Where to Go Swimming in Fes

Fes, Morocco

When temperatures soar, the best thing you can do for yourself, and anyone you are with, is to buy a pass to one of the hotel pools. The Riad Alkantara is situated at the heart of the medina and offers a long, deep, aquamarine-colored pool surrounded by a small but lush garden busy with butterflies and warbling songbirds. It’s usually very tranquil, but it’s worth arriving around 11 a.m. to be sure of a sun bed in high summer. Note also that service is painfully slow, so if you want to order a simple lunch (sandwiches, salads) be sure to order at least an hour and a half before you actually want to eat.

In the Ville Nouvelle, the Marriott is another good option and a better bet if you have kids in tow, as it has a shallow pool for children as well as a large pool for adults. Plentiful sun beds, not to mention a decent Italian restaurant that serves cold beers and chilled Moroccan wines as well as child-friendly pizza and pasta, add to the perfection. The Hôtel Les Mérinides is situated high on a ridge above the medina and it has a medium-size pool surrounded by a dining terrace with expansive views. It’s more exposed than the other two, but rounding off the day up here with a gin and tonic as the sun goes down over the ancient city is arguably one of the most magical summertime experiences you can have.

Finally, if time and budget allow, it’s worth booking transport to ferry you out to Dar El Mandar, less than an hour’s drive away from the city center, near the Middle Atlas town of Imouzzer (pass price includes lunch). Perched on a hillside overlooking the Saiss Plains, you can spend a delightful day lolling poolside amid terraced gardens dotted with cushion-strewn Berber tents for those all-important afternoon siestas.

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