well signed

The Faux guides are super freaking annoying. They expect you to pay them for helping you find a hotel. And you don’t need it. Usually you wander around and they hang off you confusing you and then when you eventually find the place, they ask for money. Some have the moxy to ask for 50 DH. I have to respect that, but there’s no freaking way. What’s worse is when you go to give them 10 DH and they tell you that’s nothing and then start asking and bargaining for more. It’s part of the game I guess, but just because you didn’t ask for their help doesn’t mean they don’t expect something. But that’s part of the experience.

Hotel Essaouira is a decent place to stay. They have a ton of rooms, but we didn’t see many of them. If you’re a dirty hippy, french, clove-smoking, hipster backpacker, it’s a good place to sit on the roof terrace and smoke and read Nietzsche while re-winding your dread locks and drinking the a la menthe.

Hotel Essaouira wouldn’t be my first choice of a place to stay in Marrakesh, but if you have to have your first choice, then budget travel isn’t for you.

-M