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I'm looking for ideas about functionality of this wooden "cage" found on the wall of hotel room in Fez, Morocco. I haven't had a chance to ask the service about it, and I'm yet to find a similar thing in any other hotel.

The photo was taken in 2019. The cage is about 50 x 50 cm, has a lock on the side and opens sideways I believe. During my stay it was empty and closed all the time. Notice it has no back panel - the wallpaper behind is visible - so my guess is nothing dirty (like laundry) goes inside.

Edit: The hotel in the question is Hotel Mounia Fes. I found a fair number of other pictures from the place on Google Maps and Tripadvisor that feature this cage (example one). The takeaways for me, regarding the comments you made, are:

  • the thing may be smaller than I stated, like 30 to 40 cm on the side;
  • it's not clear whether every room is equipped with it, but certainly more than one;
  • location of the cage varies from room to room;
  • it can open left- or right-side (the linked photo shows mirrored version with visible hinge).

A wooden cage found on the wall of hotel room in Fez, Morocco

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    Looks like a towel rack at the first glance to me, but it's probably not one. Where was this placed in your room/suite? – Erik Feb 2 at 8:07
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    If it actually was a rack for drying clothes, it would not make sense to have a lock on it, have the bars rotated at different angles, nor so close to eachother and the curved shape would be disadvantageous. I doubt that it is the correct guess. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Feb 2 at 15:24
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    Maybe it was created to get people to ask questions about it on the internet and advertise the hotel? :) – JonathanReez Feb 3 at 6:53
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    That looks like a magazine or newspaper rack placed conveniently for bedside reading material. Of course nobody reads anything but their cellphones now, so it was empty. A vestigial artifact of a long forgotten era! – jcklopp Feb 4 at 18:01
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+500

I am not sure about Morocco but this is your run of the mill newspaper rack. If you were in a breakfast restaurant in the 60-80s you would likely see this with a different section of the newspaper separated and hung. These were even at the big double arches. People may put magazines on them but it was made for newspapers.

It would be normal for a restaurant to get 3 major newspapers and see 15-20 sections strung out all over on this.

Note: Based on the comments around the lock. Locks were normal and the newspapers were dropped in the middle rolled up. I don't think the lock was meant to protect the newspapers per se because it is just a flimsy cage with huge holes. I think the locks were there to convey that what is inside should be paid for. If I remember right most places left these open with a "pay jar" adjacent. Some places only provided one newspaper to read and often people that paid left portions of their on the rack after.

I have also heard others comment about this being used to cover a thermostat control. I have stayed at a lot of hotels and I have never seen one that you could bypass with a long straight coat hanger. I think that use is debunked.

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  • Mystery solved! But while that would make sense in a cafe, why would you put this in a hotel room? Perhaps the room was once a lounge of some kind? – lambshaanxy Feb 25 at 5:31
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    If the place was recently updated I would be like "wow that's odd" but if this place was built in the late 80s then this would have been accurate. And why get rid of it? You can hang anything on it now. Ties, shirts, scarves, whatever – blankip Feb 25 at 5:36
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    Finally, an answer! – jcm Feb 25 at 7:05
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    The answer sounds convincing and based on personal experience, but I'd love it to be backed up by some external source, like a photo of such device actually filled with newspapers or, as @mark-mayo tries in the comments, a response right from the source. Thanks! – Leibrug Feb 26 at 7:41
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    Sorry, but I am not convinced. Having the bars arranged in a curved shape and partially on top of eachother would defeat the purpose of a newspaper rack. If you want to hang a newspaper on one of the bars of the pictured device, the other bars would be in the way. Racks for hanging newspapers are similar, but have for practical purposes a quite different arrangement of the bars: iaprisonind.com/store/p/1596-Newspaper-Rack-Open-Back.aspx – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Feb 26 at 9:32
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Old fashioned wall mounted drying rack

Usually wooden devices like this on walls open up and hinge down, and are old fashioned drying racks.

Here is one with arms that open, and is not a lean out rack like the one in your room.

Clothes Drying Rack - Old Fashion Design Copy

It bothered me to see the wife having to work so hard to set up a collapsible drying rack to dry her's and the kids swim stuff so I started researching a wall mount setup that would fold flat against the wall. Most designs I found were large lean out designs but I needed something with ends sticking out to hold swim caps open to dry. I came across one old antique design that was just what I needed so I took the idea and updated it to my situation. This was a one day construction and then a couple of days of polyurethane stain coats and I was in business.

Link for photo enter image description here

Back to your device

Now, you can even see at the bottom of your device that it does unhinge and open up, due to the shape of the wood, and you can see the white mark on the wood where the rack collides with the rest of the structure.

Just to be 100% sure

Just to be 100% sure you could simply email the hotel with the photo and ask them, then let us know which answer was correct.

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  • This doesn't really look like it would be a functional clothes drying rack though? It opens to the side, not the bottom, and there's no airflow -- any clothes you hang on the top would collide with the ones below. – lambshaanxy Mar 2 at 5:16
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    @lambshaanxy I emailed the hotel concerned asking what it was, but am yet to receive a reply. If they do reply, i shall let you know what they say. – John Strachan Mar 2 at 5:39
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    The one in the picture is OBVIOUSLY not a drying rack as you would not mount 10-15 wet things basically on top of each other in a semi-circle. This is a drying rack yet looks nothing like the picture in the question. – blankip Mar 3 at 6:42

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