My husband and I stayed for a week at Riad Tara leading up to and over the Christmas period, and I must say, we couldn't have found a better place to stay. I emailed the owners beforehand to say that we would like a transfer from the airport, and also dinner at the Riad on the first night. We were picked up at the airport as requested and driven close to the Riad, where we met Btissam, who escorted us the rest of the way - only a few minutes to the Riad. So far, so good!
When we went into the Riad, we were blown away - it was just so utterly beautiful - with an amazing courtyard with beautiful trees and such stylish decoration - more like a top-notch Boutique Hotel, but with all the Moroccan charm still intact. Btissam sat us down and made us Moroccan tea and we started to relax immediately. Btissam had time to chat to us and take us through ideas of what we could do and also suggest things and trips we could make which we really appreciated.
We were taken up to our room at the top of the Riad - absolutely stunning. Although it wasn't the biggest room - it felt like a scene from "The Arabian Nights"! Huge bed with voiles hanging at the end of it and the Moroccan decoration was just beautiful. Huge shower with a little dome over it - like the sort you would get in a traditional hamman. Small, but perfectly compact. Above us was a stunning rooftop terrace and a lower terrace where in the warmer weather you could relax and sunbathe!
We had dinner that night, cooked by the in-house cook, Fatiha and it was wonderful, traditional Moroccan food, freshly prepared for us. The Riad sold wine too, so that was a blessing!!! The owner, Jim, introduced himself to us and was really lovely and friendly - you could tell he cared - I mean, REALLY cared about our stay and how things were for us.
I loved the neighbourhood that the Riad was situated in - away from the madness of the interior of the medina, just south of it, and in a local area with tiny, narrow streets which were so old they took your breath away. There are certain points where "petit taxis" could be hired after a day walking and we found that dropping us off at a gate south of the medina took us just a couple of lanes away from where the Riad was situated - so very easy to get around. All the locals were so friendly and smiled or said "bonjour" and, after a week, a few locals got to know us wandering around and treated us like old friends!!! There was a little street market not far from the Riad, and we often saw Fatiha, the cook, shopping there for our dinner!!!
After a couple of days, Jim surprised us when we came back to the Riad one day to say that we were being upgraded, with no extra charge! We then had the "Nacre" room which was absolutely beautiful - totally different in style from the previous room, and the attention to detail and style was breathtaking! Huge bed, even bigger doors and high ceilings - bathroom was down a little flight of stairs (all private) and had great facilities again. Jim and Catherine (the owners) said it was a "Christmas present" to us - how lovely!
Most mornings the Riad served typical Moroccan breakfast, mainly bread, pastries etc with Fatiha's homemade jams which were gorgeous. In the morning we ordered dinner for that night - and somehow between our lack of French and Fatiha's understanding we were able to choose what we wanted!!! The dinner was always amazing - didn't have better food anywhere - and for e15 per head, really good value!
Coming back to the Riad after a day out or in the medina was a pleasure - Btissam was always there with a pot of tea or sometimes we asked for wine and we used to chat to her about our day and she would offer suggestions on what we could do next - it was just lovely - like coming home, but to a home where everyone looked after us and we felt really spoilt!
Christmas eve, Jim and Catherine gave us a choice of Moroccan dinner or a French dinner and we chose to have the French dinner (as they were French!) and Jim cooked it - needless to say, it was sublime!!! They also joined us for a drink and nibbles and between us all we had quite a laugh! They are such a lovely couple and care very deeply about all aspects of the Riad and the people who stay there.
We did take advantage of a day trip out to Volubilis and Meknes via Moulay Idriss with Mohammed, a driver arranged by the Riad, and it was fantastic - great driver, fab car and we were very well looked after all day - nothing was too much trouble - e90 in total for the whole day - amazing value! Btissam arranged anything that needed doing over the phone for us - booked meals out, arranged a massage and dealt with our return transfer.
All-in-all, this is the most gorgeous place to stay, in a perfect location, with owners that deeply care about the Riad and the people that stay with them. Their staff are second-to-none. Jim and Catherine are the most amazing hosts and we felt like friends by the time we left - this is the sort of place that is priceless.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Le Riad TARA a ete cree a partir d'un authentique Riad au coeur de la vieille medina de FES. Certaines maisons remontent a plusieurs siecles, FES est une ville de plus de 1200 ans. Les proprietaires actuels, francais, ont passe deux ans a restaurer ce Riad en une maison d'hotes hotel pleine de charme. Ils ont suggere aupres des artisans lors de sa restauration, d'allier modernisme et authenticite marocaine. Cette propriete comble ces occupants par le confort et le bien etre des lieux. Le Riad TARA a desormais tout d'un lieu authentique , on y sejourne en chambre individuelle ou en louant le Riad dans sa totalite, avec des services recherches, pour passer un agreable sejour. ... more less
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