Riad Fes Maya in Fez Morocco – An Old Palace Hotel
If you’re looking for a fantastic hotel to stay at during your travels to Fez, Morocco, look no further. Staying at the Riad Fes Maya is a no-brainer. It’s one of those hotels that you will remember forever and long to go back to again and again.
We flew Ryanair from Seville, Spain, to Fez. After going through customs and making our way to the entrance of the airport, a man from the hotel that was assigned to pick us up happily greeted us, holding a sign with our names on it. He took us to our hotel and was so sweet and friendly with Jimmy. We arrived about three hours later than planned because of a delayed flight, but we were well cared for none-the-less.
Walking into the hotel was a “Wow” moment. This hotel is gorgeous! The lobby is absolutely breathtaking. Every corner is more detailed and beautiful than the next. The lady that worked at the front desk, Ipsisam, and practically ran the place (let’s be honest) was incredible. She really made the hotel so special. Surprisingly, she only had started the job a couple of weeks ago! You’d never know. She greeted us when we arrived like we were family and knew her for years, calling us, “My Dear,” and constantly letting us know that we were welcome there. She kept referring to Jimmy as the “Little King,” and couldn’t get enough of touching his shiny blonde hair. She’s a real gem. We sat and drank fresh mint tea while nibbling on Moroccan cookies, as she talked to us about the hotel and our stay there. She told us the history of the hotel, that it used to be an old palace built for the ruler of Fez many years ago, going through several owners, becoming an art gallery, all before it became the beautiful hotel that it is today. How often do you get to sleep in an old Moroccan palace? Not often.
The hotel is small and quaint. There are only nine hotel rooms in the whole hotel. We stayed in the Ambassador Suite for three nights. What a gorgeous room! We were so impressed. When we walked in, Jimmy’s bed was all set up and ready to go, as we requested via email, and everything was perfect. They had a small bowl full of fresh fruit waiting for us as well as complimentary water bottles throughout the stay. The thing that stood out the most was the three giant windows along the wall that looked down into the lobby. What an amazing view! You can choose to have them open or you can shut them as you please for more privacy. Above each large window was a small stained glass window that was stunning. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good picture of them. It was so hard to get the motivation to get out of bed in the morning because the light coming in from the stained glass windows was so beautiful and filed the room with colors. I just wanted to lay in the bed and stare at it all day. The mornings were my favorite. So peaceful and so beautiful. Plus, the bed and pillows are top-notch on the comfort scale. We all slept so well during our whole stay.
Our particular room was two levels. The first level was the sleeping area and the second level was the bathroom and closet area. The stairs were nice but were a little tricky with a toddler since he constantly wanted to go up and down them all day. They weren’t exactly the safest stairs to climb, so we had to constantly monitor him. If you have small children, I would recommend staying in a room without stairs.
The bathroom was very nice and very blue. We had fresh red roses greeting us as well as a tagine full of rose petals. The sinks were a gorgeous blue and white mosaic design as well as the floor. The shower was hot with a good amount of pressure. I love how this picture shows the stained glass reflecting onto the wall. Only a palace hotel has stained glass windows in the bathroom.
Breakfast is complimentary at this riad. The best part about the breakfast is the location. It is served on the outside terrace overlooking the city of Fez. What a great view! Nothing really beats breakfast with a view. The breakfast was made by the owner’s mother, Fatima. It wasn't the best breakfast that we had during our stay in Morocco, but it was still very good. It included a large spread of different Moroccan pastries, varying a little bit each day. My favorite thing was the different varieties of rghita – a flaky layered flat bread that is super chewy and so delicious. The plain ones are served with honey and jam while others are baked with cheese and green chilies inside, making them good with fresh goat cheese spread on top. The baghrir, a Moroccan pancake, are also really delicious, and were Jimmy’s favorite thing during the trip. They are more of a British crumpet type of texture than a typical American pancake, with lots of little holes on the top. Don’t forget the warm mint tea and the freshly squeezed orange juice. Jimmy loved putting sugar cubes into our tea glasses and decided that was his job during the whole trip. He was the official sugar-putter-inner. “One Mama? Two Mama? Ok? More sugar Mama?” I drank way more sugar in my tea than I needed because Jimmy kept slipping extra ones in here and there, and he was too cute to be stopped. We also loved the fresh fruit platter each morning and the bowl of local black olives. Now that I am home, I long for this view and for breakfast being served to me as I please.
We enjoyed the terrace not only during breakfast time but also in the late evenings. Our first night there we ate dinner on the terrace. My husband and I both agreed later that it was the best dinner that we had during our seven-day vacation in Morocco. Nate loved the beef tagine, and I loved the almond chicken pastilla. Jimmy surprisingly was a huge fan of the traditional soup, harifa, and ate that the whole week while we were in Morocco. After dinner, the three of us enjoyed relaxing on the lounge chairs. Jimmy loved looking for the stars and finding the moon as it peaked in and out from behind the clouds.
The hotel staff was fantastic with planning out activities for each day and what not to miss while we were there. During our first morning in Fez, we took our own private tour with the owner of the hotel. He volunteered to take us around in his car and show us some of his favorite places that only the locals know about. He spoke perfect English making it fun and easy to talk to him and learn more about his city. He is a great family man with a daughter of his own.
Jimmy loved “playing” chess down in the lobby. Nate and Jimmy played a little bit each day during our visit. Jimmy would say, “My turn! Your turn! This is fun!” He would move the pieces random places around the board that didn’t make any sense according to official chess rules, but he still had a fun time. What a gorgeous chess set to learn on in a gorgeous setting.
When you book directly through the hotel they have some special offers:
3 Nights – Transportation From the Airport and Back
4 Nights – Half Day Tour of the City
5 Nights – Candlelight Dinner for All Guests
7 Nights – Transportation From the Airport and Back Plus a 30 Minute Massage Per Guest
Before we had kids, Nate and I stayed at cheaper hotels while traveling and didn’t care as much about finding the perfect hotel. Without kids, we were rarely in the hotel room, but spent the whole day out exploring, leaving early in the morning and not returning until late in the evenings. But since having Jimmy, our priorities have shifted a bit. We need a hotel that has a separate bed for Jimmy. We spent a night in a hotel once in Kentucky last year that didn’t have any baby beds (they didn’t inform us until we arrived late that night) and we all got a horrible nights sleep. After that night, we swore from then on we would only stay in high-end hotels that take care of their guests. Also, with naptime, we find that we spent a lot more time in the hotel than before having kids. Sometimes we nap Jimmy in his stroller while traveling, but this particular week, he was getting over being sick with a cold, so we knew that he would need some good naps in an actual bed to fully recover. Since Nate and I spend a good chuck of time in our hotel because of naptime, it makes sense for us to spend a little more on a nice hotel that we actually enjoy spending time in. This hotel did just that. It was so relaxing to come home to and was the highlight of our trip while visiting Fez. It was worth every penny.
If you're traveling to Fez and trying to figure out where to stay, I definitely recommend the Riad Fes Maya. Check it out and enjoy your stay in Fez! Feel free to comment below with any questions.