Stepping into the Palais Amani hotel from the medina was surreal. I felt like I was Alice stepping through the looking glass. We went from the chaotic, cramped, crazy mazy medina of Fes Morocco into an oasis of calm beauty that is the Palais Amani, and we knew immediately that we had found the perfect spot for our Moroccan girls’ getaway.
The Palais Amani riad is truly one of the most beautiful hotels I have been to, with every single design feature carefully thought through and flawlessly presented. The owners, Abdel and Jemima Baha have lovingly preserved the riad’s Art Deco bones and improved upon it, adding modern features such as an elevator, sumptuous bathrooms and touches of Morocco throughout, you might even spot a hookah or two tucked away in secluded corners.
Luxury Boutique Hotel in Fes
The fourteen-room boutique hotel radiates with luxurious fittings and décor in all of its three floors. There are five double rooms and nine suites, all with opulent bathrooms. Two of the suites are interconnected making them perfect for any girlfriend getaway.
The main floor is made up of a quiet inner garden courtyard with the guest lounge near the hotel entrance and restaurant at the opposite end of the garden. The second floor is primarily comprised of hotel rooms and the third floor houses the rooftop patio complete with loungers and a cocktail bar. The only drawback we experienced during our stay was the lack of reliable wifi, with the guest lounge being the only place to access a decent connection.
Culinary Artistry Practised Daily at the Palais Amani
A delightful discovery was the restaurant in Palais Amani. We fell in love with the food, the servers and Chef Laaissairi. Breakfast is included with the hotel room rate, and it is generous. With an assortment of scrumptious Moroccan pastries, savories, pancakes and your choice of egg, you’ll be more than ready to begin your day exploring Fes.
For our first dinner at the Palais Amani, we ordered directly from the menu (a la carte) but we soon abandoned this practice for the remainder of our dinners at the riad and instead went with the Chef’s daily special, a three course set menu d’hotes. To say we enjoyed the Chef’s creative way with food would be an understatement, each of our four dinners at the hotel was a delicious adventure.
Top travel tips to help you plan your next visit to Palais Amani and Fes Morocco
1. Have the hotel arrange for a driver to pick you up at the airport. Located near the golden triangle of Fes, the riad is about a half hour drive from the airport.
Once you arrive at the medina gate, the driver will call for someone from the hotel to help with luggage and guide you through the streets to the hotel, which is a short two minute walk.
The short walk to the hotel is not at all strenuous or difficult but if it is your first time experiencing a medina in Morocco I suggest strongly that you don’t try this on your own as you might find yourself quickly lost. Upon arrival to the Palais Amani, guests are greeted with a traditional Moroccan welcome – mint tea and Moroccan pastries.
2. I would highly recommend you take out cash at the airport ATM machine, the only other ATM machine close to us in the media was out of cash when we tried it. We eventually were able to access an ATM in the city proper during one of our day tours.
3. Hire a guide through the hotel to take a tour of the medina, as it is extremely challenging to wander the medina on your own at first. The streets are twisty tiny and the sellers are aggressive.
Also, be very clear about what you want to do on the tour and what you want to avoid. For example, unless you specify otherwise, you will be taken to a rug store and if you want a beautiful Morrancan rug (think very expensive) that’s fine, if not you’ll be submitted to a long, high pressure presentation of many, many rugs.
4. Fes is famous for it’s beautiful blue pottery, making it hard to resist bringing some of these stunning ceramics home. The best place to purchase (but not the cheapest) is perhaps at Serghini Maître Potier, 32 Ain Nokbi, Route Sidi Hrazem. Visitors can both purchase items and watch them being made in the workshop. Handmade and fired on site, the ceramics are the perfect authentic souvenir to remember your trip to Morocco.
Serghini Maître Potier +212 5 3576 1629
5. Have lunch at the funky Café Clock, another calm oasis from the craziness of the medina where you can indulge in free wifi (woohoo!), and lighter fare such as hummus, falafel, milkshakes or even a camel burger, one hump or two☺!
6. The best times to plan your girlfriend getaway to Fes is in the spring and fall, as you’ll want to avoid the brutal heat that encompasses Fes during the summer.