Accommodations in Morocco range from opulent to extremely spare, with everything in between. Hotels can be on a par with those of Europe and the United States, but five-star comforts begin to disappear the farther off the beaten path you venture. Particularly in smaller towns and villages, hotels lack amenities. Take a closer look, though—these hotels often make up for a lack of luxury with genuine charm, character, and, most of all, location.
Book a room in or rent an entire well-furnished riad (a traditional house) in the medinas of the most visited cities, such as Fez, Marrakesh, and Essaouira, as well as in smaller seaside towns such as Asilah and Oualidia. This is a unique opportunity to experience traditional Moroccan architecture and live like royalty of old.
Marrakech Medina. 102, Rue Dar el Bacha, Souika sidi abd al Aziz, Medina, Marrakesh, Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz. 0526/10–04–93; www.marrakech-medina.com. daily, 8 am–10 pm.
South France Villas. 0871/711–33–72; 0033/467–360–554; www.southfrancevillas.com/other-destinations/morocco. Mon.–Fri., 9–6.
Riad Selection. (39) 340/60–840-14; www.riadselection.com.
Splendia. 786/216-1602; www.splendia.com.
Hotels are classified by the Moroccan government with one to five stars, plus an added category for five-star luxury hotels. In hotels with three or more stars, all rooms have private bathrooms, and there is an on-site bar. Air-conditioning is common in three-star hotels in Fez and Marrakesh and in all five-star hotels. Standards do vary, though; it's possible to find a nice two-star hotel or, occasionally, a four-star hotel without hot water. In the same vein, hotels that are outside the star system altogether ("unclassified") can be satisfactory.
High season in Morocco is generally from mid-December to mid-January and mid-March to mid-April. Early June, before the intense summer heat settles in, is also considered high season. In the Atlas region, January and February attract many visitors for winter sports. In the Sahara, September through November are the most popular months. Many properties charge peak-season rates for your entire stay even if travel dates straddle peak and nonpeak seasons. As with everything in Morocco, hotel rates may be negotiable; always ask if there are specials.
Most hotels in Morocco now accept email requests for reservations. A few smaller establishments and family-owned riads still require a fax confirmation. Check with your hotel directly upon booking to verify which method is accepted.
If you're looking for an en suite bathroom, request a room avec salle de bain; for a two-person room, request une chambre double; for two beds, request deux lits; one large bed, un grand lit; and for a medina or garden view, request coté medina/jardin. Remember to ask whether breakfast and taxes are included in the rate.