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Hotels in Casablanca

Few cities across the globe will conjure a sense of wistful romance like Casablanca. Although many people will know it from its depiction in the film of the same name, there is much more to this incredible city than its cinematic representation. For one, its geographic location on the North African coast means that it has absorbed a diverse range of Mediterranean and African influences over its long history. In addition, its current status as one of the economic powerhouses of the region means that there is so much to do and see, you won't want to leave.

A melting pot of cultural influences

The largest city in Morocco, Casablanca is situated on the Chawiya plain and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Though much of its recent history has been characterised first by Portuguese and then French rule, it was also of central importance during World War II, as one of the main ports invaded during the North African Campaign.

The buildings and monuments of Casablanca are a testament to its multicultural status. Take, for example, the Cathedral de Sacre Coeur. Built over 80 years ago and blending both European and traditional Moroccan styles, it encapsulates everything that makes this city unique.

No trip to Casablanca would be complete, however, without visiting the Hassan II Mosque. Boasting the world's tallest minaret (at over 200m), it is easily the most recognisable and dominating structure in the city. Sitting on the Atlantic shore, it can accommodate up to 25,000 worshippers at once, and features some mind-bogglingly intricate woodcarvings.

A metropolitan hub of activity

Can't decide between the authentic Moroccan experience and contemporary cultural activities? Thankfully, Casablanca does away with this dilemma, offering both depending on which part of the city you visit. If you like, you can mingle with the locals in the city's medina quarter, which features traditional residential buildings and a variety of shrines, or head down to the market in the town centre and soak up the atmosphere.

Modern sensibilities are catered for, too. The city offers some premium shopping destinations, including the award-winning Morocco Mall right on the coast. This is the largest shopping centre in Africa and features a stunning million-litre aquarium as its centrepiece.

Luxury accommodation, outstanding cuisine

Whether you're on a shoestring budget or travelling around in a limo, there is a range of Casablanca hotels to suit your needs. The YHI Hostel offers no-frills sleeping arrangements at fantastic value, while at the other end of the spectrum, the Royal Mansour Meridien offers a butler service on call, in addition to a spa and sauna.

As well as the many cafés which are found all over the city, Casablanca's restaurants are worth sampling. Rick's Café is the ideal destination for fans of the film, recreating the set in detail, with superb food to boot. The Al Mounia, meanwhile, offers a more traditional experience and offers local cuisine with a wide selection of wines.

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