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Fez is Morocco's old and ancient capital, in many ways a rival to the power and popularity of Marrakech. Its old medina is just as cacophonous an assault on the senses, with its 90,000 winding streets and alleyways and in some places medieval lifestyles. And if anything Fez is more fiercely Moroccan. This city too has an ever growing list of chic riads, and it's amongst these where you'll find many of the best places to stay in Fez.
If you're here for the souqs and market the best places to stay in Fez are those within the ancient walls of Fès el-Bali - which is also the world's largest urban car-free zone. Within the medina you'll still find everything being transported by donkeys and handcarts.
Don't be put off by the colour, noise, orchestra of smells and spitting camels in the medina. And also don't let anyone convince you you'll be lost within it. There are plenty of gates and once you're outside you'll easily be able to get back to wherever you need to be. Just jump in and get involved! Pick through the nicknacks and you will find hidden treasures in Fez, just remember that haggling is a way of life with these entrepreneurially spirited vendors.
You can also easily eat your fill from a wonderfully enticing spread of street food. Or get a shave - apparently this is one of the the great experiences of Fez.
The tanneries and dying pits of Fez are also a fascinating place to visit, they're right in the midst of the medina, but in this case it is best to find a 'guide' to show you around - there are any number of young boys who will offer to show you.
Head to the quiet, shaded madrases if you need respite.
Fez also has some of he world's most treasured Arabic architecture - this city is home to the world's oldest university, so learning and historically intricate architecture are intertwined here. The best examples non-Muslims will have access to is Bou Inania madrasa, built in the 14th century and still a religious college today. But even seeing the outside of the great buildings go Fez is an experience.
It's worth plodding up the hills around the old city for the view, or paying for the privilege of a view of the medina at the Sofitel Palais Jamai.
Just remember that this is a destination which is growning in popularity, so if you want to book one of the best places to stay in Fez during the busy holiday periods, you'll need to get organised and plan well ahead. Otherwise book your trip off season, you'll find the medina much more manageable!
- Riad Fes is a large and luxurious riad where modern decor has been blended seamlessly with the traditional to create a romantic atmosphere. There's a lovely terrace with incredible views of Fez and the Atlas mountains in the background, outstanding Moroccan cuisine and a lovely pool and spa.
Best Hotels in Fez
Riad Tizwa 9 rooms from $61Fez (Batha)
This old family house provides value for money considering the generously proportioned and elegantly decorated rooms, complete with four poster beds. Located in Fez medina there is an inviting roof terrace from which to enjoy panoramic views. Breakfast is served with lunch and dinner on request.Great walks - Through the winding medina streets to the Bab Bou Jeloud or the Place As SeffarineSights nearby - Visit the equally beautiful as it is interesting Museum of Arts and CraftsLocal markets - Explore the famous souks of FezDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - I Escape
Riad al Bartal 3 rooms from $86Fez (Quartier ziat)
One of the most architecturally impressive this French run riad enjoys an excellent location in Fez medina. A marble floored entrance leads to intricately tiled rooms, decorated in rich fabrics and dark cedar wood furnishings. A healthy Moroccan breakfast is served as well as dinner by arrangement.Sights nearby - Visit the Jardin Jnan Sbil, Attarin Medersa or the Kairaouine Mosque to name but a fewLocal markets - Search for a bargain in the city's famous souksGreat walks - Take a guided tour of Fez's medieval medinaSpa - Traditional hammamRecommended by - I Escape
Ryad Mabrouka 8 rooms from $86Fez
Walking distance to the main attractions of Fez, whilst the sunny roof terrace and pool make this a perfect place to de-stress. A traditional riad, Mabrouka is decorated with antique furniture, ornate tiles and the blue and white palettes ubiquitous throughout Morocco. Breakfast and dinner served.Sights nearby - Walking distance from Dar Batha Museum and the Karaouine MosqueViews - Great views from hotelFull of characterFour poster beds - For romantics.
