10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"As anyone can see from the photos this is a beautiful building madly in need of renovation. The price makes it bearable but not for a long stay.
The location is brilliant and we had a view of the port, The price is great. The restaurant food is also very very good and worthy of a high class accolade. I enjoyed sword fish au beurre noir - delicious. The staff are very friendly and breakfast is served in a delightful cafeteria with some of the best moasaics you will ever see. The hotel appears to be on the trail of the day trippers from Spain which is wierd as it is suddenly very busy in the afternoons.
On the negative side the rooms are a bit grotty. Bathroom does not invite staying in for any more than absolutely necessary - dont look at the toilet brush!!!
Hot water is limited to certain hours and if you miss those times you will have a cold shower.
No loungers or parasols on the balcony so no chance of relaxing for long here unless you like the hot sun on your head.
Some hilarious things like the old telephone system in the hallway and a real charactar with a shop in the hotel, full of stuff thick with dust.
Not as bad as some reviewers have said but I would really hate it in the winter if there was not heating.
Would love to see this renovated some time."
- Travel date: Thu 17th of April 2008
A mix of good and bad
"First of all, if you are planning on staying in Tangier in the first place then you have to be fairly open-minded about what comes your way.
This hotel is very handy for the port and on the edge of the Medina. The public areas are very nice, some are quite splendid and worthy of camera-time with mosaics, cloisters and numerous recreations of stereotypical Moroccan architecture. The terrace is a nice place to sit, watch the port and have (alcohol-free) drinks. The hotel breakfast was pleasant and a lunch in the restaurant was delicious, especially the lamb tagines. The attached bazaar is run by a highly entertaining salesman who will give you an excellent introduction to the haggling process of the local souks and more than earns the value of a modest purchase.
The rooms leave a lot more to be desired - they are hot, musty, only just clean. While you won't want to linger, they were about adequate and comparable to backpacker accommodation (which was reflected in the price we paid anyway). Most of the rooms seem to be doubles rather than twins. There's no assumption that a crowd of guys on a trip would prefer not to have to share double beds, which was less than ideal for our party.
Lastly, this hotel does not emply plain-clothes tour guides so make sure you use your wits when leaving the grounds as the guys loitering just outside the gates are NOT porters."
- Travel date: Tue 16th of October 2007
Fine for the price
"This hotel seems to receive Jeckyll and Hyde syndrome reviews! Luckliy our experience was positive, so I will pass it on. We booked by e-mail and received a prompt courteous reply, noting our request for a room with a view, but nonetheless declining to guarantee it since these rooms were always in demand - I take their point! However, on arrival about a month later, we were provided with one of central rooms with a balcony with table and chairs, so the request was noted as promised and acted upon withour further comment - very gracious. The gentleman at reception was courteous at all times, despite my supicion that I disturbed him during afternoon prayers on our arrival.
The whole hotel has an air of rather faded grandeur, not helped by the dim lighting, but still retains its style. Some areas are exquisite - see the photos posted on an earlier review, while some are in decline. I was filled with an urge to overhaul and highlight certain points which appear neglected by the current owners and which would make it so appealing to a wider european audience. It has lovely, wide corridoors, some interesting paraphenalia (the old telephone exchange, tucked ina dusty corner, some interesting pictures). Bur all dingy and unenhanced in the main hotel. Without completely going "Marrakech Riad", a few day beds and cushions and better lighting could make a huge difference. However, We paid around 40 euros for our room - which given its location to the Medina and the port I feel is still great value. The bathroom was clean, well appointed, hot water, great water pressure (better than our equivalent in Madrid). The room is a work in progress; new (PVC) french windows to the balcony and the typical Tangier view (i.e. the Port - but also the Medina and the minarets. El Minzah, from memory, only offers a view of its own car park from the balconies! Well used furniture with "character", a comfy and clean bed. Other aspects, like unfinished electric points by the corner of the ceiling, are less appealing - but perhaps this is an interim step to..a TV? a fan? But all in an area with much more character than the new town.
