Hotel Review: Riad Fès – Relais & Châteaux, Fes in Morocco
When looking for a riad to round off our week-long trip to Morocco, Riad Fès – Relais & Châteaux came highly recommended. Nestled within the medina’s walls, it is a luxurious oasis that calms both the mind and the body from the moment you step foot inside its premises.
We are greeted by Harry Leitner, the general manager. Leitner tells us how Riad Fès is actually made up of five different buildings which were brought together and redone to create the different structural elements of the impeccable establishment.
Whilst the main building was founded in 1900, the Prince’s quarters and the hotel restaurant are housed in buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. The contemporary art and design of the hotel reflect the coming together of the ancestral and modern influences that are seen throughout the city.
We receive our welcome drink in one of the riad’s four patios. A grand piano sits in one corner whilst a Fassi lamp shines from above. Leitner tells us that the Islamic carvings and mosaic art surrounding us were all done, impressively, by hand.
We’re given a short tour of the rest of the hotel where we see a Baroque patio and the Andalusian patio that resembles the Alhambra in Southern Spain, which is right next to our quarters. We walk past a stunning pool that is flanked by fountains and torches and are in awe at the intricate carvings on the arches that surround us.
The Relais & Châteaux hotel offers a variety of luxury rooms and suites. We stayed in one of the deluxe rooms which had a view of the Andalusian pavilion. The dark colour scheme was contrasted by pops of warm tones in red and gold with Oriental accents. Incredibly soft pillows topped the double bed, which was wider and more spacious than we expected. The bathroom had both a tub and a shower and featured black tadelakt finishings.
During our stay, we spent plenty of time lounging by the garden and pool. Located in the Contemporary Pavilion, the 14-metre-long turquoise pool was the perfect solution for escaping the Moroccan heat. Sun hats are provided on the loungers that surround the pool, and I thoroughly enjoyed sipping a citronnade whilst lying beneath the shade of the different fruit trees scattered around the pavilion.
A wine bar sits next to the pool, offering a variety of Moroccan wines amidst grey tadelakt walls. Right next door is the spa and wellness centre. Hidden by a row of curtains, the Cinq Mondes & marocMaroc spa was designed by French architect Christophe Pillet.
Inviting guests to experience the tranquil and relaxing treatments, the spa offers traditional hammam rituals, massages, sessions in the Physiotherm Infrared Cabin, and even wellbeing days.
At the end of a long day exploring the souks, it became our ritual to make our way up to the hotel’s exquisite rooftop terrace. With a panoramic view of the medina and the Atlas Mountains, the rooftop provided the perfect ambience to watch the sun go down over the city whilst sipping a glass of wine.
The rooftop was also where we got a chance to talk to some of the staff at Riad Fès. The service we experienced throughout our stay was really one-of-a-kind. The hotel has mastered the art of delivering service that is professional without being detached, friendly without being intrusive. We felt like we got to know many of the employees during our short stay and felt at ease when we were greeted by familiar faces as we walked around the hotel.
One of the highlights of our stay at Riad Fès was the gastronomy. We agreed that some of our best meals in Morocco came out of the hotel’s kitchens. Diners can choose to have their meals in the l’Alcazar bar and lounge in the Andalusian pavilion, l’Oriental and Le Salon Oriental for a traditional Moroccan setting, or the l’Ambre fine dining restaurant.
Considered to be one of the best dining locations in Fes, l’Ambre is a 70-seat restaurant that uses fresh ingredients to create a menu of Moroccan and international masterpieces. A lute player serenades us as we enjoy our meal of Moroccan salads, fish of the day with Chermoula, the chef’s signature roasted lamb with onion jam, and an apple crumble with vanilla ice cream.
Riad Fès – Relais & Châteaux is truly a luxury gem in the bustling city of Fes. A riad that expertly combines old world glamour with modern elegance, it is a haven for any traveller on a quest for an exclusive refuge right in the heart of the medina.
Address: 5 Derb Zerbtana, Fès 30110, Morocco
Phone: +212 535741206