Riad Numero 9

Fes, Morocco Book from

Reviewed by Joanna Symons
An exquisitely restored late 18th century house in the heart of Fes' medina, with 3 sumptuous rooms and an exciting chef's residence scheme
Numero 9 has become an institution in Fez. This exquisite medina house has been turned into a guesthouse by American Stephen di Renza, a designer who’s created the sort of interior that makes you want to rush home, throw out all your old furniture and start again. His adjoining restaurant, Resto 7, is just as sleek, decorated in black and white; and the look, much like the inventive Moroccan cuisine, is striking.

This is a more intimate set-up than most riad hotels, with a mini courtyard and just 3 guest bedrooms. But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in style. Stephen has combined an eclectic mixture of furniture and accessories from France and the Far East, as well as Morocco. Somehow it all looks absolutely in keeping, without overdoing the ethnic theme. All in all, Riad Numero 9 is a lovely, extraordinary place, a little bit of magic in a fascinating and mysterious city.


  • Charming and thoughtful owners, plus wonderful decoration - you'll go home full of new design ideas
  • Only 3 rooms, so a small group can take over the whole house
  • Right in the heart of the medina, off Talaa Sghira between Bab Boujloud and Nejjarine Square
  • Adjoining restaurant, Resto 7, offers inventive cuisine that celebrates Fez’s culinary offering
  • Lovely views from the roof terrace retreat


  • Not good if you want anonymity - being so small and intimate, it's like staying in a private home
  • As with most riads, all rooms open directly onto the courtyard so you may be disturbed by other guests
  • The Standard Room is not ensuite, and its unglazed bathroom window opens onto the courtyard
  • It’s a 5-minute walk to the nearest car park
  • The restaurant offers a chef’s residency scheme (1-4 months), which means we can’t vouch for every menu, but each chef is handpicked, and feedback is good

Best time to go

You'll stay warm or cool at any time of year but you may prefer to avoid mid-summer when temperatures can rocket and the hassle of the souks can seem that much more of an ordeal. We visited in the low season and enjoyed the more laid-back vibe in the city.

Our top tips

Take a break from the bustle in the Bou Jeloud public gardens, which are laid out in typical Islamic symmetry with cooling water features and grand avenues of palm. Conveniently sandwiched between Fes el-Bali and Fes el-Jdid.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Riad Hotel
  • 3
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Aug 2017 - 31 Aug 2017
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen


Upstairs each of the 3 bedroomsoverlooking the courtyard is like a cleverly styled set piece for Elle Deco.

The first is the so-called Standard Room, with beamed ceiling, original carved cedar cupboards and a screen dividing bedroom and sitting areas. Light is filtered through deep red and saffron window glass, and you can sit on orange python-skin cushions beneath a pair of 1920s fans from Italy (largely decorative). The bathroom (private, but across the landing) has a copper sink in a large terracotta olive oil pot.

The Junior Suite has a rabbit-fur throw on the bed, Moroccan door ornaments as side tables, a 1930s Venetian glass mirror on the wall, and a roomy sitting area. There are no fans or air-con, but thick walls keep all rooms cool, even in summer. The walk-in shower in the ensuite bathroom is like a mini hammam, complete with buckets and loofah.

Climb another flight of twisting stairs and you come to the Master Suite, with a magnificent painted ceiling, which links by private balcony to a bathroom-cum- sitting room running the whole length of the house and dominated by a pair of green leather barber’s chairs. There are whimsical touches every-where you look: an antique china phrenology head and psalmist’s hand on a side table, old canvas suitcases stacked artfully on top of a cupboard.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Terrace
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Breakfasts might include fresh juices such as lime and anise, homemade yoghurt with fruit and pancakes, goats cheese and pumpkin omelettes, fresh bread with honey and homemade jams.

Next door, Resto 7 is open for lunch and dinner. International chefs are invited to spend 1-4 months in the kitchen, developing Moroccan dishes with an international twist which use ingredients from Fez’s impressive food markets. No matter who the chef is, each day offers a new set menu, which is written up on the black board; you may get chilled fava bean and almond soup followed by baked sardines or braised chicken. Feedback has been consistently good.

If you want to head out, the spectacular 19th-century Palais Mnebhi is very close, but Stephen can recommend a few lesser known restaurants, from the cheap and cheerful to ceremonial dining with live music.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Meal delivery service
  • Restaurants nearby


  • Hit the souk - the ultimate shopping experience. You'll find gorgeous pottery, leather goods and furnishings; be prepared to haggle
  • Experience the delights of a savon noir scrub followed by an essential oils massage in a hammam
  • Take a break from the bustle in the Bou Jeloud gardens or chill out with a mint tea at a nearby café
  • Visit the Merenid Tombs then have a sundowner on the terrace of the Hôtel des Merinides
  • Hire a grand taxi for the day and head out to Meknes and Volubilis; seeing these exquisite Roman sites in the evening light is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures


Children of all ages are welcome, but due to the riad's layout, there are lots of steep steps.

Family friendly accommodation:

The Standard Room can accommodate 1 child on an extra bed (no additional cost), but there are no cots. If you rent the whole house you can use one of the salons as a child's bedrooms.

Kid Friendly:

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