I feel like The Continental is like some old hollywood screen icon. It could take relatively little to really enhance its good points (the most pretty location for what could be a "fashionable" cafe/juice bar in the rooms to the left of the gift shop; what looks like a very elegant dining room (we didn't eat there); great location; servicable rooms). A bit more "explicacion" would help too (it's history, why are there bare wires in the walls? who are the owners? directions to the beautiful breakfast room - just to gawp, even if you don't take breakfast there etc etc.) If these features were ehanced people may be less worried by having a balcony! However at its current standard I suspect if we had had a less pleasant room and less pleasant reception you could easily start to see the cracks!
I'd be interested to see this hotel in a few years. I remember staying in the El Minzah when you could share the corridors with stray cats! Now it is the height of elegance, but perhaps has lost some of its Moroccan character in the process? Plus I can't afford to stay there! It would be great if The Continental just gears up a notch or two to be become an affordable place of great character and doesn't slide into the place the previous two reviews suggest it skates on the edge of."
- Travel date: Sat 12th of May 2007
Avoid like the plague
"I agree with the last reviewer. This hotel is simply horrendous and if you choose to stay here despite our warning, then God help you. For the price that you pay, you deserve much more.
I returned to Tanger for New Years eve and made a terrible mistake of booking into this hotel. This hotel is capitalising on its past glory where the hoi polloi used to hob nob. However, sad to say this hotel had seen better days and those glory days are long gone. The property is beyond redemption unless it undergoes an extreme makeover, both in its looks as well as the attitude of the service people at the reception.
The physical condition of the rooms is exactly as described by the last reviewer. I was appalled and concerned about the unhygienic condition. The toilet was dirty , dimly lit and extremely uninviting. I thought I was in some backpacker joint. Despite asking for a room with a view of the port and booking months in advance, I was relegated to a room at the back of the hotel with a view of a chicken coop on someone's roof. There was not even any heating and this was in winter! I almost cried when I looked at the room. I shudderred at the thought of freezing to death that evening.
I made immediate plans to look for an alternative accomodation in Tanger and thank goodness my favorite riad in Tanger, Riad Tanja had a vacancy (see separate review of that riad). I promptly transferred hotel despite having paid for several days accomodation. As I was travelling with some friends from Fes to celebrate New Year's eve in Tanger, I requested the receptionist if my friend from Fes could stay in my room instead which I had already paid for. The answer was a singularly rude NO. Despite reasoning out with him, there was no persuading him. He was very unpleasant about it, as if I was committing a cardinal sin.
That evening I came back to the hotel to collect my luggage. The manager of Riad Tanger came with me to help with my luggage. As he was climbing up the stairs to go to my room, another male receptionist shouted with a booming voice for him to stop. Despite explanation that I was checking out and that we were getting my luggage, they were officious and absolutely infelxible about any local person entering their premises, even when there is clearly no ulterior motive. They kept shouting and demanded with hand gesticulations that the person came down. It was a very unpleasant scene. In all my travels across the cities in Maroc, I have never come across such rudeness. It was both insulting and disturbing. It marred my trip and impression of Tangers.
No offer was made by the hotel for somebody to help with my luggage. I had to drag my own luggage and make several trips 3 floors up and down the building as I had many bags, after a major shopping trip in various moroccan cities.
Thus, not only is this hotel disgusting, the attitude of the management is even more rotten. I dont know what they have against their own people but I dont like the way they bark at their own kind like a dog when he (the manager of Riad Tanja) was just there to help me with my bags!
When I told an elderly gentlemen behind the reception counter that I would write about my experience at the hotel online, they immediately became nice to me and offered to refund me for the balance of the nights that I have vacated the room. But as the last reviewer mentioned, those people at the reception cannot be trusted. The damage has been done.
I do not recommend this hotel at all. It deserves to be blackmarked. The hotel personnel should be taught to respect both guests and their fellow moroccan.
If you have to visit the hotel, just go to the antique shop opposite the reception. That shop has a good collection of antiques and the proprietor is genuinely friendly and will give you a good price. But stay at the hotel at your own peril."
