On one side of Palais Amani hotel in Fez’s palatial walls lies uninterrupted tranquillity; aromas of citrus and jasmine combine in the warm air of the Eden-like courtyard, just steps away from the on-call hammam. On the other, a hedonistic latticework of souks and the contagious charm of Morocco’s oldest imperial city.
Style Magnificent restored riad
Setting Within the ancient walls of Fez
Why this week The arrival of May beckons some serious summer-holiday planning, and Fez is no better enjoyed than in the sun-drenched and melodious month of June. The city truly comes alive as the World Sacred Music Festival fills the streets with harmonies from every corner of the globe, all in a celebration of international culture and spirituality. The Atlas Mountains and some of the city’s most architecturally enchanting buildings work as the backdrop for performances by choirs, musicians and poets. And if you needed another reason to book that Fez-bound flight, we have an exclusive offer for a three-night stay at Palais Amani during the festival. Breakfast is on us; along with tapas for two on the rooftop terrace, complemented by echoes of the festival’s melodies. We’re also throwing in a half-price meal and glass of wine (or alcohol-free cocktail) to make the deal even sweeter.
Our favourite bits The intimate courtyard with mosaic-enveloped fountain, canopied by aromatic orange and lemon trees is all kinds of wonderful, and the terrace’s panoramic views of the city are truly majestic come sundown. Bedrooms are handsomely adorned with hand-woven rugs, local pottery, and kaleidoscopic stained-glass windows, and dotted with twinkling lanterns and fresh flowers. Palais Amani’s gastronomic merits are not to be underplayed either. Walled with intricate blue and white tiles, French and Moroccan cuisine is expertly juggled culminating in extremely generous portions of fall-off-the-bone meat tagines and toothsome couscous.
Mr & Mrs Smith say… ‘Like a mirage, a smiling man in a Palais Amani uniform materialises next to us to take our bags. We follow him up a narrow side alley, take a couple of quick twists and turns until he opens an unremarkable carved wooden door; it proves a portal to another world. There’s the sound of birdsong and the trickle of water in a fountain. We are greeted by fluent-in-English Mehdi, a charmer with a movie-star smile. Refreshing glasses of sweet mint tea appear along with a plate of cookies (this happens whenever you settle anywhere in the hotel for more than a few minutes; not that such service shows up as extra on the bill). Stress falls away. Shoulders drop. Red, sweaty faces fade to a pleasing pink. Mr Smith jokes that perhaps we did die en route from the airport after all, and when they show us our room we’re confident we’ve found heaven.’ Read the full Palais Amani review…
You say… ‘Palais Amani is a destination in itself. The building has been restored to its intended grandeur, and the stunningly tiled courtyard, rooms and rooftop provide a luxurious and peaceful environment a world away from the souks just a few steps away.’ — Patrick, GoldSmith
Compiled by Emily Tarbuck