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