With so many hotels to choose from, deciding where to stay in Fez can be daunting. I spent three nights in a traditional Moroccan riad – and loved its gorgeous decor and friendly service.
Last time I went adventuring in Morocco, I stayed in a pretty basic hostel in Taghazout. We’re talking wooden bunk beds, a seriously temperamental shower and a cool little rooftop area where I met lots of Aussies and Canadians. Standard budget accommodation, really.
For my second experience of Morocco, however, I had a very different stay – and one I’d thoroughly recommend if you’re looking for hotels in Fez to lay your head down in. Rather than a hostel or a chain hotel, I stayed in a riad – a traditional Moroccan house, with a central courtyard area. They’re a pretty common type of acommodation for travellers staying in Morocco, and the modest exterior often gives way to some incredible decor within.
At about 1am Thursday morning, I rolled into the foyer of the Palais D’Hotes Suites & Spa riad, praying for a speedy check-in and merciful sleep. And then…I ended up staying in the foyer for an extra half hour, just because it was that damn beautiful (and also because I had mint tea to drink…). Seriously. The intricately carved woodwork, plush fabrics and insanely detailed mosaic tiles were just a marvel – just as much so the next day as when I first arrived.
Finally done with my mint tea, I retired to my room to get some shut-eye. Making my way past the low-lit pool area and up two flights of stairs to the Yasmine Suite, I opened the double doors to one of the most bloody lovely rooms I’ve ever stayed in. For a start, it was probably bigger than my entire flat at home.
At the end of the room, I almost jumped for joy at the big, curved bath sitting in the atmospheric dark-tiled bathroom. During my stay, I had more baths than days in the hotel. And when I came in sweaty from a day’s exploring, there was a nice powerful shower to hose myself down with.
After spending yet more time admiring the space (aka flouncing about singing ‘THIS IS MIIINE’), my head hit the pillows of the supersized bed, and fell asleep pretty much instantly. Comfortable as hell, and wide enough for me to starfish ridiculously without my feet coming out of the sides. The only thing I’d have added if I was sharing was extra pillows – but as it was me, myself and I, I just popped the two in the middle and sunk into bliss.
Palais D’Hotes Suites & Spa is located at the edge of Fes El Bali, the oldest walled medina area in the city. A short walk from the souks and maze-like alleys, it’s a perfect springboard for some serious city exploring, while still being easily accessible by taxi.
The staff in the hotel were super welcoming and friendly, even those with limited English-speaking ability. The pool is available 24/7, and although it’s too small for any proper swimming, the cold temperature makes it great for a cooling dunk after wandering the streets in the Moroccan heat.
As the name suggests, there are spa facilities, which I took advantage of on my last day in Fez. I had my first experience of the traditional Moroccan hammam, which basically involved being butt naked with a lady throwing buckets of water over me, before a good ol’ scrub that made my skin soft as a baby. Afterwards, I indulged in a bit of a massage – although it was a bit soft for my tastes, it was so relaxing I had a snooze on a sofa and nearly missed my airport pickup.
With the included breakfast, you get a little form to fill out that lets you choose what you’d like. Choices include pastries and/or egg dishes, and you can order as much as you like. I didn’t sample any of the other food in the hotel, but they also offer a lunch and dinner menu, as well as a 24/7 drink and snack service.
One of the great things about hotels in Morocco is that they, like lots of other things in the country, tend to be cheaper than you’d pay for a similar standard elsewhere. Prices for a three-night long weekend break for two people over the summer season come in from under £200 for a basic double room, with the Yasmine suite available from around £340 (prices listed on booking.com as of Jul 2018, with a member discount – make sure you sign up to save!). If you’re feeling super fancy, there’s also the premier suite, coming in at around £700 for the three nights.
While there may be properties in Fez that offer a more high end experience, I was seriously impressed with the Palais D’Hotes Suites & Spa. If you’re looking for an affordable riad hotel stay in the Moroccan city, I’d recommend it!
Palais D’Hotes Suites & Spa
9 Derb Sornass, quartier Ziate, Fes Medina 30200
*I recieved a complimentary stay as part of a press trip with AirArabia