You haven’t seen Morocco until you’ve spent time in ancient, historic Fez – home to the maze of atmospheric alleyways that make up the largest medina in the world. Life bustles about its butcher’s stalls and fresh-veg vendors, as it has done for centuries. But don’t think there’s no sophistication. Fez is one funky city, with hotels to cater for all tastes: from international-class palaces to stunningly decorated traditional riads with gorgeous pools and rooftops, you’ll be checking into paradise wherever you choose to rest your head.
Sweep through the impressive gateway into a different world – you’d never guess you’re in the heart of the new city of Fez. The magnificent gardens are the perfect spot for a refreshing glass of Moroccan gris (light, pale rosé wine) around the enormous pool. Inside, the generously proportioned modern hotel has touches of Moroccan decor and artwork. The intriguing Fez medina is just a few minutes away by taxi when you need to do some sightseeing and shopping.
Blown away by the sights, sounds and smells of the 1,200-year old Fez medina? After a busy day exploring the fascinating architecture of old palaces or shopping in the souks, you’ll need the tranquil respite of the Palais with its three restaurants, nightclub and bar and welcoming spa. Just outside the medina, this luxurious hotel has appealing views of the city and surrounding hills.
Traditional meets modern at this stylish boutique hotel perched on a hilltop above the old medina. Hotel Sahrai boasts the only Givenchy spa in Morocco. Enjoy a lazy Sunday brunch under the arcades by the infinity pool, or a cocktail upstairs in the Jungle Bar that opens on to a wide terrace with magnificent views. Rooms manage to be simultaneously understated and sumptuous, with marble bathrooms and lots of light.
Follow the lush country road into the mountains beyond Fez and a surprise is in store: suddenly the broad white curve of the newly revamped Vichy Spa lies before you. Steaming hot, mineral-rich water gushes from the hills to feed pools, showers, massage jets and hydrotherapy rooms for health and beauty treatments. An elegant, modern hotel with restaurant, bar and children’s club completes the picture.
If you’re looking for true Moroccan style, the classic decor of this opulent riad wins hands down. Located in the quiet medina quartier of Ziat, just ten minutes’ walk from Bab Boujloud – or the Blue Gate – this grand house has marble and mosaic floors, carved cedar wood doors, sculpted plaster, painted ceilings and rich brocade furnishings. Breakfasts are generous and there are traditional hammam treatments if you need pepping up after a full day’s sightseeing.
In an excellent location that’s just a hop and a skip to the main streets of the medina, Riad Tizwa embraces traditional Fez decor of intricate zellij mosaics and carved plaster, along with bright pops of colour in crimson carpets and vibrant bed throws. Rooms are extra comfortable and breakfasts are legendary. There’s a sunny roof terrace for summer and a cosy fireplace in the Moroccan salon for winter visits.
Just off the main shopping street with its carpets, ceramics and silver teapots – and close, also, to good restaurants, this lovely riad couldn’t be better located, bang in the middle of the medina. Yet once you set foot inside, all is peaceful, cocooned from the bustle beyond. Rooms are decorated with local textiles and pottery, while romantic drapes shade the roof terrace with its dramatic views over the medina to the hills beyond.
Located a short walk from the major sights of the medina, this elegant riad is a perfect blend of traditional Moroccan artisanship and stylish, contemporary furnishings. Stately columns clad in blue and white zellij mosaics, marble floors, cedarwood and carved plaster grace the central courtyard with its enticing pool. Rooms are luxuriously appointed with a stylish modern touch, and staff are extra welcoming.
This colourful, plant-filled riad is just the place to unwind after a hard day in the souk. A handful of comfortable rooms, set around a central courtyard with tall columns and a pretty fountain, are topped off with a lovely roof terrace for sunbathing. The location is good, too, a few minutes’ walk from the centre of the medina and close to the impressive Glaoui Palace.
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