- Travel date: Mon 2nd of April 2007
"I visited Tangiers in August 2006 as part of my backpacking trip around Europe. I had heard about the Hotel in a Lonely Planet guide. It was lister as one of the best of the bunch!
As the hotel is easily visable from the 'hectic and intimidating' port I decided to rush there as soon as possible. I was greeted by 2 very helpful and polite gentlemen who booked me into a single room with a balcony and view of the port.
Inside the room was very shabby and dated. (I know its Morocco and the rustic look may be part of the experience, However, this room was horrable). The sheets on the bed were dirty and ripped, the bed was bumpy, the tiles on the floor were smashed/cracked, bugs everywhere, the door lock was dodgy, the toilet didnt have a seat and the shower and taps produced yellow water so i couldnt have a wash!!!
This is deffinatly a no frills options. Backpacking on 2 separate occasions, i do now how to rough it but this place was terrable.
The only good things were the public terrace and polite staff (however i didnt entirley trust them).
Tangiers is a horrable place and if this hotel is the pick of the bunch, i strongly advise you against going there.
PS: one final thing to remember, as soon as you step foot into the streets outside the hotel you will be harrassed!!!!!
Hope this helps!"
- Travel date: Sun 11th of March 2007
Loved the Continental!
"Stayed over New YearÂ´s in this beautiful and friendly hotel where guests greet one another whenever they meet in the lobby or stairs. Had New YearÂ´s dinner in the stunning restaurant, 6 plates and a bottle of Moroccan red, all delicious! And at 43 euros per night + dinner... Yes, there is a container park below and yes, there are sheep living in a house in the car park but the atmosphere is unbeatable! Go there!!"
- Travel date: Mon 8th of January 2007
A Return Visit to the Continental
"This was our second stay at the Hotel Continental, the first being 6 years ago. Since our first visit, the hotel rooms have been refurbished, and our room was particularly large and lavish (in an over-the-top manner) although the common areas are still a bit dark and long in the tooth.
The price had also gone up significantly and we paid more than double since 2000. Compared to hotels in the Nouvelle Ville, this may not be the best deal in town but we'll come back for its excellent location (if you're taking the ferry to Spain you can walk to the port) and its faded romantic charm.
Staff is multilingual and courteous."
- Travel date: Thu 5th of October 2006
"I knew of the Continental from a previous trip to Tanger and liked the fact that it is a short wolk to the Hotel from the port. Didn't have reservations, but had no trouble getting two rooms with double occupancy for 390D each. The Concierge was most efficient and helpful. Both rooms were on the second floor with our room having a balcony with table and chairs and a choice view overlooking part of the waterfront and port area. The Hotel was built in the 60s with a wonderful old style flavor and a breakfast area styled after the Alhambra which makes you dally after eating. Absolutely stunning decor. The rooms, indeed the entire hotel is spacious with high ceilings and very clean. The bathrooms are spotless, with new fixtures except the tub which was old, but still in great shape. Bed, comfy and each room had a phone and TV. Don't remember anything about air conditioning as the weather was perfect and a breeze came in through the balcony door. The Hotel is located right there on the edge of the Medina for all your shopping and a brief walk from the Casbah. The waterfront resturants, cafes and bars are a couple minutes walk to the left and the food is excellent, especially the fish. Prices were very good and the wine selection surprisingly also good. Except for breakfast we never ate at the Hotel so I can't comment on their dinners. We hired Jimmy, a local guide who picked us up and spoke very good english, who showed us everything you would normally see if you'd taken a tour. He accepted my price for his services and we were all happy. There is a well stocked gift shop in the Hotel that is run by a man named Jimmy with a remarkable memory. Like everywhere in Morocco, prices are negotiable and we got some good deals from him. Overall, highly recommended and definitely my stop when in town."
- Travel date: Fri 26th of May 2006
Big but not crowded
"My trip to Tangier was based around a short tour of Gibraltar, Malaga, Tangier and Marrakech. I arrived in Gibraltar, travelling from Manchester, UK and stayed two nights at the awful Cannon (see my review of that hotel) before getting the ferry to Tangier.
