Guide To Fès, Morocco
I recently returned from an incredible few days in Morocco, and I am so excited to share my guide to Fès with you.
This breathtaking city is, as Condé Nast Traveller shares, “one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world”.
With every step you truly feel like you are re-living some kind of magic from eras gone by.
I’ve been wanting to visit Morocco for years, and my first trip outlived my (already high) expectations.
Here’s what I got up to over three days in Fès . . .
Where To Stay In Fès
The hotels are sister properties, and whilst they share the same overarching ethos of understated luxury and a focus on wellbeing, they offer very different experiences.
Spending time at both hotels felt like the perfect balance between rich Moroccan culture, and blissed-out pool-side relaxation.
Here’s a little more about our hotels . . .
Riad Fès is breathtaking.
If you want to immerse yourself in the rich culture of the city, and experience the region’s phenomenal craftsmanship first hand, I can’t imagine a more authentic or beautiful place to start your trip.
After a short taxi from Fès airport, we were met by Riad Fès’ team who helped us to navigate the pedestrianised streets of the Medina towards the hotel.
Soon enough we turned a corner, and were directed towards a lantern-lit entranceway to the hotel.
The aromatic scents of the lanterns and soft glow of the candles set the tone for an enchanting start to our stay at Riad Fès.
Despite being tired from our evening journey, we were completely entranced by the architecture of the Riad.
It is truly spectacular.
To think that almost EVERY element of the decor was created by hand!
To kick start our first full day in Fès we enjoyed a huge breakfast in the hotel’s pretty courtyard.
For a details-obsessive (like me), the courtyard . . . the whole hotel . . . was just heaven!
Not to mention that the coffee was GREAT. As was the orange juice, food . . . I can’t say enough good things about this beautiful hotel.
^ My room & bathroom at Riad Fès ^
EXPLORING FÈS MEDINA
Our main activity, outside of the hotels, during this trip was taking a tour of Fès Medina.
If you’re planning on visiting Morocco, no doubt a trip to the Medinas will be on your radar! All of those textiles, artisan crafts, tiles . . . it’s a must!
Our hotel had organised a tour guide to take us through the Medina, which was SO helpful. The Medina is a maze, and it would be so easy to get lost if you don’t know your way around.
Plus, although our group was very restrained and didn’t actually purchase anything, having a local tour guide with us helped us to navigate any potential negotiations with vendors.
Aside from the artisan crafts and stores and stalls all the way through the Medina, we also saw some beautifully-ornate buildings.
There are many places of worship throughout the Medina, as well as The University of al-Qarawiyyin which is reputably the oldest university in the world.
If you research any kind of guide to Fès the University is highlighted as a must-see.
It was hard to fathom the work that went into every centimetre of these buildings. Truly awe-inspiring.
If you are thinking of buying a traditional Moroccan rug during your trip, then make a B-line for Palais D’Arts Fes. The store is famous for its collection of modern and antique carpets, which you’ll be able to purchase for a fraction of the price you’d buy them for in the UK.
We even saw one of the expert weavers at work, creating every single knot in the carpet by hand. Amazing!
The Chouara Tannery in Fès is one of the most famous sights in the city. Open for over one thousand years, the method for preparing and dyeing the leathers remains exactly the same as it did when it first opened!
It can take one month to prepare a piece of leather from start to finish, and each worker is paid per piece of leather. To see them working on so many pieces by hand, often half-submerged in the dyes, was incredible.
Seeing the process first-hand gave me a whole new appreciation for the leather goods in the Medina!
Our second port of call in Fès was the spectacular Hotel Sahrai, set into the hills a short car ride outside of the city centre.
The vibe of Hotel Sahrai is relaxed, calm and elegant – a true oasis.
We spent two days at Hotel Sahrai and it was total, utter bliss.
The decor at Hotel Sahrai is more contemporary than its sister hotel, Riad Fès.
I loved my elegant room with its accents of Arabic decor, and chic glass bathroom. It felt very very cool.
HOTEL SAHRAI – POOL AREA & SPA
One of the biggest draws of Hotel Sahrai is its pool area. The infinity pool disappears into the horizon. My favourite activity of the trip was laying-out beside the pool, chatting with Ella and our lovely group, and totaaaally relaxing.
Sometimes work trips can be go go go, but I was so grateful to our hosts for factoring in plenty of down time into our schedule.
Including a trip to the Givenchy Spa!
I enjoyed a relaxing 45 minute massage, which helped to ease my muscles after travelling.
Random thing to mention, but at the end of the massage my therapist put some Givenchy lip balm on me and it was AMAZING! I know a lip balm doesn’t sound like something to get excited about, but every one that got a treatment mentioned it, so there you go! What would a guide to Fès be without a mention of amazing lip balm?! Haha!
^ My favourite Elizabeth Scarlett pouch + iced coffee besides the pool ^
B L I S S
^ Evening attire! ^
Dress: Next (Past Season) | Clutch: Next c/o
Earrings: H&M (Past Season) | Sandals: Pretty Ballerinas (Past Season)
EVENINGS AT HOTEL SAHRAI
We visited Fès during Ramadan, which was a really special time to be in the city.
To celebrate the fasting period, Hotel Sahrai put on a special dinner every evening. At sunset, when the people observing Ramadan were able to eat and drink, a canon went off in the centre of Fès signalling the time to start eating.
As such there was a huge buffet of delicious salads, meats, BBQ’d food, vegetables . . . not to mention the desserts!
I want to eat like that every night!
The food was beautifully seasoned, and we all enjoyed tucking into a mix of Moroccan and Mediterranean-style cuisine.
Dress: Anthropologie (Past Season) | Jacket: Jigsaw ‘Potofino’ Style c/o
Bag: Monsoon (Borrowed from Ella – thanks babe!) | Heels: Pretty Ballerinas (Past Season)
WELLBEING AT HOTEL SAHRAI
One of the main reasons for our visit to Fès was to experience the wellbeing offerings at Hotel Sahrai.
During our stay we took part in the hotel’s wellbeing package, which included daily yoga with an incredible teacher, Idi.
I havn’t practicesed yoga in years, but Idi made the whole process feel achievable and fun!
Althought a 7am lesson felt like it was going to be a real challenge, it felt AMAZING to start our days by moving our bodies and connecting to ourselves on a deeper level.
Idi even encouraged us to do some partner work! Ahhh not what I was expecting but it was so rewarding!
^ My partner work with Idi! This felt SO good! ^
Follow Idi’s yoga journey on Instagram – @Yogidille.
^ Even the airport is pretty! ^
I had an inkling that I’d fall in love with Morocco, since so many of my friends who’d visited previously had said it would be a place I’d adore.
And, as friends often are, they were SO right!
Furthermore I was amazed at how easy it was to get to Fès! A short three hour plane ride from London! We flew with Air Arabia and had a great experience both ways. In May it can be hard to guarantee sunshine in Europe, but Fès was consistently hot and I can’t recommend taking a trip there enough!
I absolutley LOVED our whole three days in Fès, and I would wholeheartedly recommend taking a trip if you like the look/sound of it too. I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to Fès and virtually coming along for our trip!
What’s Your Take?
Have you visited Fès before? Or elsewhere in Morocco?
If not, would you love to now?!
And is there anywhere else you’d recommend visiting in this beautiful country?
I’d love to hear from you!
Love, Monica x
~ I was a guest of Riad Fès and Hotel Sahrai, as part of a press trip. This blog post is a reflection of my genuine experience with both hotels, and the incredible city of Fès ~