The Hotel Toulousain, William Burroughs and I

February 5, 2014

As soon as I looked into the entrance of the Hotel Toulousain, it was love at first sight. There is something about that place, the old furniture, the mint lacquered paint, the whole atmosphere had a taste of time travel. Apart from a couple of details, it looks like it hasn’t changed for some 40 years, at least.

We needed a couple of nights in a hotel and we inquired about the prices. we didn’t book it straight away but it stayed at the back of my mind, it’s not every day that you find a place with so much character… then a few days later I read in the guidebook that William Burroughs used to be a regular in that place. I told hubby, we need to stay there too.

William Burroughs was a writer, part of the Beat Generation, along with other well known names as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouak. He is well know for his book Naked Lunch (adapted to cinema by David Cronenberg in 1991) and his unusual writing method called Cut Up- which consisted of cutting typed pages in half and joining them randomly, creating new phrases and concepts.

William Burroughs was well known for being a junkie and one of his not so well known interests was magick, which happened at the Hotel Toulousain, in the 1960’s. Burroughs spent time at the hotel with artist and friends Brion Gysin and Mikey Portman, where they tried to summon the spirit of Abramelin the Mage. It is not know as little account was left of the event if they were successful or not, but it is said that the oils necessary for the conjuring were made using a recipe by Aleister Crowley himself. Who knows.

The Hotel Toulousain is a very simple and basic hotel, very affordable and what it lacks in comfort, is compensated by the charm and presence of its history. We stayed in a double room, with a little bathroom, complete with a toilet, shower with hot water and a sink. Very basic but good enough. I don’t think we had any heating in our room (the nights in Marrakech can get pretty chilly) but fortunately we weren’t uncomfortable. There is also free WIFI, which in this day and age is a must, as well as a copious and very nice breakfast, served in the hotel’s cafe or patio. A good option for anyone travelling on a budget.

I am smitten with this place. I don’t understand why, as it’s a bit ran down (some people might say a lot) but I feel a weird attraction to it. I have decided that if I ever go back to Marrakech I will stay there again. There is beauty in the visible passage of time, I suppose.

Hotel Toulousain

44 Rue Tariq Bnou Ziad, Marrakesh, Morocco


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  • Reply Kizzy @ The Dainty Dolls House February 5, 2014 at 09:07

    It looks like a cool place to me, I love the doors in the second photo, stunning. And if William Burroughs stayed there, then it’s just dandy with me too :)) Super place doll x

    • Reply Mrs D February 11, 2014 at 11:53

      It’s definitely interesting!

  • Reply pastcaring February 5, 2014 at 10:21

    What a fabulous place. Beautiful and atmospheric will do me, I don’t mind if it’s run down, don’t even care about free Wifi! xxx

    • Reply Mrs D February 11, 2014 at 11:53

      Yes, it really has a special atmosphere to it!

  • Reply @mrsoaroundworld February 5, 2014 at 11:51

    Good that you found a place where you feel welcome. Sometimes they are not the best places, but we are attracted to them!

    • Reply Mrs D February 11, 2014 at 11:54

      It’s really interesting, the whole atmosphere is very unique.

  • Reply Val S February 5, 2014 at 15:11

    It looks very interesting and homey – I love the tiles on the walls! And what a funny coincidence – on the radio just now they were saying that today is William Burroughs birthday! They’re going to have a piece about his final years after he left New York to go live in Kansas. I guess I should read more about this man!

    • Reply Mrs D February 11, 2014 at 11:54

      Oh my! what a fantastic coincidence! I had no idea!!!

  • Reply Vix February 5, 2014 at 17:57

    That’s exactly the kind of place we love to stay in – authentic, a bit worn around the edges and as atmospheric as they come. I love that photo of you sitting on the bed, you could be from another era! xxx

    • Reply Mrs D February 11, 2014 at 11:54

      Thank you Vix!!!

  • Reply Connie* February 6, 2014 at 00:57

    I love this style, too. Perhaps it is the ghost of William Burroughs that drew you in. Just lovely.

    • Reply Mrs D February 11, 2014 at 11:54

      I’d like to think he did.

  • Reply Señora Allnut February 6, 2014 at 09:53

    fabulous place, so evocative and full of a great atmosphere!

    • Reply Mrs D February 11, 2014 at 11:55


  • Reply jocelina February 11, 2014 at 20:40

    Not a fan of the exterior but the room with you as a model in it is priceless! Perfect setting for any photo shoot 😀

    • Reply Mrs D February 12, 2014 at 16:05

      I liked it because it felt like it was stopped in time… It was the whole atmosphere that was interesting. Not luxurious at all!
      The room was quite good indeed!

  • Reply Andrea Deal November 20, 2015 at 04:27

    Hi, Sara!
    I hope you’re well!
    Looking for some Burroughs stuff for John for Christmas, I stumbled upon your lovely post here. Looks like you had a great time. We’d love to stay there too! What a place! And knowing Burroughs, what terrible histories have been written in those walls.

    • Reply Mrs. D November 23, 2015 at 14:11

      I’m glad you liked it – you should definitely stay there if you have the chance!!!
      Hugs you back 🙂

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