Less than 20 miles from Spain, across the Mediterranean Sea by, the legendary Pillars of Hercules, Tangier (aka Tanger or Tangiers) is the third-largest city in Morocco, as well as many travelers' first port of call in the country. It is a unique city, one that hints at all the wonders of Africa behind it. Famous Western dwellers included William S. Burroughs, Barbara Hutton, Tennessee Williams, and Malcolm Forbes, among others. New Tangier MICE venues, including a 45,000-seat soccer stadium, Ibn Batouta, are raising the city's profile for event planners.
The Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport (TNG) is nine miles southwest of the city center on the coast. It has service to all the major Western European countries. A high-speed rail system is under construction, and when it begins service, that should make the journey anywhere else in Morocco much, much faster.
There are no convention venues in Tangier; the larger events tend to go to Casablanca, Morocco's largest city. Tangier MICE hotels include the 240-room Moevenpick Hotel & Casino Malabata, which has four meeting rooms and the largest ballroom in town; the 230-room Hotel Intercontinental Tanger (not part of the InterContinental Hotels Group), which has conference space for 150 persons; the 196-room Ibis Tanger City Center, which has three meeting rooms for up to 70 persons; the 138-room Ramada les Almohades Tanger, which has five meeting rooms for up to 400 persons; and the 137-room Hotel Cesar & Spa, which can accommodate seminars, presentations, and meetings.
Special MICE venues in Tangier include the Musee de la Fondation Lorin, an art gallery in a former synagogue that has gallery space and a wealth of artifacts on the history of the city; Forbes Museum of Tangier, founded by the publisher of Forbes Magazine, which is in his former home, the Palais Mendoub, and has famous battles re-enacted by more than 115,000 lead soldiers, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, which has six gallery rooms and is in the former British consulate. Two other choices are the stunning Dar-el-Makhzen, the former Sultanate Palace, the residence of the sultans of Morocco when they were in Tangier, which today remains sumptuous, is on one of the highest points in the city, and contains both the Museum of Moroccan Arts and the Museum of Antiquities; and Musee de Carmen-Macein, a fantastic place to hold events as it is not normally open to the public, is in the Kasbah and contains a wealth of paintings by such notables as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
Restaurants that can accommodate groups include Le Restaurant Jardin L'Ocean, around the corner from the Atlantic Ocean's Sidi Kacem beach, and away from the throb of Tangier, and which has much outdoor terrace space; Marhaba Palace, which is along a small alley and has a garden, excellent food, and live Moroccan music; El Pescador, which, as its Spanish name suggests, serves up seafood; the vaulted restaurant inside the 155-room El Minzah Hotel; and, for something not remotely from the region, the new sushi restaurant, Otori.