Dar Roumana 5 rooms from $89Fez (Zkak Roumane)
Located in a quiet spot this dazzling riad exudes traditional charm. With all the necessary modern amenities, there are no TVs but the sunny roof terrace is a perfect spot to read a book. Rooms are decorated with antique Moroccan pieces and guests can enjoy a bespoke menu. Great base to explore Fès!Local markets - You will find everything from spices to rugs to lanterns to shoes in the many souksGreat walks - Explore the miriad of winding streets and alleyways of Fez's medinaSights nearby - Visit the beautiful mosaics in the ruined Roman city of VolubilisViews - Rood terrace overlooking FezRecommended by - I Escape
Riad Numero 9 3 rooms from $104Fez (Zkak el Ma)
There is nothing old fashioned about this 18th century property. Each room is decorated with the same care as if the owners themselves were staying in them. Beamed ceilings, bright, soft fabrics, large rugs and features like a huge Venetian mirror. A designer's dream. Resto 7 is hugely popular!Local markets - Hit the local souks for leather goods, Moroccan wear and textilesSights nearby - The Merenid Tombs and Bou Jeloud gardens are closebyGreat walks - Through the winding lanes of Fez's medinaDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - I Escape
Riad Idrissy from $115Fez
Brought to you by former Maitre D' at The Ivy and co-worker, this charismatic duo are a hospitality force to be reckoned with. After a painstaking six year refurbishment this five bed riad is a seemingly effortless chic retreat. The main attraction is the Ruined Garden, chef Robert's labour of love.Sights nearby - The Karaouine mosque Medersa Bouanania are moments awayCooking classes - Learn the art of Fassi cookery at La Maison BleueGreat walks - Through the tranquil Jardin Jnan SbilFull of character
Riad Laaroussa 4 rooms from $115Fez (Fez medina)
A riad for indulgence: when not learning the art of Fassi cookery, you can relax in the popular Laaroussa hammam. Rooms are traditionally decorated with terracotta floors, wrought iron furniture and white washed walls. Take in the stunning vista on the hotel roof terrace. Ideal for foodies!Great walks - One of the riad's trusted guides can take you through Fez's warren like medinaCooking classes - A cooking lesson with the riad's chef is not only possible but encouraged!Sights nearby - The Kairouine Mosque, Merenid Tombs and Meknes and Volubilis are closebyLocal markets - Explore the souks for some bargainsRecommended by - I Escape
Riad Fes 26 rooms from $147Fez
A luxury riad to suit many tastes. Large interiors blend traditional decoration with contemporary flair. Romantic rooms and suites, fantastic Moroccan cuisine, views from the breakfast terrace, pool and spa. Stylish, gourmet, and romantic.LuxuryCity StyleSights nearby - The Medina has plenty to explore.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Relais & Chateaux, I Escape
Riad Norma 7 rooms from $125Fez (Ziat Fez)
A blend of French and Moroccan design and cuisine, Norma is the perfect blend of East meet West. After its two year renovation, the French owner has maintained the intricate stucco carving and detailed tiled floors with heavy cedar wood furnishings. Its plunge pool makes Norma an great summer stay!Local markets - Ask one of the hotel guides to take you round Fez's famous souksGreat walks - Around the medina’s mediaeval tanneries and winding streetsSights nearby - The Madersa, Merenid tombs and mosque are closebyRestrictions on children - Over 12's welcome.Recommended by - I Escape
Palais Amani 14 rooms from $142Fez (Oued Zhoune)
Located in Fez medina this former 17th century palace is no less grand today than it was all those years ago. The 14 rooms vary from comfortable luxury to the opulent Grand Suite in all its monochrome tiled, stained glass grandeur. There is a hammam and a restaurant popular amongst the literati.Local markets - Get one of the hotel guides to accompany you on a shopping trip to Fez's famous souksSights nearby - The Kairouine mosque and Merenid Tombs are closebyGreat walks - Through the Bou Jeloud gardensDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Riad Alkantara 5 rooms from $157Fez (Douh Fes Médina .)
You'll struggle to find a property quite so luxurious, with as lush gardens and pool in this bustling city. Rooms are exquisitely decorated in a traditional style with antique pieces and four poster beds. There is a cultural programme that exceeds mere tourism for an authentic Moroccan experience.Great walks - A trusted hotel guide can be arranged to navigate your way through the winding medina streetsSights nearby - Go to the Fes El-Jdid. Both the cemetery and the Habarim Synagogue are worth a visit.Local markets - Explore the local souks and practice your haggling skillsCooking classes - Check for timings.Recommended by - I Escape