In the heart of ancient Fez, Morocco’s medieval gem and UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies magical Riad Fes, a beautiful residence recently reformed to its original glory. Riad Fes’s spectacular location overlooks the Medina and Atlas Mountains on the horizon. Its style seems almost too palatial to be a hotel, yet with only 30 rooms it remains exclusive and intimate. Architecturally astounding, the Riad poses a visual mix from the ages, predominately Andalusian in style, with Hispanic-Moorish exteriors, ornate baroque patios, sculpted doors, stucco arcades and Moroccan zellige tiles adorning the walls.
Offering the ultimate experience in elegant living, a stay at Riad Fes harks back to the splendour of noble Fes families and their cultural heritage. Take time to sit out in the garden, breathing in the scents of plentiful fruit trees and rose bushes. Wander the four patios (traditional, Andalusian, Baroque and contemporary) with a drink in hand, taking in the unique style of each, so thoughtfully designed. Every detail is exquisite, from the Islamic carvings to the antique doors, authentic mosaics and grand colonnades lined with typical Moroccan archways.
Bedrooms are spacious and beautifully appointed, warm and exotic, with every detail carefully and artistically created to ensure each space exudes originality. Each room is equipped with all the modern features expected of a 5-star hotel and the en-suite bathrooms are finished with beautiful tadelakt or Carrare marble. Whilst there’s a hint of the contemporary in each room’s style, furnishings are ultra-luxurious and exquisitely hand-crafted, from the wall tiles to the sumptuous silk cushions, embroidered curtains and gorgeous patterned headboards. Suites provide even more space and the finest fabrics and linens, with some enjoying access to terraces overlooking the beautiful garden or Baroque pavilions. My favourite room is the Royal Suite, with a stunning carved ceiling and views over the garden, pool and medina beyond. It is my go-to for a romantic break and feels very private. Breakfast is served in the comfort of your room, starting each day in blissful decadence.
Rise early to watch the sunrise from the rooftop with panoramic views, as light splashes onto the technicolour medina, the city wakes up and the streets begin to bustle. The sights are equally as beautiful from here at sunset with an aperitif in hand.
Before dinner, wine-tasting can be arranged at the Riad Wine Bar with a sommelier, to taste and discover great Moroccan wines in an enchanting atmosphere, accompanied by delicious, freshly prepared tapas. We also organise cigar tastings.
L’Ambre Restaurant’s sophisticated cuisine received the Relais & Chateaux accolade. Recently refurbished, it is a welcoming retreat after a day exploring the Medina, and an intimate setting for a gourmet feast of the highest quality traditional Moroccan dishes. Fruit and vegetables are all seasonal, sourced from a local sustainable farmer. The Riad Fes chefs will be more than happy to take guests out into the souks nearby to haggle for fresh produce and aromatic spices. Back at the Riad, take a cooking class to practise local techniques and taste regional delicacies as you learn about the importance of eating as a family in Moroccan culture.
Spa Riad Fes is perhaps my favourite feature of the hotel – a real guilty pleasure considering there’s abundant culture and history on your doorstep! The spa by Cinq Mondes was designed by Christophe Pillet to offer guests a luxurious and serene space for relaxing and indulging in treatments for the mind and body. Hammams, massages and beauty treatments are the specialties, always using natural products to take guests on a revitalising, sensorial journey. There’s also a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool for cooling off in the midday heat.
We arrange a number of privately guided excursions in and around Fez, such as Medina tours, riding and mountain biking in the mountains, pottery classes and embroidery classes and traditional henna painting, to name a few. Fez is a popular destination amongst golfers with a wonderful course designed by the Jonathan Gaunt. Call our team to plan your stay.
Every time I explore a new destination, whether it’s on an adventure holiday in Peru or a luxury beach escape in the Indian Ocean, I return home full of excitement to share the amazing sights I have seen. Through my own experiences I have developed a love of helping others experience the great wonders of the world; truly getting under the skin of the extraordinary destinations that are at your fingertips. Getting the details right, from which hotel is perfectly located for exploring away from the crowds, to which local guide is most knowledgeable on history or culture or art, is of paramount importance to me. I am constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences and exploring off the beaten track to ensure my clients are receiving the best and most honest first-hand advice.
Take a look at my travel diaries for food for thought on your next trip...