Sitting on the Atlantic Coast 50 miles southwest of Casablanca, El Jadida gets its atmosphere from a mix of Moroccan influence and former Portuguese colonialism, most evident in its huge, beautiful defensive walls. Controlled by Portugal between 1502 and 1769 – they called it Mazagao – this UNESCO World Heritage site and port city has an interesting interior, although one not as chaotically wonderful as Marrakech's. Nearly all hotels and El Jadida event venues are quite new, as this city is seeing a growth in tourism.
Its main airport is Mohammed V International Airport (CMN), which is approximately 50 miles northeast of El Jadida and has service to New York City on Royal Air Maroc.
The closest facilities resembling conference venues in El Jadida are the Centre d'Etudes Doctorales en Sciences et Technologie facilities at the Universite Chouaib Doukkali, which include auditoriums, meeting rooms, and function areas.
Hotel venues in El Jadida able to look after meeting groups include the Pullman Mazagan Royal Golf & Spa, which has 121 guest rooms and 10 meeting rooms having 376 square feet. Other choices are the 103-room Ibis El Jadida, also managed by Accor Hotels, which has one meeting room; and the 500-room Mazagan Beach Resort El Jadida, which has a casino, lavish shows, and a desert resort feel – as well as a 20,000-square-foot conference center; the 110-room El Morabitine, which has many Moroccan touches and 969 square feet of banquet and meeting space; and the 38-room Art Suites El Jadida, which has a meeting room for 100, banquet hall, and outside tented event space for 30 people.
A wonderful new events space is the Hotel L'Iglesia, which opened in summer 2012 in a building that has both been a 16th-century Catholic church and a U.S. consulate and now has 14 suites, sumptuous interiors, and a rooftop bar and terrace. Other unique choices include three traditional-style properties: the first, the Riad de Mazagao has three guest rooms, exquisite detail, and also a fantastic roof terrace; the second, the Riad Soleil d'Orient, offers seven guest rooms, as well as an interior courtyard with a fountain and trees; lastly, the Riad Villa Harmonie, which also has seven guest rooms, a courtyard, and snug lounge areas. Another choice is eight miles outside of El Jadida, Les Cypres, which has 12 guest rooms, a countryside setting, a meeting room, an events lobby, and a lush garden.
The hotels mentioned above all have good restaurants and might be your best choices, but to get out of your accommodations, head to Au Petit Paris, an informal space with a small courtyard and a French menu; Ali Baba, another simple establishment with good food and lots of open space; the restaurant at the Riad La Maison des Epices, another superb riad, with seven guest rooms; the rooftop-level dining at Bellevue; and La Portugaise in the city's La Cite Portugaise district.