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“Moroccan Paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Le Jardin des Biehn

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Le Jardin des Biehn
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   13 Akbat Sbaa | Douh, Fes 30200, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 85 hotels in Fes
denver, colorado
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“Moroccan Paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

This review is really overdue because it’s hard to describe this fabulous place. Jardin des Biehn is flat-out the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever seen. It’s a reason by itself to go to Morocco.

This is a historic Moroccan riad which began as a Caliph’s summer palace. It’s a set of buildings and rooms walling in a large inner garden. The effect is of complete tranquility, as though you’re completely isolated from the streets outside. In fact, in the morning all I heard in the garden was babbling water and bird calls. It also has a great location in old Fez—it’s not far from transportation and very close to the main streets.

If you’ve been to Marrakesh and have seen the Bahia Palace and Jardin Majorelle, imagine both combined and filled with fabulous antiquarian furniture and art objects. The inner courtyard here is a beautiful garden, cleverly irrigated and filled with plants ranging from palms to cactus to roses. Mosiac walkways that must have been constructed a hundred years ago run through the garden and around the edges, and there’s a long ornamental pond with koi, water lilies, and splashing spigots of water.

This is a small riad with maybe nine guest rooms, and I saw three of its suites: the Chinese Suite has what I think is called a Chinese opium bed—the most extravagant one I’ve ever seen—and other wonderful antiquities like a huge umbrella as a ceiling lamp and Chinese ceremonial robes decorating the walls. The “shower” is an entire room. I also saw the Caliph Suite with two beds, great for a family with small children or friends travelling together, again filled with antiques and another entire room for a shower. Both suites were huge, with floors and walls covered with antique Moroccan tile.

We stayed, however, in the Pasha Suite. We’ve always been budget-conscious and I'm not sure how that happened, but WOW. I spent the first three hours in it just taking pictures. It's so opulent and romantic I think we need to start saving money to do it again. It has six rooms filled with extravagent antiquities, and a 40-foot high ceiling in the bedroom with a skylight identical to the ones in the Bahia Palace but absolutely huge. The kind-sized canopied bed had lovely linens and a perfect mattress. Carved and painted gigantic double doors, set in arches of carved plasterwork, open from the bedroom into two identically-sized rooms facing each other, one a dressing room with a Napoleonic fainting couch, and the other with couches as big as beds and a writing desk. The main bathroom has a tub bigger than my hall closet and a large and modern shower. But the pièce de résistance is a sunken massage room with two plunge pools, plants, and a portion of the ceiling open to the sky. You can also hire a masseuse. The suite’s floors are antique tile that extends up the walls. What also blew my mind was trying to figure out how the electrical and plumbing had been added to such a historic building—great fixtures everywhere and the plastering was immaculate. Note this property has no air-conditioning, but we were there in September, the hottest month, and the indoor temperature was fine. (The date noted below for our stay is wrong--that's how overdue I am.) The Pasha Suite was like staying in a luxurious and comfortable museum that just happened to have a ton of Argan oil bath products.

For the common areas, there’s an extremely good restaurant open to the public. We ate dinner there and the food was very innovative, beautifully presented, and delicious. The breakfast included in the price was just as good, and I was even given three separate types of coffee, each better than the last. Down by the garden’s plunge pool there’s a reading room with an eclectic and daring combination of modern art set off with opulent couches, shells, and Berber metal work, as well as plenty of reading materials including a book on women’s decorations written by the riad’s owner. There’s a game/computer room that has an oriental and gaudy 1930s club feel, stocked with maroon Egyptian couches. Even the office/store area has a pretty courtyard of its own with a fountain and more modern art. Last, one room is devoted to artifacts exhibitions; when we were there, Berber antique beaded bags were displayed.

The personnel were wonderful, especially Malik, the manager, and Mr. Biehn’s son, who was running the restaurant and who’s an accomplished photographer. Last, I am still astonished at the many areas of expertise of Monsieur Biehn, the owner. He’s an author, talented horticulturalist, and supremely discerning antiquarian, and the world-class interior designer and restorer this historic site must have demanded. I believe that when he bought this property 14 families were living in it, and it would be fascinating to see what this looked like previously.

But as to what it looks like now, I’ve never seen anything so wonderful, fanciful, and extravagent. The Pasha Suite especially must be one of the most romantic hotel suites anywhere, not to mention, you’d really have to do some looking to find another room with your own plunge pools. I am completely out of adjectives, so I just recommend you go and see this for yourself.

