Lantern lit gardens and intricate birght mosaics fill the space, as a stunning rooftop terraces gives 360 views of Fez, at the comfortable Palais Amani
It’s simple, you got to Fez, to see the heart and soul of Morocco. It’s a bit less “untouched” than Marrakesh yet every bit as colorful and interesting. As you enter the UNESCO site of Fes el Bali (commonly known as the Fez Medina) it’s like stepping back in time, in a completely authentic way. Established around 800 AD much has changed, however the roads, the people, just the everyday process feels historic.
Men and women scurry through the streets in long robes (known as Djellaba) some bright and ornate, others simple and neutral. Shopkeepers tend to their products, negotiations are made, kids chase cats through the streets and the most stunning buildings are around every corner. To really get a sense of this unusual and friendly place, staying inside the medina is a must. We found this great riad, Palais Amani, that gave us the perfect sense of Moroccan hospitality, inside this amazing walled city!
Arriving at Palais Amani
With over 9000 small streets and alleyways, very little signage and plenty of twists and turns, navigating the medina can be a bit tough. Add a few suitcases to the package and you have a pretty funny sight of tourists getting lost as they shuffle their luggage over the cobblestone streets. So to get things off on the right start, take a taxi to right outside the medina, and make arrangements with the hotel to have a porter meet you... I promise this will start your trip off happy and calm! You can also arrange to have a driver from the hotel pick you up, but either way, trust the professionals in this case and don’t try to find the hotel yourself!
Down a small narrow street, behind massive heavy doors, is a bright open courtyard with a small orange orchard in the center. The smell of fresh oranges is the first thing that hits you as soon as you walk through the door, as the chaotic sounds of the medina fade away. That scent of citrus and freshness permeates the air and tiled mosaics surround you in this bright open space. Everything seems Friendly This lovely 15 room riad was once sadly neglected and has since been transformed into an elegant boutique hotel
My favorite part of Palais Amani is the incredible rooftop terrace they have. As soon as you get to the top, the entire city and medina is in your view. You can catch some sun on the lounge chairs, or order some cocktails and tapas. Every night we escaped to the roof, ordered some wine as we watched the sunset!
Our Room & Accomodations
Our room was a long narrow space, simply yet beautifully decorated. In the middle of the room we had a small living room area and then on one side was our bedroom and a large bathroom on the other side. Colorful tiles lined the space, but the true beauty was in the original stained glass windows lining one side of the room. Reminding me of something you would find in a church, the windows cast beautiful shadows and reflected blue light at various times of the day.
The space isn’t really designed to stay and lounge, but with so many common areas at Palais Amani, we were able to find plenty of space to stretch out. During our stay, we were in an “Exceptional Suite” which had plenty of room for a rollaway bed or a third person - perfect for a family! Although most of the rooms and suites have different layouts and sizes, you can still expect the same Moroccan decor and friendly hospitality!
Dining at Palais Amani
Breakfast is enjoyed on the terrace, and the feast can easily see you through until late afternoon. You are served a delicious mix of Moroccan pastries and bread with plenty of cheese, yogurt and jams. Strong coffee or tea is served and eggs made to order.
For lunch or dinner you can head to the restaurant, where you can experience traditional local flavors, like slow cooked tagine and cous cous with plenty of modern influence. There aren't many restaurants around the area, so be prepared to do most of your eating at the hotel and given the scenery of Palais Amani it’s not a problem. However if you are looking for something a bit different, make sure to check out Numero 7 - a restaurant that plays host to a rotating selection of gourmet chefs from around the world!
For more information about Palais Amani, make sure to visit their website: