personal experience – kammy hostel in Marrakesh
Kammy Hostel is centrally located right outside of the labrynth of bazaars and souks. There are no doors to the rooms, and no lockers. However, there is a nice sense of community that convincingly reassures travelers that their belongings are safe. Regardless, distrustful as I am, I did end up hiding my most important valuables (passport, plane tickets, etc) underneath my mattress.
Breakfast was excellent, although they didn’t rely on a set time for breakfast; either you happened to time your morning with when the hostel’s local cook brought food, or you didn’t. They also advertise several excellent tours for decent prices, although you may be able to get the same tours for a cheaper price at a travel stall in the souks. Some things to know before booking Kammy Hostel:
- The shower is small and moldy, but functions well and serves its purpose. Definitely bring shower shoes with you.
- Like I said above, no lockers – bring a lock for your backpack, or a bike lock so you can lock your luggage to your bed if you feel unsafe.
- In February, it was extremely cold. They provide very warm, heavy woven blankets, but I highly recommend bringing warm pajamas and a jacket if you go in the winter/early spring.
When booking a hostel, there are several things you should consider:
- Where is the hostel located?
- If you have to walk far to get to the city center, you’ll hate yourself and probably end up spending an inordinate amount of time walking from the hostel to the scenic monuments and locales of Marrakech
- How much is the hostel?
- Like I mentioned in my previous post, unforgettable trips in Morocco require a huge amount of flexibility. It’s much harder to abandon your hostel to pursue amazing opportunities if you spent too much money on the hostel! Also, when considering price, be sure to take account of what’s included (i.e. tours of the souks, breakfast, dinners, etc.)
- The benefits of traveling in the digital age is that you always can find reviews for any place you end up staying! Look up what other people have said, and remember to take negative reviews with a grain of salt – people are more likely to leave bad reviews than good ones, and sometimes people are just bad guests. But obviously if a hostel has a ton of bad reviews, avoid it like the PLAGUE
- Authentic Experience
- Always consider whether staying in that hostel will give you an authentic experience. When in Morocco, the culture is so incredibly complex and diverse that staying in a luxury global resort will utterly deprive you of the enjoyment of the the “real” Marrakesh. One of the reasons I liked Kammy Hostel was that we had a local female Moroccan chef come in to make us an authentic breakfast every morning, and it literally felt like we were staying in a local’s house. Make sure you strike a good balance between comfort and authenticity!
Charlsey led me on a tour of the building, and I was immediately struck with the unique layout of the hostel – the entire riad was simultaneously indoors and outdoors, the common area on the first floor was more like a courtyard than anything else; if you looked straight up, you could see hints of sky peeking around the multicolored tarp that served as the courtyard’s sole protection from the elements. The second floor was more of a walkway that circled the courtyard opening, with rooms opening to face the courtyard. Each room was only separated from the walkway by a pair of thick oriental curtains – the only door in the entire hostel was the one that opened onto the street. The third floor served as a terrace, with cushioned seating and thick, colorful woven blankets stacked neatly under a peach-colored tarp.
I entered my room – a small space with barely enough space between the two bunkbeds for two people to stand shoulder to shoulder. A window set in the middle of the wall opened to a view of the street, glass notably absent from the frame of the oddly-shaped window. The wooden shutters squeaked slightly as I peered through the windows, the shutters themselves beautifully carved, with tiny flame-shaped holes punched throughout the wood.
I was intrigued – it felt like I had just stepped onto the set of a movie, the out-of-body sensations overwhelming and exciting me. I had never imagined in my wildest dreams that those scenes I’d seen in movies like Aladdin were actually perfectly realistic and held true, and the cognitive dissonance I felt was staggering. I had never felt more American in my life.
There were no lockers in the hostel, so I shoved my suitcase far under the bed, hid all of my valuables under the mattress, and looped my purse around my body – I was taking no risk with my bag. It was still relatively early in the day, although the temperature had begun to drop noticeably. I threw a scarf around my shoulders and went down to the courtyard to ask Charlsey for directions to the main town square (the Jamaa Lafna Square).
“Turn left when you walk out, and stay on that road – you can’t miss the square.”
I thanked her and left, somewhat nervous at exploring alone, but my excitement and wanderlust took over and I found myself hugging the right side of the wall as the residential area transformed into a bustling sensational souk in the span of a few feet. I had entered the bazaars of Marrakesh.
Up next – the Bazaar