Hotel El-Muniria, Tangier, Morocco


Physical address: 1 Rue Magellan, Tangier

Phone number: +212 5399-35337

Business hours: Always open

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WHEN William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, arrived in Tangier, Morocco, in the mid-1950s, he found a city ready to indulge him in any vice that took his fancy. Jointly administered by France, Spain and the UK when it first became an international zone in 1924, its leadership had become even more cosmopolitan with Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands and the USA joining in on the action later. Filled with international expats living la vie boheme, security intelligence was as available on the street as marijuana from the nearby Rif Mountain region, and brothels shared buildings with bars (both of which would have been difficult to access in the rest of Muslim Morocco). With a penchant for companions of mixed ages and genders, and an addiction to heroin (substituted later with marijuana), Burroughs was right at home.

True Blue #elmuniria #nakedlunch #destroyallrationalthought #nofiltersneeded

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Having settled in to the Villa Muniria (now named the Hotel El-Muniria), he spent the majority of his time writing the pages of manuscript that would eventually become his third – and most famous – novel, Naked Lunch. When fellow Beat Generation authors, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, came to visit him, they found piles of pages all over the room. Armed with typewriters, they pulled the text together, editing and rewriting at will. Between the three of them, the first draft of the novel materialised at El-Muniria.

Room #9, where all of the action took place, is now a private apartment used by the hotel’s owners. The hotel itself has aged, but is otherwise respectable and well-priced, with French windows and bright furnishings maintaining its charm. The rooftop terrace (from which it was feared Burroughs might fall in a drug haze – precipitating his move from Rooms #7 and #8 to the basement) provides views of the Mediterranean, and beneath the hotel is the Tangerinn pub – another favourite of the city’s Beat Generation.

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