Hotel Review: Hotel Sahrai, Fes in Morocco
Words by Maron Amitay Dimitra Brockalakis
I have never been manhandled by a 20 year old girl before; Not until I stayed at the Hotel Sahrai in Fez, anyway. Led down a flight of marble steps into a dimly lit room, we disrobed and were told to lay on a marble slab about three feet off of the floor. That’s when Fatima took over.
In Arabic, Saharai means “magic”, a perfect description of our enchanting stay at the Hotel Sahrai. Operational since 2014, Hotel Sahrai is a retreat on the outskirts of the big city of Fez. Designed by French architect, Christophe Pillet, the space encourages feelings of tranquility while promoting a deep connection to the natural environment. But don’t get me wrong, Hotel Sahrai is no hippie commune; its contemporary characteristics, straight, clean lines and breathtaking pool side views cannot be dismissed. This boutique hotel offers a distinct experience unlike others. Rates during high travel months start at $355.00 USD for the covenant Sahrai Suite. Floor to ceiling windows allow a rush of sunlight to flow through the 861 sq. ft. space. A walk in closet and private terrace are only a few of the luxuries found in the Sahrai Suite.
But back to Fatima. She was in her twenties, about one hundred pounds, soaking wet, but had the arm strength of a pro arm-wrestler. After laying on the cold marble, a warm pool of water washed over my body. With a calm, soothing rhythm, Fatima began to scrub me from head to toe. She didn’t say much during; I liked it better that way, it allowed me to fully give myself to this experience without inhibitions or expectations; just me, fatima and arguably the oldest bathing tradition in Moroccan history.
Whether it was in the dining room or by the pool, luxury and peace were at the forefront. Dining was an experience within itself. The hotel consists of two restaurants, Relais De Paris which centres on French inspired cuisine, and Amaraz, serving traditional and authentic Moroccan plates. We choose Amaraz because, frankly, it was our first night in Morocco and we were itching for authentic Moroccan food. We started off with “Assortiment d’entrées marocaines” or selection of cold and hot Morroccan starters. Choosing only six starters was not easy, but we settled with an assortment of middle eastern dips, moroccan pastries and cheese wraps. For my main I selected the local trout with seasonal vegetables. The trout was flaky and fresh with a zest of lemon; simple yet delicious.
Breakfast is complimentary, but not typical. Hotel Sahrai offers wholesome, clean mini portions of breakfast favorites. My go to was the yogurt in a small glass jar with honey. The yogurt’s consistency was a perfect thick and creamy texture, with the sweet honey glaze complementing its tartness. Paired with a hot coffee and buttered croissant, I was ready to start my day exploring Fez.
During our downtime, the pool was my go-to spot. Unusually quiet, I was mostly lounging alone which felt absolutely absurd to me as the set up was stunning. With Hotel Sahrai situated on a hilltop, above the city centre of Fez, the infinity pool overlooked the bustling city. Pool side views were breathtaking and servers regularly checked in, offering a change in ashtrays or coffee refills. If you visit Hotel Sahrai, do yourself a favor and visit the pool!
After a thirty minute scrub, Famita washed my hair applied moisturizer on my body. I left the treatment feeling like a new person; I was clean. I was soft. I was ready to take on the world. Hotel Sahrai is one of two hotels in the world that boasts a Givenchy Spa where trained therapists use the Givenchy line of products to provide a unique, and tranquil experience. Unfortunately this was the only spa treatment I had time for during our stay. If there was one regret I had, it was not enjoying the spa to its fullest. I felt like I had a bite, when I wanted the whole cake.
Address: Dhar El Mehraz, 30 000, Fes, Morocco
Phone: +212 5359-40332