Updated August 22, 2020.
Y’all, there are a LOT of riads in every major city in Morocco, and it seemed almost impossible to choose one in Fes. Location is important to us, as are air conditioning, private ensuite bathroom, positive reviews, etc. It was overwhelming to sift through all the possibilities! And then we saw it: “the most luxurious riad in Fes.” That’s the phrase Riad Mazar Fes used in its description. That narrowed down the possibilities significantly! Here is our experience at this beautiful, luxurious riad.
Our welcome to this riad started before we even left the United States. We requested an airport pick up via the riad’s website, and we quickly received a response and confirmation from Siham, the manager. Even better, the 1/2 hour airport transfer was only €15! Siham also answered several questions for me and suggested wonderful things to do during our stay. She always responded in a timely manner, and she always reiterated that I can email about anything we might need for our stay.
But the real welcome, of course, began when we landed in Fes. Our flight was supposed to land at 11:20pm, but we were significantly delayed at our connection in Casablanca and instead landed in Fes after midnight. Siham had assured me that our driver would wait for us and not to worry. And surely enough, he did! Because Steve and I travel carry-on only, we were the first out of passport control and he was the first of several pre-arranged drivers to leave. He was visibly excited about that, and his fellow drivers were happy for him. It’s wonderful to see such positivity after a very long and frustrating travel day.
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When we finally arrived at Riad Mazar Fes, we were greeted by a very kind man who quickly put us in the elevator, toted our luggage up three floors by himself, and showed us to our beautiful room. We officially checked in the next morning with Siham after breakfast, and she even got us on a last-minute tour of the medina with an excellent tour guide!
So, what is a riad (“ree-odd”)? It’s a Moroccan guesthouse that is very similar to a bed and breakfast and has specific architectural features. Riads have at least two floors with the rooms and hallways situated in a square around a central courtyard, usually with a fountain in the middle. Riads also always include a rooftop terrace and a garden! A similar accommodation is a “dar,” which has all the same features with the exception of a garden.
Downstairs on either side of the courtyard were two beautiful sitting rooms, complete with artwork, comfortable couches, books, and most importantly, solitude in the middle of one of Morocco’s largest cities. We were able to feel truly relaxed during our stay
Riad Mazar Fes is one of the most beautiful accommodations I have ever had the privilege of staying in, and certainly our nicest riad on our trip! It was the only one with an elevator, and it has been lovingly and beautifully restored by the owner since she bought the building. It has been open as a riad for just five years, and it’s merely steps from the medina (or old town) of Fes, restaurants, and within walking distance of other notable sites. We loved the location just outside the medina because our driver was able to drop us off at the door; if we had stayed inside the medina, we would have had to try to navigate the tricky, winding, complicated pathways on foot!
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Our room was on the second floor (or the third floor by American scale) and boasted colorful stained glass, gorgeous tile work, a large, beautiful bed, ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, Moroccan carpets, and gorgeous wooden furniture. We were very comfortable throughout our stay!
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Our bathroom at this riad was one of the best during our stay. Between the stunning tile work, pedestal sink with counterspace, potpourri, rainfall shower, and blessed Western-style toilet, we truly wanted for nothing!
Breakfast was served each morning in the courtyard on beautifully decorated linen table cloths with matching linen napkins. It also included so much food we couldn’t even finish it between the two of us!
Their typical Moroccan breakfast includes three to four types of Moroccan bread, eggs, cheese, olives, honey, butter, pound cake, coffee, tea, and orange juice!
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The service we received at Riad Mazar Fes was unsurpassed. We actually had a terrible experience at the famed La Mamounia in Marrakech early in our trip, so the kindness and attentiveness of the wonderful people working here stood out that much more. Our room was clean, we felt we had privacy, it was quiet, and to be honest I kept wishing we had more time just to spend inside!
To be honest, I actually got sick for the first time in 10 years while enroute to Fes, which would certainly could have tainted our experience in a very negative way. But the kindness and welcoming service we received greatly exceeded our expectations! We would definitely stay here again if we found ourselves on a future trip to Fes, and we recommend that you do, too!
Have you experienced a Moroccan riad, or would you like to? Tell me below!
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