Fez, Past and Present at Palais Amani
4 May 2017
- Discover Morocco’s largest intact medina and step back in time
- Fez is known as Morocco’s foodie capital and the medina is filled with places to eat
- Palais Amani is an art deco luxury palace located in the medina partly rebuilt in the 1930s
Fez is one of Morocco’s most traditional cities with over a million residents and home to one of the world’s most fascinating medinas, a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. Arriving in the medina is like stepping back in time and visitors may wish to reach for a map but there is no point, part of the fun here is actually getting lost.
Located at one of the most significant entrances to the medina is Palais Amani, Fez’s leading independent hotel. Home to 15 suites and bedrooms, this art deco building was partly rebuilt in the 1930s and is today one of the main destinations in Fez with its restaurant, roof top bar and hammam open to non-residents also. The hotel was opened in 2010 following a major four year restoration. Palais Amani showcases the finest authentic and traditional Moroccan decoration and interiors. A large garden of 600m2 is at the centre of the palace filled with orange trees where birds, permanent residents here, provide the birdsong in this tranquil haven.
Step outside of Palais Amani and discover the winding lanes that make up Morocco’s largest intact medina embodying well over 1200 years of history. What to do in Fez over a few days:
- Visit the tanners’ district and watch the tanneries ditches filled with a rainbow of colours processing skin in a traditional manner
- Shop for fashion items including kaftans, slippers and leathers including bags throughout the medina
- See craft items being made by traditional methods and buy homeware items including pottery, copper works including light fittings, trays, mirrors, tables and much more
- Visit a medersa and discover more about the city’s intellectual and scientific past in unique buildings
- Discover a museum including The Nejjarine Museum of Wood Arts and Crafts and enjoy Mint Tea on the terrace
- Let your taste buds loose and explore Fassi cuisine famed across Morocco
- Take an excursion for a day to the Fez countryside high above the medina and enjoy lunch and a swim at one of the eco lodges in the surrounding hills
Fassi gastronomy combines sweet with savoury, treating fruits as vegetables and making excellent use of a whole range of spices including cumin, pepper, coriander, capsicum and cinnamon. A pastilla will combine many of these ingredients. Try also the Mrouzia, a dish with a unique blend of spices . Palais Amani offers diners two styles of cuisine in a unique setting, available all day, daily and open to all.
Eden Restaurant at Palais Amani offers ‘Market Moroccan’ local produce. Here diners can enjoy Moroccan signature dishes from an a la carte menu along with a weekly changing three-course bistro menu. A diverse tapas menu is also available daily and celebrates the 13th-century Arabo-Andalusian cuisine of this area. Diners have the option to dine in the outdoor hidden paradise under the majestic citrus trees for a truly unforgettable culinary adventure.
For the city’s best cocktails and front row seats to wonderful views, the roof terrace bar is open air, offering wines, cocktails and a tapas menu daily. Here, visitors can enjoy 360′ views of the ancient city and the mountains beyond. The roof terrace is also the place to enjoy sunbathing by day.
Cookery classes are also available at Palais Amani and are a remarkable way to interact with locals with the help of the hotel’s chef. The cookery classes involve a tour of the souks with the chef to gather the ingredients before creating authentically spiced dishes back at the hotel. Guests finish the classes by enjoying lunch and leave with an apron, spices and a new recipe.
Palais Amani is also home to a mosaic-tiled traditional hammam lit by candle light. The traditional hammam in the basement is made up of a hot room, an exfoliation room, separate showers and a relaxation room. The therapists offer a traditional ritual of purification attending to the guest’s state of spiritual and bodily wellbeing. A Traditional Hammam treatment lasts 45 minutes. Guests can also enjoy body treatments including massages and facials and treatments including foot, hand and waxing all over the body.
Nowhere quite beats Fez for dazzling crafts and ancient architecture all in a UNESCO World Heritage setting. Leave the map at home and embark on an adventure with Palais Amani!
www.palaisamani.com 12 Derb el Miter, Oued Zhoune, Fes Medina, 30000, Morocco
B&B is priced from around £180 per room per night
Getting to Fez from the London: Ryanair operate flights on Wednesdays and Sundays from Stansted. From June 2017 Air Arabia Maroc will launch flights on Saturdays from Gatwick.