You’ll find all the usual run-of-the-mill could-be-anywhere hotels in Morocco, but for a truly special experience – at any budget – staying in a riad is absolutely the best choice.
In the original sense of the word, a riad is a traditional courtyard house with citrus trees planted around the patio that’s open to the sky. Rooms are arranged on the ground and first floor around this perfumed courtyard, that often has a pretty fountain in the middle. The other type of house is a ‘dar’, which is much the same but doesn’t have the trees and might have a second floor. These days, the word ‘riad’ has come to mean a guesthouse, as so many of these traditional houses – both riads and dars – have been restored and opened as the perfect accommodation option.
So here you have the opportunity to wake up in a museum-quality house, full of fabulous mosaic tiles, delicately carved plaster, painted wooden ceilings, huge cedarwood doors and a tinkling fountain. Even better, these houses usually only have between three and six bedrooms, so you’ll enjoy really personal service.
Riads come in all price categories – from as little as 30 Euros a night for two, including breakfast, up to 600 Euros and more. The degree of luxury differs, of course, but you’ll always get a bathroom en suite with a western toilet and usually air-conditioning or heating. Here are some examples in the Fez Medina, all within easy walking distance of the major sights and shopping streets:
Maison Fez Aya
Here’s a pretty family home named after Aya, the owner’s six-year-old daughter. At only 30 Euros per double or twin room per night, including local taxes and breakfast, this is an exceptional deal. The five rooms are air-conditioned and have a bathroom en suite. There’s a small central courtyard with a wall fountain, a communal lounge and a roof terrace for lounging. Dinner is available on request.
Riad Lune et Soleil
This oasis of tranquillity, with its courtyard fountain beneath the lemon trees, is renowned for its local cuisine. There are five rooms ranging from 72 to 100 Euros per night, depending on size. Most have a Jacuzzi in the bathroom, and all sleep up to three people.
This is a stupendous dar dating from the fifteenth century. There are six rooms here, and one of the best roof terraces in the whole of Fez – views are superb. It’s located in R’cif near Seffarine Square which is famous for its brass and copper work. Rooms range from 80 to 120 Euros for two, per night.
This elegant riad boasts 14 rooms and has a lift to take you to the roof terrace with its bar and remarkable views. The restaurant is excellent, there’s a hammam (traditional steam bath and massage rooms) and it’s located close to the famous Chaouwara Tanneries. There are shady gardens around the marble fountain and rooms here start at 200 Euros for two per night.
To make a booking or find out more simply visit www.fez-riads.com.