Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice
Riad Numero 9, Fez, Morocco
Nominated By: Nadia Latif of Travel Intelligence, London, England, June '10
Price Range: 100-200 Euros (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 3 Kid-Friendly: yes
What makes Riad Numero 9 so Darn Good? It looks – as with most traditional riads - like nothing from the outside, but through the metal-studded door lays a mosaic-tiled oasis of a boutique hotel. Meticulously restored by its owner Stephen, Riad Numero 9 is furnished with antiques and curios from Morocco, Europe, and the Far East.
Vibe: The vibe at Riad Numero 9 is intimate and exclusive. I felt like I was staying in the home of a very rich, cultured friend.
Location: The riad is a ten-minute walk from Bab Boujeloud, the main entrance gate to Fez’s medina. The city is notoriously difficult to navigate and a guide will be sent to meet you (at no extra charge) from the airport.
Rooms: Riad Numero 9 has just three suites (though there are plans to expand). I stayed in the Master Suite, which takes up an entire floor, and is split over two huge rooms connected by a birdcage-adorned walkway. The first is a bedroom/dining area and the second is a bathroom, complete with a pair of 1930s dentist chairs. The other suites are smaller, but no less lavish. All rooms have intricately carved cedar-wood ceilings, double beds and private, spacious bathrooms. The riad is very suited to exclusive rental, but rooms are also let individually.
Food: Stephen’s French partner, Bruno, is a trained chef and oversees all things culinary. As is usual with these traditional Moroccan houses, breakfast is included in the room rate and all other meals are arranged on request. Take breakfast on the roof terrace, which boasts the best view of the medina that I could find. I have very fond memories of eating home-made banana jam, French toast, and hot waffles while listening to the hustle and bustle of Fez drifting up through the latticed fencing.
Keep in Mind: Don’t expect the staff to wait on you hand-and-foot; you’re urged to treat the place like your own (gaspingly gorgeous) home. A selection of CDs, books, and comfy seating is positioned around the sunken Japanese table in the courtyard, and a mini-fridge stocked with wine and beer is tucked away on one of the upper levels. You’re also at liberty to explore the kitchen for snacks.
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