Fez is Morocco’s second biggest city and its UNESCO World Heritage medina is truly extraordinary. UNESCO highlights the Medina of Fez: “Founded in the 9th century and home to the oldest university in the world, Fez reached its height in the 13th–14th centuries under the Marinids, when it replaced Marrakesh as the capital of the kingdom. The urban fabric and the principal monuments in the medina – madrasas, fondouks, palaces, residences, mosques and fountains - date from this period. Although the political capital of Morocco was transferred to Rabat in 1912, Fez has retained its status as the country's cultural and spiritual centre.[i]”
The leading independent hotel in Fez, Palais Amani, located in the medina is home to 18 suites and bedrooms. This art deco building was partly rebuilt in the 1930s and today offers a restaurant, roof top bar and cookery school and hammam, all open to non-residents also. Palais Amani showcases the finest authentic and traditional Moroccan decoration. A large garden of 600m2 is at the centre of the palace filled with orange trees where birds, permanent residents here, provide the birdsong in this tranquil haven.
Below are three suggested experiences staying at Palais Amani that showcase Fez at its best:
The Fez Cooking School offers visitors to Fez a unique insight into this magical city combining a foodie tour of the medina followed by a cookery class, all in a new purpose-built cookery school on Palais Amani's roof terrace. Private and group workshops are available and offer a wonderful hands-on experience including time in the medina and then cooking. The guest selects their desired recipes, or the Fez Cooking School suggest a selection of Fassi, Moroccan or Sephardic dishes. The experience includes a tour of the food souks, tasting food along a two-hour tour of the medina, a cooking class with the newly gathered ingredients and lunch. Priced €97 per person, four hours.
Leaving the medina behind and heading towards the countryside, an altogether different Fez is visible. A 30-minute drive with a chauffeur / guide gets guests to the Zalagh hillside. Over the next 3.5 hours guests will experience Berber life where many here are completely self-sufficient using the land. A leisurely hike allows guests to stop and embrace the stunning views of the entire ancient city of Fez in the distance and the surrounding landscapes including the Sebou Valley, Rif Mountains and Sais Plains. Half-way through the hike and under some pine trees a Moroccan picnic is served. Priced €195.00 per person includes transport, guide and picnic and chilled water.
10,000 streets and alleys all full of history, places to explore, dine and snack at. But where to begin I Africa’s largest medina? One of the best ways to get a feel for this UNESCO Medina is to visit with a local guide. Only approved guides can show visitors around, largely since the medina is so big. A local guide will guide visitors on a half day or full day tour of this magical medina and introduce guests to hidden gems. Guests will visit places only a local knows about and encounter residents (around 180,000 live inside the medina). Priced €50 for 5 hours based on two guests.
www.palaisamani.com 12 Derb el Miter, Oued Zhoune, Fes Medina, 30000, Morocco
B&B is priced from €160.00 per room per night
Air Arabia Maroc LGW - FEZ Wednesday and Saturday / Ryanair STN - FEZ Wednesday and Sunday
TAP Air Portugal Daily via Lisbon from LHR, LGW and LCY
[i] UNESCO – The World Heritage List unesco.org