We stayed in this riad for 2 days at the end of March, during a 10 day trip to Morocco. Overall it was a good experience, but the odd atmosphere and management have prevented us from giving it 5 stars.
The positives first: it was easy to find, and the directions were great, very easy to follow and clearly signposted on the streets. The riad itself is lovely, beautifully decorated with lots of plants. The room that we stayed in (6 bed girls) was spotlessly clean and spacious, as was the bathroom. The beds were really comfy, and the fresh towels every day were nice (if slightly unnecessary). The breakfast was also really nice, a big choice and good that it was included in the price of the hostel.
However, there were various issues that we encountered which unfortunately prevented us from giving it a high rating. On our first night we asked Leanora, the British owner, for a nearby restaurant recommendation. She gave us one, and also warned us of another (Kasbah) which would apparently give us a 'dodgy tummy'. Having never been to Fes before and knowing little about the city, we went to the restaurant she recommended which was empty but nice. At the end of the meal the waiter came up to us to tell us that we did not need to pay for the meal as it had already been paid for by the hostel owner's husband Noor, who owned the restaurant. While we were obviously very grateful for this, it seemed slightly odd. Furthermore, the restaurant called Kasbah (which Leanora had told us to avoid) was directly opposite the one she had recommended. She did not inform us that her recommended restaurant was owned by her husband, which seemed slightly sneaky, and this was compounded by the fact that she deliberately warned us against its direct competitor.
Secondly, on our second night, two extra beds were added to our 6 person room. This meant that the room was very crowded and there were 8 people sharing the one bathroom (with only one toilet). When we complained to Leanora (in what we hoped was a polite and understanding way) she was polite but did not apologise. She then 'summoned' me to her office where her husband Noor questioned me further about my complaint. He was rude to the point of being intimidating, made worse by the fact that I am a young woman and not a particularly authoritative one; I felt that if I had been a man, or even an older woman, he would not have dared to speak to me in the way that he did. For example, he asked me 'how many beds did you book?' to which I replied 'two', and then 'and how many beds did you get?', to which I again replied 'two'. He then looked at me as if I was unreasonable to have brought this complaint at all and made me feel stupid and small. He finally offered to 'split the profits' (his words) with us, which, to their credit, he did. However, throughout the time I was in the office I felt like a silly schoolgirl being told off for something that I did wrong. I did not appreciate being made to feel as if I had done something wrong, especially as throughout her responses to the reviews, Leanora refers to her guests as 'clients'. As a paying 'client', I was offended to be talked to in such a manner and treated as if I was making a ridiculous request.
A couple of smaller issues included: at night it was quite cold in the rooms, made worse by the fact that the windows did not shut properly meaning that there was a breeze. Also, in the main communal area, 'lounge' music was played until relatively late (about midnight). This was not at all restful and mainly consisted of bad 90s pop, which jarred slightly with the rest of the hostel's peaceful atmosphere.
Overall, an OK stay but the strange staff and the way I was treated by the manager have brought this rating down.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Was troubled when reading your review, however we value all types of reviews and from each and every one we take something to help us improve our business and be successful for future guests in the future,
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I would like to touch upon the points raised in your review in help of understanding the matters addressed.
We are delighted you found the Riad easy to find and the directions I provided to be easy to follow and that the Riad was signposted from the street.
That the Riad was beautifully decorated and there is lots of greenery and that the room you stayed in was large and well cleaned daily. We provide new towels if we see the old ones to be sodden and we like to maintain very high standards making us the lux budget Riad in Fes. We take no chance in cutting corners when it comes to cleanliness. Breakfast also is one of the fortees of the hotel and we are pleased you liked the big choice and included in the price.
When you arrived you asked me for a recommendation, yes I recommended one by the blue gate and warned you of another, my reasons...you would have gotten a dodgy tummy, just last week we had to call a doctor out in the middle of the night due to food poisoning from said place and this is not the first time a client had been down that same path. In hindsight I wish I had never given a recommendation but we wanted to treat you both to a free meal as you treat on us, and had no idea it would be viewed suspicious or badly taken. Our mistake. There was no financial gain so should not be viewed as odd. Moroccan hospitality can seem generous and sometimes over the top but we wanted you to have a good start to your time in Fes and for having chosen our Riad it was a way of saying Thank you.
On your second night of the stay we had 2 girls staying with us for the previous few days and were finding it impossible where to stay on their last night in Fes, you both seemed easy going and laid back and didnt think it would be a problem sharing the room with you, but again with hindsight I am sorry to have imposed like this and apologies that the monetary compensation was not enough or the incorrect way to solve the issue. I am sorry if me asking you to come to the office to chat this over with Nor was seen as a summons, again not meant to be taken this way and sorry if there was a language misunderstanding or miscommunication is viewing the issue. By no means was Nor meaning to speak down to you, or intimidation, he just wanted to understand it from both sides and find the just solution which was working out how much proportionally would have been the cost of a 8 person room and not a 6 person room. Since this incident we have not added extra beds even in times of additional clients wanting to stay so as not to upset the boat.
As for the windows not closing, I wish I had known and would have either slammed them shut, adjusted the bolts or found a way to keep out a draft if this was the case. We do state on the website that we do play music but again this has been noted and sorry if this caused distruption to your stay, we are sorry.
We wish you both the best and if only the incident had been dealt with differently or if Fes had been empty during Easter so we werent in this position maybe we would have been looking at a 5 star rating instead. Thank you for taking the time and again if there is something we can do then just let us know to restore good will.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.