Not a riad but a dar - the clue is in the hotel name, but check the definition!
Where does one start with the D el G? Possibly with how to find it. The taxi will drop you off at the taxi-stand near to Place R'cif but without some assistance it is difficult to identify the correct entrance into the Medina. Once you have set-off in the correct direction it is then readily possible to follow the hotel direction signs set high up on the walls of the passageways but by that stage you will almost certainly have acquired one or more young aspiring guides to take your luggage and lead you there.
The 2-300m walk up to the hotel is less than auspicious but as you enter through the plain wooden door you cannot fail to be impressed by the grandeur of this wonderful old building. It is a cool, serene haven hidden in the bustle of the Medina. Absolutely in keeping with the character of the architecture, the staff are helpful and attentive with all the courtesies of a former age.
Our bedroom was spacious, measuring some 10m by 4m with ample wardrobe and drawer storage. All furniture, and the wood-burning stove in the corner (which the Management offered to light!) is contemporaneous with the building and tends to be a little idiosyncratic in its operation. I hasten to add that the room was fitted with air-con which had the capability of both heating and cooling. The ensuite bathroom was clean, basic and functional with some potentially lethal steps and level changes. In fact the whole building appeared to offer an impressively wide range of trip hazards. Breakfast and dinner could be taken either in the main atrium or in one of the cosy side-rooms which led off the atrium. Alternatively, the hotel is prepared to serve meals in your bedroom or on the delightful roof terrace which offers splendid views of the old town. The restaurant offers a selection of good quality fare but, in common with most restaurants in Fes, it is overpriced. For residents who feel like a change of menu and atmosphere, I would suggest the Riad Doha (also not a riad!) which is situated only 50m further up the same street. This somewhat esoteric establishment has a mostly young clientele and certainly offers a different experience. Again, the food is well cooked but must be ordered earlier in the day because all main ingredients are bought-in fresh specifically for each reservation.
If your ideal hotel is in the range of Mercure to Marriott then the Dar el-Ghalia is not the hotel for you. However, you would find it difficult to equal the sheer old-world charm and service. Where else would you receive a polite knock on your door at 4.30AM to ensure that you did not miss your flight, to find fruit juice and hot coffee waiting downstairs for you and then to be escorted 300m to your taxi because it was still dark?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riad El Ghalia is a prince palace built back in the 18th century.Located in the heart of the old medina's Andalusian district, this magnificent 18th Century palace belongs to a well-known Fassi Family At Riad El Ghalia, all the rooms are organized around the central patio (space dedicated to main activities). There are a variety of different room types, each named after ancestors of the family who still own and run it. Each room is en-suite, and other facilities include lounge areas, internet access, and traditional hammam. On our terrace you can appreciate the Fes gastronomy while enjoying a unique view on the whole medina with its uncountable minarets. You can also relax there sipping a drink at any time of the day. Faithful to its culinary tradition, the palace houses a well-known restaurant with a table d'hotes of great finesse serving true Fassi cooking, the most famous of Moroccan cuisines. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dar El-Ghalia Hotel Fes
- Dar El Ghalia Fes