Where to Stay in Casablanca: 7 Best Areas

Where to Stay in Casablanca: Best Areas and Neighborhoods

Where to stay in Casablanca is debatable when considering the diversity of neighborhoods spread throughout the greater metropolis.

High-end shopping is available alongside an abundance of notable restaurants specializing in dishes ranging from traditional Moroccan to tacos in many of the more modern neighborhoods, making these areas some of the best places to stay in Casablanca.

Along the beaches, in addition to abundant surf schools and shops, visitors will also find a collection of nightlife destinations, a rare find in a majority Muslim nation.

While the name Casablanca holds a special place in the imaginations of many, travelers who experience the city will find there is much more to enjoy beyond the romantic imagery of one of Hollywood’s most beloved films.

Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca is a study in contrasts: from the breathtaking beauty of Hassan II Mosque perched along the seaside to the emerging art scene in Gauthier highlighting Moroccan talents, there is much more to this destination than simply being the title of a famous movie.

The melding of cultures is as evident in the city’s history as it is in its growing expat community.

While the city has unfortunately been treated as a brief stopover for travelers on their way to other more desirable cities within the country, it’s newfound reputation as a hip, artistic, and emerging destination in its own rite is sparking travelers to stop and stay awhile.

Where to stay in Casablanca: Best Areas

1. City Centre, where to stay in Casablanca for first time visitors

Where to stay in Casablanca: Best areas to stay in Casablanca

For many deciding where to stay in Casablanca, the city centre will come as a natural and even obvious option. As the term centre would suggest, this area is centrally located to a number of attractions, restaurants, and accommodations.

For visitors hoping to walk to the majority of sights in the city, staying within the city centre is a wise choice. It is one of the best areas to stay in Casablanca, offering proximity to many of the most popular destinations.

It is easy to walk to the Ancienne Medina from the city centre, and it is equally as simple to continue walking onward to notable attractions including Rick’s Cafe and the Hassan II Mosque. 

Travelers who choose to stay in Casablanca in this area will find plentiful restaurants in the neighborhood, making it easy to grab a bite to eat before or after a day of sightseeing or shopping.

Not only is the area highly walkable, it is also well served by public transportation; additionally, many visitors appreciate local conveniences in the area, such as grocery stores, which are readily available for visitors who plan to prepare their own meals.

While hotels are abundant in this neighborhood, it is worth researching reviews and amenities before making a final decision. Many of the smaller hotels are in need of renovation, although several local gems exist in the neighborhood.

The sentiment is one that is prevalent throughout the neighborhood as a whole, and at any given time, there could be construction and renovation efforts disrupting the neighborhood.

Recognizable luxury brands are also available in the city centre, offering a higher quality of service at a much higher price.

Several apartments are also available for visitors who prefer self-catering accommodation options, and prices tend to be reasonable and in line with similar lodging options in other parts of the city.


2. Old Medina, where to stay in Casablanca for a local and traditional experience

Where to stay in Casablanca’s Old Medina

Casablanca’s Old Medina is much more compact than those of Fez or Marrakech, but the narrow, winding paths and colorful souks boast a gritty charm, unlike those larger and more recognizable medinas.

Visitors can come here to explore an area primarily inhabited by locals, many of whom sell their handicrafts and souvenirs at the markets. Another appealing aspect of the neighborhood is the abundance of street art lighting up many of the buildings that line the streets.

The Old Medina backs up to the Sour Jdid neighborhood, where visitors will find the Hassan II Mosque, one of Casablanca’s most notable and impressive attractions.

Also located nearby is a very different type of attraction: Rick’s Cafe, a meticulously detailed restaurant modeled after the famed Rick’s Cafe in the movie Casablanca.

Fans of the movie will marvel at the carefully crafted interiors intended to replicate the movie set, while dinner guests can enjoy live piano music while enjoying sumptuous Moroccan specialties.

An assortment of affordable riads and hotels are available in the nearby areas, including some international hotel chain brands.

For travelers who wish to stay at a specific brand, hotels on the outskirts of the Old Medina will prove to be some of the best places to stay in Casablanca. Many of the most notable hotel brands carry hefty price tags, even when compared to other luxury accommodations in the city.

Most of the hotels in this neighborhood are located outside of the ancient Medina proper, bordering the city centre, and these places have access to a number of transportation options, including both public buses and private drivers, which can be arranged by the hotel concierge.

The few accommodations within the heart of the Medina — primarily apartments — are far from any type of public transportation options, although the area is relatively walkable.

It is easy to follow the larger avenues towards the Hassan II Mosque or hire a taxi to navigate the short distance for you.


3. Gauthier, great restaurants, art galleries, and international flair

Where to stay in Casablanca? The charming Gauthier neighborhood of Casablanca is an art lover’s dream

The charming Gauthier neighborhood of Casablanca is an art lover’s dream, offering a diverse array of restaurants, attractions, and experiences.

The Laredo Art Gallery is located here and features an abundance of paintings displayed across the walls and facing windows, enabling passersby to peek in on the beautiful works of art.

For a more traditional take on Moroccan art, Galerie H remains a popular gallery featuring local Moroccan designers’ furniture and other crafts.

Visitors feeling inspired by the handmade furniture and stunning paintings will find the Jungle Concept Store a destination in and of itself within the Gauthier neighborhood.

Paintings, homewares, and sparkling chandeliers are all offered for reasonable prices. Adding to the cultural diversity of the Gauthier, international-style restaurants line the streets, inviting visitors to try something new while exploring Casablanca.

Visitors searching for international flair and culture will find this neighborhood to be one of the best areas to stay in Casablanca.

