My Fez by Jemima Mann-Baha, Owner of Palais Amani
27 Sep 2017
- 2017 has been a busy year in Fez with new flights with Air Arabia Maroc from Gatwick
- Jemima Mann-Baha and her husband own and run Palais Amani in the heart of the medina
- Palais Amani is an art deco hotel which offers foodie souk tours and cookery classes
- Palais Amani is also home to a bar, restaurant, roof top cookery school and hammam
Here are Jemima Mann-Baha’s Fez discoveries:
– My favourite spot for a mint tea in the Fez medina… There is a small café on a square near the Chaabine that is on the first floor overlooking a newly restored Fondouk; the tea is brewed in a large copper urn with huge bunches of mint and alarming amounts of sugar, but the smell is wonderful like mint imperials spearmint and almost as vivid green when poured from a height into a large glass.
– My favourite shop in the Fez medina… Very close to the Palais Amani is a bazaar called: Ali’s Art gallery. It is like a Tardis in that once through the doors it goes from floor to floor and room to room each overflowing with the most incredible works of art, furniture, jewellery, mirrors, an absolute Aladdin’s cave of wonder! I never tire going there and rarely leave it empty handed.
– My favourite walk in the Fez medina… Early morning from the Palais Amani up to Aditi yoga centre at the top of the medina. It is generally for her first class of the day so before the shops are open and the streets have been freshly washed. I always meet an elderly man who looks after the neighbourhood cats and wishes me a sunny day. I weave from Taala Kbira to Taala shrigra the main street to the smaller street the two main axes running from top to bottom of the medina and walk fast uphill so arrive at yoga already warmed up.
– My favourite restaurant in Fez… Might sound a bit strange for Morocco but my favourite restaurant in Fez is Moi Anan, a tiny Thai restaurant in the medina that has delicious dishes, a great change from the variety of Moroccan foods I so love.
– My favourite ingredients in Fez… This has to be fresh coriander sold by the cart full, used for making Chermoula: a marinade that is used for fish, vegetables and meats and is made with ingredients that are close to hand in the markets: a good bunch of coriander, paprika and garlic, Moroccan olive oil and lemon juice.
– My favourite place to watch sunset in Fez… The roof terrace at the Palais Amani, the sun sets just beyond the merinides tombs that are clearly visible from the rooftop and I love watching the colours go from apricot to deep pink with a pomegranate cocktail!
– My favourite secret in Fez… The quill makers that you will sometimes see in the gardens at the top of the medina, called Jnan Sbil. The gardens are an oasis of calm with walkways and fountains lined with Mediterranean plants rose bushes and bamboo plantations. All are protected by low wooden fences and tended carefully. Guardians whistle if anyone steps over the fences or touches the plants. Anyone except the city’s calligraphers; these artists are allowed to walk amongst them, pull their branches down and cut at their will to make quills for their art to restore the mosques and monuments that the city is famous for.
– My favourite view of Fez… If you have a car when in Fez and drive out from the Oued Zhoune car park (just near the Palais Amani) up into the Zalagh hills, only 5 minutes, there is a ruined mausoleum, hidden in a mature olive grove and from there is the most incredible view of the medina and the plains beyond. A perfect lesser known spot.
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 cookery school (launching November 2017) and basement hammam open to non-residents also. Palais Amani showcases the finest authentic and traditional Moroccan decoration. 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.
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: Air Arabia Maroc LGW – FEZ Wednesday and Saturday
Ryanair STN – FEZ Wednesday and Sunday
Air Arabia Maroc FEZ – RAK (Marrakech) Tuesday, Friday and Sunday