Hostel and hotel reviews are generally not my thing on this blog, but I just had to write about this hostel in Marrakech! If you recall, I stayed in a few hostels during my last trip to Morocco — like the cheap but not particularly cheerful hostel (or maybe a little too cheerful for me) in Essaouira and the best hostel I stayed in, in Chefchaouen — but for the most part, I stuck to hotels, riads, and Airbnb accommodations.
Sometimes I sprung for a bit of luxury and other times I just wanted to spend as little as possible. Regardless, it always came down to value for money. As long as I had a comfortable place to sleep and strong enough WiFi to get some work done, I could survive. But I was also willing to pay a couple extra pounds to get a nice breakfast and a clean shower.
Young & Happy Hostel Marrakech
That brings me back to the Young & Happy Hostel in Marrakech! I haven’t stayed in any other hostels in Marrakech, so I was skeptical when this one came up on my Airbnb search. The pictures made the place seem really nice and they said the WiFi was good, the showers were hot, and it was close to the Djemma el Fna Square. But there were no reviews, and that made my ‘too-good-to-be-true’ alarm bells go off.
I did a Google search. Their website seemed reputable but again, there were only a few reviews on TripAdvisor, which I felt was a little dodgy as well. They had a pretty active Facebook page with some reviews, so after that I decided to book.
I arrived around noon after stubbornly walking around Marrakech looking for the hostel using a screenshot of a map on my phone. I refused to pay for another taxi (I took the wrong bus from the airport and paid one to take me from Bab Doukkala to the Saadian Tombs) because I was sure I was in the right place. Of course, I walked right past the turning, and ended up going through the Square and back around. I finally decided to just go to the Palais el Badi and ask the men taking admissions.
“Excuse me, I’m looking for my auberge de jeunesse [hostel in French]. It’s called Young & Happy Hostel.”
“You say you’re looking for an auberge? It is me.” (Context: auberge means shelter without the de jeunesse part).
“Ha, no.” Please don’t mess with a woman who has braved 42°C heat for two hours on foot.
Eventually they did point me in the right direction and it was right around the corner. I went through the gold door to see big, shiny tiled stairs leading up to reception. Even at that point, I was quite skeptical. I climbed the stairs slowly, looking for any signs that I was being taken for a ride.
I met Houla at reception and noticed that there was someone cleaning the rooms and that the tiles were spotless. Excellent. I asked if it was okay to check-in; it was. She told me the price for the 6-bed dorm room beds and I paid immediately lest they change their minds! There was only one other person around, so she let me choose my room and bed.
The sheets were clean and the mattresses looked brand new. Everything was Y & H branded, from the bunk beds’ steel frames to the embroidered linens. Every room has lockers to store your valuables, which I hadn’t really found at other hostels in Morocco.
Once I had unpacked a little, I tried to get some work done. The WiFi was strong (I even streamed an episode of Suits later in the evening!) but I was exhausted so I took a nap. After doing some work, I went out to buy something to eat, but it was so hot I wasn’t particularly hungry. I bought a pain au chocolat and an ice cream — yay for healthy balanced diets!
What I Liked
- Strong WiFi
- Generous with the A/C. They ran the air conditioning most of the day in the common room and I had mine on all night. I’m going to have a rude awakening when I’m in the desert!
- Hot showers. Good water pressure too.
- Clean. It helps that the place nearly brand new, but someone cleans the rooms and common areas, and makes the beds every day.
- 24-hour reception. Great for those late nights out in the Red City.
- Not in the medina. It is in the city walls, but it’s not on some tiny street in the middle of the medina that you can’t find. You can get here with Google Maps and it means that you won’t be bothered by touts or fake guides when you’re fresh off a plane.
- Close to interesting places. I went back to Cafe Clock for dinner and it’s near the Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace, and El Badi Palace. It’s also a simple walk to Djemma el Fna square.
- Staff are lovely. They were all very friendly and helpful, even sharing their iftar (breaking of the fast during Ramadan) with me one evening I was around.
- Roof terrace. It’s especially beautiful at night when you can see the lights of the nearby minaret and the Koutoubia.
The Final Verdict
* * * * * (5 Stars)
I stayed at the Y&H Hostel for 3 nights and I would absolutely, 100% recommend this place to anyone looking for a hostel in Marrakech. The reason the place is short on reviews is because they only opened a few months ago. While I was here, only one other person was staying at the hostel, but I get the feeling that the place is relaxed. The Y&H Hostel offers excellent value for money.
Getting There & Particulars
I took the city bus from the airport (4dh).
On Foot. From Djemma el Fna Square, walk down Avenue Hoummane el Fetouaki, which is the continuation of the main street running in front of the Square where the Koutoubia and the caleches are. When you’re on the same side as the Square, face the Koutoubia and turn left down the street. Alternatively, ask someone to point you in the direction of Arset Lamaache.
Once you get to the end of Avenue Hoummane el Fetouaki, there is a teeny-tiny roundabout. Go under the arch directly facing you; it’s right next to a little hanout where you can buy water and such. It leads to a little square with a snack and some touristy shops. Walk through the arch on the other side, turn left and keep walking as the street curves. You’ll see the huge Young & Happy Hostel sign.
Taxi. Ask the driver to drop you off at Palais el Badi in the medina. Once you’re facing the palace, walk left down the street and you’ll see the sign for the hostel. Make sure the driver is running the meter! From the Square, this journey shouldn’t cost more than 10dh.
Reserve online, or just walk in for a room. A 6-bed dorm is 100 dh (£6.65) per night and a private room is 150 dh per person. Add breakfast for 20 dh per day.
Young & Happy Hostel Marrakech
+212(0)5 24 38 33 88
113 Rue de Berrima
Photos courtesy of Y&H Hostel Marrakech. I was not comped, asked to, or paid to write this review; all opinions are my own.