The neighborhood is relatively small and therefore walkable, but there are also several bus stops lining the main routes for those looking to travel outside of the area using public transportation.

Accommodations in the Gauthier neighborhood are relatively abundant, and prices are primarily in the moderate range. Unlike many other neighborhoods, many of the lodging options are hotels, including ones with internationally-recognized names.

Pricey luxury options are available for travelers looking to splurge, but the neighborhood is also dotted with more affordable accommodation options in the form of apartments.


4. Anfa, where to stay in Casablanca in an upscale neighborhood

Stay in Casablanca: Anfa

Located just next door to the Ain Diab neighborhood, hotels and riads within the Anfa neighborhood often overlap with neighboring districts.

An explosion of modernity, Anfa was ironically named after the ancient name for Casablanca. The area is filled with high-end shops thanks to the Anfaplace Shopping Centre, and borders several other modern neighborhoods.

Despite an atmosphere much more reminiscent of a modern African city, the Anfa district is steeped in history: it was at Hotel d’Anfa that a course-shifting meeting about World War II took place in January of 1943.

Traces of the Art Deco architecture that lined this region back then are still visible for visitors who take the time to explore this neighborhood on foot.

After a day of shopping and admiring the architecture, visitors will find plentiful cafes, restaurants, and bars in the neighborhood, while the well-maintained golf course is located in the heart of the neighborhood.

There are relatively few accommodation options in this area, an important point to consider when deciding where to stay in Casablanca.

The few available options available are mid-range to upscale apartments and hotels, primarily bordering the Maarif and Gauthier neighborhoods.

Some accommodation options even stretch into Ain Diab, as well, and transportation in this area is made easy with numerous bus stops throughout the district.


5. Ain Diab, where to stay in Casablanca for beach and nightlife

Where to stay in Casablanca: Ain Diab

Often referred to as the Corniche, this beachside neighborhood has a lot to offer. Surfing is a popular pastime at Ain Diab beach, and visitors will find an abundance of surf schools lining the long stretch of sand.

It’s an appealing offer for those wishing to try something new on their trip to Morocco, a country most often associated with the red sands of the Sahara.

Architectural gems in the distance make for a stunning backdrop as the sun dips below the lapping waves, making it an ideal destination to watch the sunset and grab a cocktail.

Fine dining restaurants and hip bars are never far, so foodies and nightlife lovers will find Ain Diab to be one of the best areas to stay in Casablanca.

For a day of shopping, the Morocco Mall is only a short distance away, and proximity to the Sindibad theme park is also a bonus for many travelers.

One of the most popular attractions in this neighborhood is the Mausoleum of Marabout Sidi Abderrahman, located directly on Ain Diab Beach.

On pilgrimage days, the area comes alive with henna artists, musicians, and artists, creating a lively scene for visitors hoping to soak up the cultural side of Casablanca.

In general, Casablanca tends to be more expensive than other cities in Morocco, and visitors will find this rings true in the limited accommodation options in this neighborhood.

Luxury hotels in the area offer beautiful views of the ocean and beach access, and many are only a short distance from El Hank Lighthouse.

A handful of apartments are also available in the neighborhood, and public transportation options are relatively abundant for those not staying at a hotel where concierge can help with arranging transport.

For those who elect to stay in this neighborhood for its concentration of well recognizable nightclubs, access to hotel staff or a hands-on apartment owner can be very useful for navigating the city after dusk.


6. Maarif, where to stay in Casablanca in a modern and affordable district

Where to stay in Casablanca: Maarif

Anchored by the Mohamed V Stadium, the Maarif neighborhood is worth considering when deciding where to stay in Casablanca, especially for those who plan on catching a club or international soccer game while on vacation.

The neighborhood, which borders the Anfa district, is filled with a number of internationally recognizable shops, including high-end fashion and sportswear labels.

Another beacon of modernity in Casablanca, this area features a large number of international eateries, including taco joints, Italian restaurants, and even fast-food options.

Highlighting the diverse past of the country, the Jewish Museum, located within the Maarif neighborhood, is also a fascinating cultural stop featuring decorative objects and manuscripts.

Transportation options are relatively abundant, particularly in the Val Fleurie part of the neighborhood.

Accommodation options in the Maarif neighborhood offer travelers a reasonable number of choices, many of which are self-catering apartments.

Many accommodation options center around Maarif Ancien, the older part of the district, although there are a few options located closer to the bordering Habous neighborhood.

Prices are moderate compared with the rest of the city, and budget travelers can also find a hostel in the southern part of the region for the cheapest accommodation options in this district.


7. Habous, cool place to stay in Casablanca

Stay in Casablanca: Habbous, the colonial part of the city

Sometimes referred to as the New Medina, the Habous neighborhood was built by the French and is, therefore, the colonial part of the city.

Architectural wonders fill the neighborhood, and one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time in this neighborhood is strolling through the streets to admire the ornate buildings before stopping at a local cafe for a mid-day snack and some mint tea.

A number of souks dot the neighborhood, so the Habous Quarter is also popular among visitors wanting to explore the local markets and haggle with local shop owners. To the southeast, the upscale shopping district of Maarif is also easily accessible from Habous.

The Royal Palace is also located here, so this neighborhood can be one of the best places to stay in Casablanca if visiting the palace is a priority.

In the center of the neighborhood, Parc Murdoch offers a green retreat from the city streets, while public transportation is widely available.

Accommodations in the Habous district are very limited, even when including the outlying fringe areas.

Apartments are the primary type of lodging in this neighborhood, with varying degrees of luxury available. Prices fluctuate based on the level of luxury offered, with prices starting as low as $22 per night.


Photos: Shutterstock

Leave a comment