Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: Hotel Tachfine in Marrakech

Thanks to a freak circumstance, we had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Tachfine in Marrakech a couple days ago. Now we're pretty sure we want to retire there. This is our review, originally written for TripAdvisor:

"The Chelsea meets Hotel Budapest"

Above and beyond all our expectations for thirty five USD. It's faded and looks like it was posh in the 1970s, but impeccably clean. Comically outdated and delightfully kitschy, with careful, old-fashioned service. (As high service industry professionals who have worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, we mean "old fashioned" literally, as in "the service model follows adorably outdated standards" like your grandmother's insistence on proper letter-writing ettiquette.)

I can't even.

We want to live here when we're famous old novelists hiding from the world. It's NYC's Chelsea meets Hotel Budapest. The staff is self-effacing and personable the the concierge speaks perfect English, French, and Spanish and flirts with you like it's the jazz age. The restaurant couldn't be derpier, and the hotel bar has hilarious mirrored panels and passable scotch--with the GOOD ice cubes, which the bartender fetches INDIVIDUALLY for each drink, in a tiny bucket with tongs. 80 dh (9 USD) for two generous pours of Johnny Walker black!

What, no manual typewriter?

The bed was ridiculously comfortable. Wasn't expecting such a new, firm mattress and high threadcount sheets given the age of the building. Faded, cracked tiles in the bathroom and obviously retrofitted showerhead. Like the gorgeous refinished wood moldings on the wall, it's all part of the character. And I want to emphasize: clean. It wouldn't have been as charming if it was dingy or moudly (which we half expected for the price) but it was spotless. Towels were faded, but smelled clean and lovely.

If this is inadequate, you have first-world problems.

In short, you're paying thirty-five bucks for a double, guys. All the other reviewers who expected a resort for that price need a reality check. Everything else in this area is twice as much or more. (It's in the new city, a five minute walk from the train and bus stations, easily findable even after dark. The area is--thank god--not nearly as aggressively touristy as the medina.) For its hostel-like prices, this is better than anywhere else we've stayed in Morocco. Yes, you can hear the street... barely. As much as you can in any major city. Those reviewers whose delicate beauty rest could not tolerate the fairly-low-on-the-scale-of-things background hum of Marrakech should avoid NYC and London at all costs.

Oh noes, this hotel is in a city!

In short: pay for a hostel, get adorable Wes Anderson charm that's clean where it counts. Consider retiring here with a manual typewriter and an aging prostitute with a heart of gold who wasn't going to tell you she hasn't taken another john in years, and getting a cocktail named after you when you're dead.

The Jerry and Laura will be whiskey-based.


  1. Do I HAVE to retire with a prostitute?

    Should I find myself in Morocco, I will seek out this hotel.

  2. That's a definite positive review for me - not that I looked at the other reviews. If I ever go there, which to be fair is unlikely, then I will pick this hotel. It looks great.

  3. That is a wonderful sense of a Hotel with character and quality. Just like the reviewers ;-) Keep up the good work

  4. My inner jealous hipster wants to buy plan tickets right effing now. What a gorgeous place to be.