Rabat, Morocco - El Minzah hotel in the Moroccan city of Tangiers, for decades a haunt of the rich and famous, risks closure after having forfeited its five-star status on hygiene grounds.
Blending a Moorish style with the decorum of an English gentlemen's club, El Minzah was built by British aristocrat Lord Bute and opened in 1930.
Located in Tangiers on the Strait of Gibraltar, its long list of famous guests include Winston Churchill, Yves Saint Laurent and Rita Hayworth.
Its bar is reputed to have inspired Rick's Cafe in the classic Hollywood movie Casablanca.
In a sign of the times, the tourism ministry announced this week that the hotel has been stripped of two of its five stars for “serious failings” in its accommodation, renovation and especially the kitchens, which were found “sorely lacking in hygiene”.
The hotel has been granted 15 days to comply with hygiene and food safety requirements otherwise it will be closed, the ministry said.