One of the medina’s best secret spots is the gorgeous Riad Fes, full of corner and nooks leading to beautiful Andalusian styled courtyards.
We arrived at Riad Fes just in time for lunch after leaving our comfy bedroom at Hotel Sahrai. It was a heartbreaking goodbye not gonna lie, but forgotten in a second as soon as we stepped foot in the gorgeousness that is Riad Fes. Morocco’s most beautiful heritage are inarguably its exquisitely intricate, discretely luxurious, beautiful Riads. A vestige from past centuries, with Andalusian’s architecture stamp all over them, these typical houses spread out all the mystic and charm they once held.
Lunch was served at the gourmet Moroccan restaurant « L’ambre Fés », with all the typical entrées you’d find at a traditional local table : zaâlouk (our very own version of eggplant caviar; grilled eggplants that are then mashed along with tomatoes and spices), bakoula (cooked mallow or spinach with olive oil, herbs, garlic, spices and lime juice, served with preserved lemon wedges), caramelized pumpkin purée with sesame seeds, steamed cauliflower salad, tender zucchinis cooked with onions and bay leaves, carrot salad, grilled peppers mix with olive oil and lime, cooked beetroots with garlic, and my favorite : fava beans salad (you can check out this recipe to get an idea on how they’re made). Followed with Pastillas and a tender fish dish, we entered the sweetest kind of food coma. We even had our dessert be delivered to our room later on because we really needed to nap our food off first 😀 And we didn’t want to miss out on desserts, sweet tooth oblige.
Moroccan riads have this indescribable quality where they’re built inward facing the courtyards and gardens. The modest door in the tiniest street can lead to a world of wonder and luxury. A contrast you can still experience in old Medinas where newly renovated riads live and breathe peacefully, far from the city’s agitation & in the slowest of paces, in true Moroccan fashion. Riad Fes is no exception to the rule, with the « Alcazar » lounge bar opening up on the Andalusian pond, an intimate and luxurious setting to a warm morning breakfast, or just light night drinks directly under the moonlight.
We had breakfast there, a decadent, rich and scrumptious buffet that can make a food lover go a little nuts. Too many tasty choices yet too little time to be able to devour it all. When I saw the waffle maker my eyes made two little hearts and I became a live walking emoji. My everything for a warm, golden and crisp hot waffle. Served with a side of Nutella, I wondered who tipped them off about my fondness for the Belgian delicacy. Cheesy tartines, veggie quiches, puffed rice cakes, chocolate pie, granola, cheese and salmon platter, fruit salad, brioches, croissants and all sorts of danishes, homemade vanilla and chocolate yogurts.. these are only the options that our little table could held. But the buffet was displaying even more goodies, from which of course, the delightful bid bel khlii (eggs with moroccan beef jerrky). Made on the spot for you and served in a little tajine, everything is made just so that you can feel comfortable and cared for.
If you’re not used to this kind of architecture, you can soon find yourself lost between the alleys and detours of the wonderful Riad (which I can admit happened to me more than once), but each time was a happy incident that led me to uncover even more beautiful details. The carved pillars and ornamenting zellige, little green touches, old wooden furniture, velvety fabrics and the majestic piano, all of that and more make up for the most grand and epic throwback in time.
The most beautiful secret of the Riad though is its gorgeous uncovered swimming pool. We didn’t know when we went looking for it that we had to expect such an otherworldly sight. On a bright and sunny December morning, we had the place entirely for ourselves. I’m sure if there were our respective companions with us they would’ve dived in head first. Us and our chilly bodies, such a shame. Designed to perfection (I’m not using the word lightly), the place combines luxury and charm, for the coziest relaxing time.
Before hitting the road back to Casablanca, we had lunch on the gorgeous rooftop that overlooks the entire old médina of Fes. Yas and I went for a plate of tapas and gnocchis with pesto sauce and pine nuts (that dish was literally a cheese lover’s dream come true), creamy and meltingly soft, it was a prelude to a mellow afternoon under the sun.
After saying goodbye to the amazingly warm and inviting staff that were all absolutely helpful and charming and made our stay ten times better, we went back our little way and made it home in time for Sunday night’s chill time. Riad Fes was almost a surreal experience, what with the gorgeous rooms and marbled bathrooms, discrete staff and little nooks, differently designed wings and gourmet food, the place is a perfect destination for a romantic week end to forget all about everyday’s stress. I definitely can’t wait to come back <3