“An extremely popular riad, with a choice of traditional and modern rooms, and perhaps the best service in Fes' medina”
First impressions are grand and traditional: an enclosed 2-storey court, etched in eye-boggling stucco-work and starry zellij from column bases to translucent roof, furnished with red sofas and a grand piano, and overhung by a vast, perforated copper spinning top of a lamp. Step next door into the new Andalous wing, and it’s another story. Sleek and chic, with an ornamental strip pool flanked by giant lanterns and potted trees, it ripples with underwater spotlamps and chill-out music at night. Above are rooms decorated in a contemporary style - a refreshing alternative to the ornate grandeur of the older rooms. Faultless service from a dozen uniformed staff, overseen by a brisk and multilingual manageress, contributes to its unfailing popularity, especially with Fes-first-timers.
- Great location in the sought-after Zerbtana quarter of the medina
- Roof-level dining terrace - with elevator for the less mobile
- The Deluxe Rooms are extremely spacious, modern and well equipped
- Staff are extremely helpful and professional - probably the best service in the medina
- The small dipping pool in the old court is a godsend in summer
- By night, the Andalous court, with its pool, bar and ambient music, is one of Fes' most stylish places to hang out
- The older rooms are very traditional (if you prefer modern decor, ask for a Deluxe Room)
- It's pricey by riad standards, but warranted by high standards and service
- You'll need to book ahead, as it's very popular
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Riad Hotel
- Restaurant and bar
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
There's quite a difference between the various roomtypes so it's worth choosing carefully. On balance we preferred the Deluxe Rooms, but the older Standard Rooms with terrace came a close second. We haven't seen the baroque rooms yet.
Deluxe Rooms, above the Andalous patio, are clean and contemporary, with cream walls, pale floor tiles and dark-stained wooden furniture, including vast beds, low coffee tables and a desk. A scattering of bright rugs, silky quilts and heavy floral curtains keeps them from being minimal, but by comparison with the usual over-ornate Fassi riad, they're pretty toned down. There's no shortage of space, and plenty of storage room too. Most have windows overlooking the court, but noise is not a problem as the bar music stops around 10.30pm. You get all mod cons - air-conditioning, satellite TV, safe, minibar, CD player - and the result is that you feel very comfy and sleep very soundly. The only possible criticism is that you could be in almost any small luxury hotel in the Arab world.
Black-tiled bathrooms all have a tub (this is a legal requirement of the 'luxury hotel' category); 3 have a separate shower room too, glazed in smooth tadlakt plaster of course. Beside the twin basins is a bewildering collection of herbal/mineral rubs and scrubs in pretty ceramic dishes, and a comforting stack of fluffy towels and robes.
Pride of place in this wing goes to the Ambassador Suite, a palatial double aspect room with 3 windows over the upper Andalous terrace and 3 over the neighbouring garden. It's clearly designed to impress - high beamed ceiling, generous sitting area, a gleaming marble and tadelakt bathroom - and it's no surprise that the GM of Louis Vuitton stayed here. The Junior Suite, above this, is the best of this category, with its own balcony.
Of the older rooms, we liked the Standard rooms with terraces, whose pretty peach hues, carved headboard and screened outside sitting area make it an outstanding value-for-money choice. The remaining Standard Rooms are less enticing, with some dubious colour schemes (green bathroom tiling, vivid orange curtains) and rather dated bathrooms (though the claw-footed tubs might be a draw for some). The Royal Suite - the most expensive in the hotel - is fantastically over-the-top, with half-tiled and half-stuccoed walls, a patterned zellij floor and a creamy kingsize bed and armchairs; the downstairs bathroom is spacious, but lacks natural light.
- Air conditioning
- Cd player
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Safe box
- Satellite tv
An excellent breakfast is served at wrought-iron tables beside the dipping pool in the old court, brushed by roses and citrus leaves. Waitresses bring you seasonal fruit salad (banana, melon, pomegranate seeds), individual yoghurts, fresh orange juice and all manner of pancakes and crumpet-like things, presented on elegant blue-white patterned china and starched tablecloths. Our only complaint was that the tea - as so often - tasted faintly of coffee from the flasks which are used for both.
You can also book dinner (see Rates) in the cosy restaurant room or upstairs on the roof-level terrace, looking out over the hotch-potch of sandy stone houses and copper-hatted minarets that typify Fes' medina. Expect a spread of Moroccan cooked salads (fried zucchini, soft aubergines, tasty tomato paste) or a soup such as lharira (chickpeas and lentils), followed by a main such as stewed lamb with quince and sesame, or roast chicken stuffed with semolina, almonds and raisins (the sweet-sour combo is popular here). First-timers might want to order classics like pastilla (puff pastry filled with pigeon and almonds) or couscous with 7 vegetables. Desserts include strawberry mousse (runny but delicious), carrot soup with orange-blossom water and briouates in honey. There are plenty of decent local wines in stock, and coffee/tea is included in the price. All in all, the meal was good without being outstanding, and you will probably want to eat out some of the time. Options range from a simple streetside snack to a fully-fledged feast at La Maison Bleue; ask staff for advice.
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Explore Fes’ vast and vigorous medina (old walled centre) - preferably with an official guide (booked through the hotel), as it’s a tangle of winding alleys with no street signs and plenty of touts and poverty and grime
- Stop by the medersas (religious colleges) with their stately courtyards decorated with finely carved wood and stucco; the grandiose dars and palaces hidden behind lowly wooden doors; the tanneries, where you look down on vatfuls of brightly coloured dyes and the quasi-medieval serfs who stir the ponging mixtures; glimpses into the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II (the city’s founder); the wood museum on Nejjarin square; the gold markets and clothes / fabric shops of Kissaria; the exotic fruit and vegetable stalls; and all the other souks
- If that sounds daunting, start with the medina of nearby Meknes, sometimes called ‘Fes lite’ - smaller and more manageable but also less impressive; its 25-mile-long city walls and monumental babs (gates) are a highlight
- Take a morning visit to the beautiful mosaics in the ruined Roman city of Volubilis - a must if you’re interested in Roman history, and haven’t seen the mosaics of Pompeii or Sicily; the town survived into the 18th century, so you can still see residential quarters as well as public monuments
- Also in the area is Moulay Idriss, a bustling pilgrimage town for Muslims honouring the great grandson of the prophet Mohammed and founder of Fes; a trip here is worth one fifth of the hajj to Mecca
- In summer, escape into the cool mountains of the Middle Atlas around Azrou and Ifrane (1-2 hours); with their cedar forests and verdant lakes, the scenery is reminiscent of the Alps, and in winter you can even go skiing
- You can book the hotel's hammam or get a massage with essential oils (see Rates); or take a hot soak in the spa town of Moulay Yacoub (1/2 hour away)
- There's horse-riding just outside town, and the Royal Fes golf club 10km away
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Traditional cultures
Children are welcome and all rooms are suitable; cots are available. Children are free up to 3 years old and cots are also free; for children up to 18 years old an extra bed in parents' room is an additional cost.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool in the courtyard
- Airport: 30 minutes
- Shops: 2 minutes