Room Tip: Save your money for the Pasha Suite! The Chinese Suite is definitely my second choice, and the Calip...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Geneva, Switzerland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

I stayed for 10 days and it was too short. The Riyad is beautiful and is built round an exquisite garden. The rooms are individual and comfortable. It was a true oasis from the fascinating hussle of Fes. The staff are kind and welcoming and made me feel they were there just for me - although I suspect they made all the other guests feel the same. AnneOng is a friend of mine and stayed for 3 of my days but her review is wrong - it is a very laid back place and you have to be in that sort of mood, which she was not, and she is completely wrong about it being expensive. For what it is and what it provides, the prices are modest. I too would have liked a pool, but there is no bit of the garden I would be prepared to sacrifice in order to have one. Room safes, which are a good idea, are apparently on their way. At the end of my stay, I felt so relaxed that I was sure that every wrinkle had gone. My mirror and harsh norther light says I am wrong, but that is how I felt

Room Tip: Go 9 times, so you can try each of the rooms.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

Good things: nice staff (but a bit ineffectual without their manager), clean, good location, quiet, very nice garden. Bad things: reception not staffed during normal working hours during festival time (when tourists are around); no safe in bedroom (so you have to leave your valuables at reception - which may not be open...). It is just not good enough to say the staff can call the manager who will be there in 1/2 hour - this is a business, and is an expensive hotel (eur 200 per night) which is a high price for a hotel without a pool. Disappointing.

Room Tip: Chose a room not facing the garden in mosquito season!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Napier, New Zealand
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

This Riad is an oasis in the medina quite literally from its exquisite garden setting. All nine rooms are unique and different so you need to spend some time on their website reviewing the room choices when booking. We opted for a suite called la Favourite, which being elevated afforded a breeze and views to the garden below; its terrace with day bed has lattice screening so you can see but not be seen. The place is the dream of a family from Provence and is run very ably by a couple and their son Paul. Their command of English is good too as is that of many of the staff, although French is the pervasive language of the Riad and for that matter Fez. We happened upon a period where they had no other staying guests so at breakfast (which is included) we received undivided attention which made for a peaceful treat. Do not be mistaken though there is regular and constant activity within the Riad as there is a cafe restaurant located there called Fez Cafe which is popular, serves excellent food and rings changes to the menu on a daily basis (they also serve alcohol which you cannot take for granted at all cafes) The Riad seems to have achieved a balance between rustic and luxury. It is an ongoing family project and the garden is starting to develop and mature. Whilst here we did a cooking class which was excellent and a lot of fun including sourcing ingredients from the medina markets. We would happily commend this Riad as a place for others to stay inside the medina.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2013

A wonderful find; we used this place as an escape from the Riad Dar Dmana in which we had thte misfortune of having to stay.

The rooftop terrace, gardens & restaurant here were bliss- the perfect escape from the noise & bustle of Fez. The gardens are lush & leafy, the bar is licensed to serve alcohol, the staff are friendly & the food's good. I only wish we'd been booked in to stay here.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco Bay Area
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

Le Jardin des Biehn is an oasis in the Old City of Fez. We expected to stay two days, and ended up staying four. The place is a fantasy - Moroccan tiling, fountains, balconies, courtyards, and a lush, large inner courtyard that is a feast to the senses. Add to the spectacular physical environment a terrific restaurant (and wonderful breakfasts) plus a welcoming staff that is sincere, personal, and knowledgable, and you'll understand why, for me, this place beats any ultra-luxury high rise hotel in the world. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

Le Jardin de Biehn is an extraordinary place to stay - almost like dropping into a peaceful and beautiful neighborhood sidestreet. We stayed for 10 days because our son-in-law was working in Fes -- every staff member and every experience was just perfect. Friendly, low key, timely. Having a low key restaurant inside the compound was delightful -- erasing the anxiety of 'where should we go for dinner' when tired. The fact that it is actually inside the Medina -- and yet a protected oasis - can't be reproduced. Each apartment is unique, slightly quirky and delightful. Paul Biehn (and staff and his family members) had an answer to any and all questions.

Room Tip: Just tell paul Biehn what you are looking for -- he's very candid and open the various facilitie...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Le Jardin des Biehn

Address: 13 Akbat Sbaa | Douh, Fes 30200, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Fes-Boulemane Region > Fes
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 85 hotels in Fes
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Le Jardin des Biehn 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Le Jardin des Biehn is a large Andalusian garden in the middle of the Medina of Fez, scented by Isfahan roses, jasmin, orange blossom and bergamot. All around stands the summer palace of a Pasha : nine rooms and suites, a restaurant, a spa and an art gallery. It is a place of harmony and charm, of luxury and fantasy, of shadows and light passing through the palms, lulled by birdsong and the murmur of fountains. ... more   less 
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