The Top Hotels in Fes
Whether you seek the splendor of a historic riad in the heart of the medina or a chic hilltop escape high above all the commotion, there’s something for every wandering spirit in the Moroccan town of Fes. Here are some of our favorite places to stay.
Derb Ziat, Fes, Morocco
With its carved arches, intricate tilework, and marble swaths, the scenic Palais Faraj feels like it’s from another time. Each room in the former palace is like a treasure chest of colorful rugs, stained glass details, and vibrant objets d’art; perhaps none are more enchanting than the library, with its arabesque and geometric patterns, though the lovely grounds, which are dotted with palm trees, rose bushes, and manicured hedges, are a close second thanks to their breathtaking views over the labyrinthine medina. Panoramic vistas also unfold from the hotel’s two restaurants, which serve Fassi specialties such as pigeon pastillas—try making them for yourself during an on-site cooking class. Other highlights include a spa with a traditional hammam and a courtyard pool for afternoon dips. As for the guest rooms, the hotel’s 25 suites are cloaked in the same elaborate tiling and carvings but stocked with mod cons like free minibars and Nespresso machines.
Car Parking Ain Azliten, 24 Derb el Miter, Talaa El Kebira, Fes 30110, Morocco
Though less decadent than some of the medina’s more storied hotels, Riad Ahlam offers charm in spades at budget-friendly rates. With its trickling fountain and potted citrus trees, an elegant central courtyard is the setting for highly Instagrammable daily breakfasts brimming with homemade pastries and breads, fresh fruit and juices, sweet jams, and aromatic coffee; lunch and dinner highlight typical Fassi fare such as spiced tagines and vegetable couscous. Guests seeking pampering can indulge in a massage on-site, then retreat to one of eight rooms featuring colorful local textiles, traditional Moroccan lamps and lanterns, and brightly hued bathrooms with mosaic-tiled showers and shiny copper sinks. There’s also a scenic rooftop terrace, a prime perch for a cup of mint tea with a view.
5 Derb Zerbtana, Fès 30100, Morocco
It’s easy to get lost given the dizzying number of courtyards, patios, and terraces at Riad Fes, a lavish stay in the heart of the medina that feels like a desert mirage thanks to its opulent zellige tilework, towering plaster columns, wrought-iron filigrees, and antique wooden doors. Individually appointed guest rooms follow suit with embroidered linens atop four-poster beds, stained-glass details, and richly patterned textiles. The hotel’s subdued L’Ambre restaurant offers a mellow counterpoint to the grandeur with clean lines and hushed color schemes that allow refined Moroccan dishes to take center stage—think roasted lamb with onion jam and caramelized carrots, quail pastilla, and spiced-fruit tagine with mango ice cream. The riad also has a chic pool overlooking a verdant vertical garden; equally serene is the spa, which provides gentle relaxation with its soothing hammam and menu of aromatic scrubs, wraps, and massages.
23 Arsat Bennis Douh، Fes, Morocco
You’ll feel like royalty from the moment you touch down at the 19th-century Palais Sheherazade, a traditional Moroccan palace with zellige tiling, sculpted plaster, and stained glass. A massive courtyard patio lies at the hotel’s heart, with a pool bordered by 100-year-old palm trees, Andalusian-style greenery, and elegant black-and-white seating from the adjacent restaurant, where you can sip mint tea from etched-glass cups as the scent of jasmine wafts through the air. The 24 chandeliered suites are regal in size and decor, bedecked in sumptuous textiles, handpainted cedarwood ceilings, and gleaming copper sink basins. But the true star here is the Anne Sémonin spa, a palace unto itself with an array of decadent rooms, an Aquatonic pool, and a traditional hammam.
3 Derb Bechara، Fes, Morocco
Hidden behind unassuming doors, this 17th-century palace provides respite from the frenetic bustle of the medina without sacrificing sense of place. The property hits all the right Moroccan style notes: there’s plenty of arabesque-patterned tiling and a lush courtyard complete with tinkling fountain and fragrant citrus trees. But the classic interiors also have contemporary flair—see the chrome lamps, cement-hued tadelakt baths, and leather furnishings in the eight guest rooms, or the panoramic rooftop and on-site restaurant, which not only serves local Fassi fare but also offers free cooking classes that begin with a trip to the market. For an alternate take on tradition, guests head to the hotel’s candlelit Carrara marble hammam, which uses indigenous ingredients like ghassoul clay from the Atlas Mountains, black-olive soap, and argan oil for its soothing pamper sessions.
19 bis derb el ouarbiya - el makhfia Fès Médina - Maroc، Morocco
Simple pleasures abound at this charming riad, where a greenery-fringed central courtyard is soundtracked by a babbling fountain; the panoramic rooftop terraces are dotted with potted palms and cabana-style seating; and an atmospheric bar and dining room doles out Fassi fare like couscous, pastilla, and a variety of tagines (though guests can opt for a cooking class instead). It’s all cloaked in a traditional Moroccan aesthetic, rich in color and bedecked in zellige tilework, handwoven rugs, ornately carved wood, and moody lanterns. The seven jewel-hued guest rooms, each a different color, have modern conveniences like flat-screen TVs in gilded frames, minibars, and free Wi-Fi, while decadently appointed suites maximize living space. Not that you’ll be in them for long: The concierge can arrange for a guide to help you navigate the medina’s mazelike alleys, which sit right outside the hotel’s door.
Riad Alya 8 Bis Derb Guebbas, Quartier, Fes 30000, Morocco
An oasis from the manic bustle of the medina, Riad Alya feels like a secret hideaway, one that teems with the icons of Moroccan architecture—think zellige mosaics, arabesques, and stately arches. The jewel box–like central courtyard continues the theme with intricate plaster and wood carvings, a babbling fountain, and wrought iron screens on the windows; fragrant orange trees sprout from the tilework and mingle with the scent of the mint tea that appears on a constant rotation throughout the day. It’s a tranquil place to while away the time before hitting the labyrinthine alleys outside, as is the rooftop terrace, which offers commanding views of the city and distant mountains. If the streets seem more chaotic than comforting, guests can recreate local flavors by way of a two-hour cooking class in the former residence’s kitchen.
21 Derb Ourbia Makhfiya، Fes 30000, Morocco
Once a grand harem, this luxurious riad in the medina’s Andalusian Quarter is as enigmatic as its past. Interiors are peppered with worldly artifacts and contemporary furnishings, but all blend harmoniously with traditional handwoven rugs, bejmat tiles, and ornate lanterns. Seven lavishly chic suites are equally full of character: vintage Moroccan wedding shawls and antique Berber wardrobes offset modern amenities like high-end organic toiletries, walk-in rain showers and sunken stone tubs, and terraces wreathed in rose bushes and lush greenery. No less romantic is the hammam, complete with vaulted ceilings and graceful columns. There are also plenty of charming corners to settle into with a mint tea and homemade pastries, be it in the serene library courtyard, the umbrella-dotted rooftop lounge, or the hotel’s elegant crystal-chandeliered restaurant.