Of all the gin joints
in all the towns
in all of the world?
She walks into mine.
There couldn’t have been a more fitting welcome to the city of Casablanca than the famous quote from the classic movie lit up in neon in the lobby bar of the Sofitel Tour Blanche when we arrived on the second leg of our #MoroccoInStyle trip (see part 1 here). The journey brought us from Mazagan Beach Resort to the city, where we were greeted with spectacular drinks and those infamous words. Tour Blanche is a new addition to the Sofitel family and is a 24-story haven of quiet in the busy city centre. The top floors offer incredible views over the entire city (thank god I discovered the panorama function on my iPhone just in time…!), the spa and pool is a modern yet tranquil refuge, and the rooms are slick and comfy, with beds so stupidly soft you simply want to take them home (which, as it turns out, you can).
After the best night’s sleep ever, I was greeted by incredible views of Casablanca upon waking (we’d arrived when it was dark, so I had no idea). We visited the hotel, the spa and gorgeous pool before heading to the Hassan II mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco and 7th largest in the world. Built partly on land, partly on water, it’s difficult to explain the sheer size of this building – it’s grand, it’s huge, it’s enormous. It can hold 25.000 worshippers inside (and another 80.000 outside) and features a retractable roof and massive hammam baths underground. It’s one of the more impressive buildings I’ve ever visited and can only recommend you do so too if you ever have the opportunity.
Following our cultural stop, we headed to Le Doge, a legendary small hotel in Casablanca’s famous Art Deco district. All the rooms are individually designed and named after renowned figures from the Art Deco period (Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Charlie Chaplin, Man Ray to name a few), and each one we visited was like walking into a little slice of history… you almost expect Humphrey Bogart or Ingrid Bergman to appear. We had lunch at the hotel’s rooftop garden with Tahir Shah, an expat and well-known author, before moving on again to meet the designers behind Moroccan Touch, a young Moroccan label which successfully fuses traditional and modern day fashion. We met the sisters in one of their beautiful boutiques, before heading to their headquarters to see the clothes being made. Moroccan Touch is definitely a great example of how old and new can perfectly blend together, and the label’s success more than proves it – they’ve already opened a boutique in LA, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from them here very soon!
With every step, every encounter on this trip I fell a little more in love with this intriguing country. The next and last leg of the journey would take us to the city of Rabat, the story of which I’ll be putting up soon! Enjoy my many, many pictures (this is the edited down version…)
SOFITEL CASABLANCA TOUR BLANCHE
Hassan II Mosque
View of the mosque from the hotel
Me and Lela vs a door…
Panorama shot of the mosque
Lunch at Art Deco hotel Le Doge