This hotel is clearly the grand old dame of Bou-Saada, with a faded glamour that suggests it was once an exotic pit-stop in an era when Algeria welcomed more tourists than it does now. It's one of two hotels in Bou-Saada owned by the upscale (by Algerian standards) El Djazair chain, although after a look around the town, it's not immediately clear why either hotel exists here.
The more obvious elements of original décor aside (marble floors, Moorish ceiling detailing), the hotel interior and furniture is rather basic and old-fashioned, replete with the garish white energy-saving lightbulbs that are ubiquitous in Algeria and bedroom doors that make the sound of a screeching orc when closing.
You'll soon realise that the hotel's gardens and swimming pool - genuinely magnificent and more befitting a five-star hotel - are the best thing not just about the hotel but the whole town, which, apart from a nearby mini craft shopping centre containing a restaurant, seems to make no concessions whatsoever to tourism (sometimes a good thing, but not here) and has little to see or do beyond the natural 'couleur locale' of the place. (And if that's not the case, the hotel makes no effort to impart any such information to visitors).
During our stay, the Kerdada was virtually deserted; the hotel staff seemed to outnumber guests. Many had a slight air of detachment and bemusement, probably wondering what on earth you're doing in this boring town - you'll soon wonder the same thing. Occasional outbreaks of helpfulness could be obtained with persistence. One or two were loveliness personified.
Our boredom and frustration were compounded when we were barred from bringing into the hotel some cakes we'd bought from a nearby patisserie.
Wi-fi comes and goes and, given the lack of local nightlife, needed to be better than it was. Breakfast is a plate of pastries and biscuits with yogurt, an improvement on their sister hotel, the Gourara in Timimoun. The majority of staff don't speak English and it's cash only, both the norm for Algeria. As for the restaurant, our dinner was poor but how could it be otherwise when the hotel has such a high vacancy rate. At least beer and wine is available; you may find you need quite a lot of both.
Bottom line: if you're coming here, come for relaxation by the pool and garden and literally nothing else.