Morocco's largest city and main port, Casablanca, sits on the Atlantic Ocean. While it is possible to find some Casablanca MICE venues paying tribute to Humphrey Bogart and Rick's Cafe Americain, this city is more modern than such Moroccan cities as Fez, Meknes, and Marrakech. Casablanca is the country's economic powerhouse and transportation hub. It is dominated by the Hassan II Mosque, which has the world's tallest minaret and can host 25,000 worshippers, as well as a further 80,000 in its courtyard.
Casablanca's main airport is Mohammed V International Airport (CMN), which is three miles northeast of the city center and has service to New York City on Royal Air Maroc. There also is a smaller airport, Casablanca-Anfa, which has only domestic service.
Chief among MICE venues in Casablanca is the Office of Fairs & Exhibitions in Casablanca, also known as OFEC. Located on Rue Tiznit close to the Hassan II Mosque, it has 200,000 square feet of exhibition space and 16,000 square feet of outdoor space, among other possibilities.
MICE Hotels in Casablanca are numerous, large, and have ample space. Choices for groups include the 286-room Sheraton Casablanca Hotel & Towers, which has 11 meeting rooms for up to 800 persons; the 255-room Hyatt Regency Casablanca, which has eight meeting rooms for up to 600 persons; and the 171-room Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche, which has five meeting rooms for up to 400 persons. A more traditional-looking choice is Casablanca Le Lido Thalasso & Spa, which has 187 guest rooms and both meeting and banquet space for up to 500 people. Another possibility, Le Royal Mansour Meridien, is currently closed for renovation.
Although not as evocative of One Thousand and One Nights as Marrakech, Casablanca nevertheless can still charm. Unique event sites might include the very white, imposing, Art Deco Villa des Arts, which was built in 1934 and has gallery space and 25,000 square feet of gardens for events; the definitely Moorish courthouse of Mahkama du Pacha in the heart of the city's Medina, which has 60 reception rooms and every possible piece of Moroccan embellishment without being over the top; Musee de la Fondation Abderrahman Slaoui, an arts museum that has four function spaces, the largest measuring 500 square feet, and a cafe measuring more than 2,000 square feet; and Riad Jnane Sherazade, close to the Royal Palace, which has a private dining space, two meeting rooms, 4,000 square feet of garden, and also eight guest rooms. Also consider events in the stunning, nearby desert, where operators can set up barbecues, visits to Berber villages, and even French Foreign Legion-themed evenings.
Casablanca has an excellent mix of traditional and modern restaurants, with some establishments merging the two successfully. Select from Brasserie la Bavaroise, which used to be a German beerhouse but now is a fine-dining restaurant serving some of the best food in the city; Riad 21, which is in the south of the city and has traditional interiors but a startlingly modern exterior; La Taverne du Dauphin, which is more formal but no less fine; Jean Jaures, which has a French menu, music at weekends, and backlit photos and art on its walls; and Le Rouget de l'Isle, which takes its design cues from Andalusia and the Canary Islands and has a talented young Moroccan chef at the helm.