Best luxury hotel in Fes Morocco: Riad Laaroussa can’t be beat

by Morocco

To ensure fair prices and to help you choose the most culturally authentic and ethical hotels, we recommend planning a Moroccan adventure with a reputable, local tour operator. We recommend Open Doors Morocco.

When you intend to spend time in the sensory-intense souk markets and medina of Fes Morocco, having a quiet, restful, clean escape is a must. Do not hesitate to select the Riad Laaroussa, the best luxury hotel in Fes.

Centrally located so you can get to where you need to go in the medina in a flash – but can also get back for a respite, a spot of tea, or a rooftop sunset – the Riad Laaroussa is actually more than just a hotel. It is a family operation that gives back to the community, treats its staff well, and treats its guests like royalty but in a comfortable familial manner. You want to hug everybody you come across, and they treat you the same way: This is your home, as Moroccans love to say when you are staying somewhere. At the best luxury hotel in Fes, it really does feel like your home.

Cozy Living Room Riad Laaroussa

A little background about the luxury Riad Laaroussa in Fes

Fred Sola owns the riad along with his wife Cathy and brother Thierry. Fred was born in Casablanca but raised in France; Cathy is American. That means you find all the best Moroccan touches along with all the Western sensibilities that are sometimes missing from riads (e.g. AC that works, windows that close, sockets that don’t pull out of the wall, an eye on the environment…). You get the best of both worlds including the lovely Moroccan hospitality in a traditional riad that has been beautifully restored.

Riad Laaroussa Tea Greeting And Checkin

The building itself is nothing short of spectacular. Acquired by the family in 2005, it was likely built in the 17th century. A team of 50 worked endlessly to restore it accurately (there are fascinating pictures of the before and of the work all over the walls, with photos of the work completed in each room located in each room).The gorgeous luxury Riad Laaroussa in Fes has an expansive center courtyard with tall orange trees. The courtyard transforms into a beautiful symphony of birds coming to roost at sunrise and sunset. Just open your suite’s window and breathe in the beauty.

In a nod to Western expectations when it comes to a luxury riad in Fes, there is an expansive, meticulously cared for rooftop terrace where you are served breakfast (and dinner if you choose that). You can also catch some of the best sunrise and sunset views over Fes from that terrace. And on its lower level, there is also an intimate pool for guests to enjoy the long, warm days and nights. We did not have a chance to enjoy the on-site hammam and spa, but it is a popular visit even for those not staying there.

Rooftop Terrace Riad Laaroussa Dinner

A stay at the Riad Laaroussa

Whether you choose one of the four suites (50-55 square meters/540-600 square feet) or the expansive Red Room (40 square meters/430 square feet) in the main building or one of the three rooms in the “annex” (really a part of the complex with access simply up a different stairwell), you will have a delightful stay. We were in the Red Room, and it was hard to imagine needing more space than that. The riad not only has Wi-Fi, as of course many say they do, but here it truly works stunningly well!

Red Room Riad Laarousa Luxury

Naturally, you are greeted with the typical Moroccan hospitality of tea and homemade cookies or goodies (we enjoyed the exuberance of Badiaa for our welcome!). A full Moroccan breakfast is included and forget all those environmentally damaging plastic bottles for your safe drinking water: The Laaroussa has a filtered water system in the kitchen area where you can fill up all you want — either your own bottles, or the glass bottle provided for your stay.

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HITT Tip: As with all traditionally restored and historic riads, the stairs to upstairs rooms are quite high, sometimes uneven and can be challenged to maneuver. If you have any mobility issues or do not think you would be comfortable going up and down these stairs, please request one of the downstairs suites. The Laaroussa will also serve breakfast or dinner downstairs as needed.

Red Room Bathroom Riad Laaroussa Fes

Other environmental and community activities

What really sets apart this luxury riad in Fes Morocco is its commitment to the community and to the environment. Staff is hired locally and offered more than a job, with training and opportunities to advance their own lives. The Laaroussa also supports the Medina Children’s Library, a free lending library for children in the old city that has been open since early 2015. Fred and Cathy also support the “Centre Amal,” an Fes association that cares for orphaned and abandoned children (four of whom were adopted by Fred and Cathy, with the entire family living on site).

In a rarity for Morocco, the luxury Riad Laaroussa takes the environment seriously, monitoring energy consumption, checking for leaky taps, using solar panels, installing timers on lights in stairwells, sorting kitchen waste, and focusing on locally grown and prepared food, among other things. For that commitment, it has earned the Green Key from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council since 2013. It is truly refreshing to know there is an effort made to recycle and conserve – another reason to choose the Riad Laaroussa for your hotel in Fes Morocco.

Cooking with Fatima at the Riad Larroussa

Not a formal cooking class – at least not yet – every guest can ask to spend a few hours in the beautiful, expansive kitchen helping to prepare that night’s dinner at no charge.

Cooking With Fatima And MIchael

Lead cook Fatima can manage a little English and some French, with the rest being hands and feet. But when you are handling a knife and steered toward a cutting board loaded with piles of vegetables, it’s hard NOT to know what to do. You’ll be plied with delicious Moroccan tea and goodies along the way. You laugh a lot, watch a lot, get a few finger waggles for maybe not doing it “right,” but it’s all great fun and in good spirits. You are indeed preparing that night’s dinner so be sure to book it that night so you can enjoy what you helped prepare!

Fatima And Therese With Couscous Riad Laaroussa

At this time the Moroccan cooking class is only available to guests at the Laaroussa, but there are plans in the offing to expand this feature.

Our top riad choice in the Fes Morocco medina

The Riad Laaroussa was such a delightful, fresh, tranquil haven in the bustling, sprawling, loud Fes medina, we regretted not staying more than our meager two nights. Do yourself a favor and do not even DREAM of just one night. If you happen to be on a tour where most stays are one night, make sure you do at least two nights here so you can take a breather and truly enjoy. This riad on our trip was one of our most memorable stays – yes, it was beautiful and luxury but honestly it was primarily because the staff was just so lovely and welcoming.

Swim In The Pool At Riad Laaroussa

We recommend planning your trip to Morocco with a reputable, local tour operator who will plan your lodging and riads precisely to suit your needs and will also ensure a place respects its staff, has ethical business practices, can get the best rates and rooms, and is safe as well as culturally authentic and charming. We have traveled to Morocco with Open Doors Morocco, owned and managed by U.S. citizen Nancy Lauer who splits her time between the United States and Morocco in running the company with her Moroccan business partners. We found the wealth of knowledge the team offered and its insights into the country, its culture and every hotel or riad to be indispensable.

Book Your Riad Laaroussa Stay Here & Save

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If you want to book your stay at Riad Laaroussa here yourself, you can of course and we would appreciate it if you used this Booking.com link as it helps us to earn a small commission while ensuring you get the best rate — win-win for everyone.

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Disclosure: We received a complimentary dinner at Riad Laaroussa in exchange for a story. The review, opinions and ratings here are however our own, and are not approved, provided, or otherwise endorsed or influenced by the hotel.

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Therese Iknoian

Co-Conspirator at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian now focuses her writing and photography talents on travel. Fluent in German, Therese also runs a translation business (ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. She's a French speaker, and loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication. Therese is an award-winning member of the North American Travel Journalists Association.
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