I had no hotel booked but was fortunate enough to meet two British gents who live there. They suggested the Hotel Continental close to the port where the ferry docks.
For information, the exchange rate is in the region of 15 - 16 Dirhams to one English Pound or 10 Dirhams to one Euro. Do not buy on the black market as it is illegal and will get you in trouble with the authorities if discovered and in any case you may be cheated either by getting too little or getting counterfeit currency.
Taxi's are cheap but only if you get the small Peugot types which are metered and should cost no more than about 10D to go across town. Occasionally the driver will deliberately switch off the meter and overcharge but not by much.
The private taxi's are the cream coloured Mercedes which are unmetered and may charge about 80D for short journeys.
I got through the formalities of customs without incident and headed for a taxi at which point there was an argument as to which cab driver should pick me up. Anyway it was Mohammed who got the trade; I gave instructions to take me to the Coninental but he persuaded me to see another which I agreed to. It had a good perspective of Tanger but I just didn't like the place so we headed off to the Continental where I checked in. Beware, there is also a hotel called the Intercontinental which confuses some taxi drivers, tell them it is the "Continental in the Medina".
I was led to a small room on the top floor at the rear of the hotel which seemed ok. It had two beds, TV, bathroom/wc with shower attachment, power points and a panoramic view over the rooftops of the adjacent dwellings. I left my suitcase and things and went exploring until it turned dark, which was around 4:30 pm this being March. During the night it was quiet at first but then a wretched cockerel started calling every hour on the hour, luckilly I had my ear plugs. At 5 am the mosques open for business calling people to prayer. It was the same the following night. The front of the hotel faces the port which has a quiet but constant rumble throughout the night but the rooms are far superior. The rate was 390D per night. The hotel only deals in cash and not credit cards.
The hotel is reputed to have had guests such as David Malkovitch although since the port has expanded I should think no famous people stay here.
If you need a guide there is an amiable chap waiting at the gates to the hotel named Saeed, he speaks good English and can give a tour of the local area at whatever rate you deem appropriate.
If you are looking for Arab music, Rai in particular, you will find a music shop just outside the hotel compound. Turn left of the gates where there are a few shops on the right-hand side of the path, you can get some good modern popular CD's for 20D. There are also a few shops with fruit and juices so you don't have to go far.
Breakfast was coffee, croissant and bread roll with butter and jam, it was sufficient to get me through the morning. The food in the reastaurant on the ground floor is nothing special but still expensive. There are several places on the main road leading from the port which is visible from the hotel. Go out of the hotel, turn left, walk down to the first junction, turn left and your on the road, then turn fight and keep walking to the cafe's and restaurants.
If you need cash, there is no shortage of cash machines all over Morocco and for British people with Maestro cards, the commission isn't crippling. 1000 Dirhams will be equivalent to about 67GBP and the machines dispense a maximum of 2000D.
I decided to go to Marrakech for a few days so left my luggage at the Continental and packed just a few things. The journey is listed under the Hotel Tazi review if you are interested. On my return I was given a much smarter room at the front of the hotel, overlooking the port. It was much more comfortable than the room at the rear and did not cost any more than the 390D per night initially charged.
If you go at a quiet time of the year the rates are much lower and you can get a more superior room for little or no extra."
- Travel date: Sat 4th of June 2005
the morocco you imagine
"The Hotel Continental is absolutely fantastic. Although the prices may seem to be a bit steep- about $50 USD for the best room in the house- it's well worth it. The hotel is seeped in atmostphere, and, at times, it seems as if you've walked into a Bogart film. The lobby is exquisite, as is the overall architecture of the hotel. The character of the rooms does vary- the first time I stayed there, I was in room 210, which had the most amazing antique furniture. The second time, the room was more pedestrian, and seemed to be done in almost a California chic decor. However, the secord room was cheaper in price. The rooms are very clean, the bathrooms are western and did include a tub with a shower attachment. The public spaces in the hotel are absolutely beautiful- the hotel was actually one of the high points of my trip to Tangier."
- Travel date: Sun 24th of April 2005