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“Would love to give this a four but can't”
Review of Pension Sekaya

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Pension Sekaya
Ranked #35 of 64 Specialty Lodging in Fes
snowmansam
Level Contributor
63 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Would love to give this a four but can't”
Reviewed November 8, 2009

We had arranged to get picked up from the train station however no-one showed up and no-one answered my calls. Upon arrival by cab to the general area (Fes is pedestrianised) we were hustled to the door by a local who apparently worked for them. Normally i would ignore as i did until he produced the business card of the hotel without me speaking to him. Upon arrival he demanded around 200 dirahms for escorting us to the place about 150 meters away. I refused and offered him a fair tip. He then pretended to be insulted and made the usual ridiculous threats, i laughed him off and i was appalled to hear that the owner paid his ransom at 60 dirahm and then put it on my bill. I refused to pay this as i was more than happy to call the tourist police and report the man.

Anyway besides the owner dealing with that particular situation in the wrong way the Pension was very pleasant with great breakfasts on the terrace. Rooms on the ground floor however did seem to have a bit of damp, may not be a problem in the hotter months. Overall this is a good place to stay.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank snowmansam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Sydney
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2009

Fantastic value, quiet location, yet a 5 min walk to all of the action.

It's not easy to find on your own, however the owner will send someone to meet you if you pre-arrange it or in our case we paid 10 Dirhams (about 1 Euro) to a local kid who happily escorted us from the main Taxi drop off point to the Riad.

The owners are local. They renovate old riads and seem to have a good recipe of finding a quiet location, equipping it with comfortable beds, clean bathrooms and keeping it very authentic. It's definitely on the no frills end of the scale, however you get more than you pay for in this case. It's clean, friendly and safe.

Each room has it's own bathrooms and a basic breakfast of fresh bread, tea, coffee and jams is included.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Reefka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2009

Have just returned from staying with 2 friends at Pension Sekaya (we had a triple room up on the first floor). I can honestly say that this is one of the best value "budget" places I have ever stayed in, anywhere. In fact I've paid 8 times what a room here costs and had far, far worse!
The Pension itself is stunning, esp for a first time visitor to Morocco. Yes, rooms are basic but beds were comfy, bedding clean, bathrooms were good, the rooms were cleaned daily with fresh towels provided (but make sure you bring/buy soap etc as toiletries are not provided) and there was always plenty of hot water. The rooms were a wee bit hot & stuffy but hey, it was hot EVERYWHERE!
ALL of the staff were friendly and helpful at all times. As I was travelling with 2 male friends and I wanted to visit a hammam, they even arranged for a female member of staff (Monia) to accompany me. They arranged for an early morning taxi to pick us up to get us to the airport for our flight (tho said taxi driver did try to overcharge us, so make sure you get your change!).
The Pension is handily placed for all the medina action though it took us a while to get our bearings and be able to make our way back in the evenings unaided!
We didn't ask for recommendations for restaurants etc but there are plenty of "helpful" people out there who will try to "recommend" places to eat. At the end of the day, you can always say no! We were "escorted" to the Palais de Merinides and knew immediatley upon entering that it was most definitely not for us, this being confirmed when we saw the prices on the menu! So we just said no and left. No problem.
The Pension is also a good place to get to meet other travellers of all nationalities. The lovely roof terrace is great to hang out on with a tray of mint tea that the staff will happily bring you at any time of the day.
We hope to return to Fes next year and will definitely be staying at Pension Sekaya. It is also the kind of place that lone female travellers would feel secure staying at.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hillybilly444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Level Contributor
58 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed September 22, 2009

Very accomodating folks, run like a true riad. You will not find this place on your own very easily, so make arrangements for them to come pick you up at the airport or train station. It's worth it!

  • Stayed September 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MazzyDog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wash, DC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 7, 2009

I just returned from Fez where I stayed at Pansion Sekaya for 2 nights. I travelled there by myself although I normally travel with my family. In years past, we have travelled to many, many places and stayed at all kinds of places, from 7-star hotels (there are some in the Middle East) to places which are rather basic. It all depends what one is looking for.

I booked this through Fez Riads web site managed by Helen Ranger. Helen was wonderful, responsive, and very informative. If she says that something is done, it is done. I talked to her on the phone from the US and she was a real pleasure to talk to. Rather interesting person as well.

Pansion Sekaya is locally owned and has a great location not on the main street but just off it - just two turns away to give you an authentic feeling of living in the medina. It is a short walk from the less famous gate into the medina or 15 walk through the main street to the Blue Gate which is perfect for being right in the middle of it. I think this is a great way to experience what living in the medina is like and still have a nice accomodation, a staff who tries, and a place which is very real. It is 300MAD and is a great value. If someone is looking for the Ritz, there are other options and Helen can arrange them. My point was - what is the value of trying to experience the place if one wants to do this on their very Western terms or shield themselves from the reality by lots of western amenities? A local Marriott (sorry, could not help laughing at another review) would have AC and a vegetarian meal. One can go to Italy and wander around one of those old Italian towns where no one lives anymore and which were cleaned up for tourists years ago to provide a faux "authentic" experience. Nothing wrong with Italy - just for each his / her own.

There are a couple of uber-up-market riads in the medina which can do that but those will set you back 2,000MAD / night and people who stay there rarely leave those places, as the medina around them represents a world which is very different. Most people forget that houses in the medina do not have running water, or lots of windows since there are all next to each other. So, the fact that there are hot showers in the room is already a huge accomplshment.

The bottom line is - all was exactly as expected and I was met the train station by a driver like they promised. I was lead to Pansion and helped with bags - no need for it but nice. Staff was really trying and responded to any request I had - including the use of the internet and phone which I did need. Breakfast was great and when i wanted more of stuff, I was given more (and it was Ramadan!). Beds were clean and comfortable. Shower basic but the water was hot and there was plenty of it. I met the most interesting people there - there seemed to be a consistent flow of good quality people - inpretentious, interesting, curious about things, and seeking to answer questions about Fez and Morocco. We ended up spending a lot of time together, had dinners, and talked on the terrace which was wonderful. Nights were magical as the weather was warm and the moon was bright.

I liked very much certain roughness of the places and authenticity. Everyone knew Zacharia (well, everyone knows everyone!) and he knew everyone. Zacharia speaks English and understands it very well (just because people say English wards does not mean they actually understand what you are saying to them). Tell him about yourself, ask him questions, and you can learn things that guidebooks do not mention.

Medina itself is a safe place but it does not mean that you can just wonder around it without thinking. People live there and go about their daily business. This is their world and it was great to have a window into that. On your second day of wandering, you will start recognizing places and people and they will start recognizing you. You do represent a potential for them to make money and you will probably be taken advantage of a few times and set back a few extra dollars. This is just a part of the experience - just accept it. If you end up in a beautiful restaurant which will cost you 300MAD+ for a meal, just enjoy the courtyard and the meal. Next time, buy something from a street vendor for 10MAD and try that - could be equally good. All restaurants around the Blue Gate (it is called something in Arabic) are good and you can watch people endlessly.

Also, I was their during Ramadan. I know that many people would disagree with me, but this is a great time to visit. yes, you will have a problem finding food during the day but people are less aggressive during the day and life is in full swing after 9 p.m. till 2 a.m. It was an amazing experience to see something like this and have the place empty out at 7 p.m. for breaking the fast. You can just go and join somebody for a meal at 7 p.m. - would be a really interesting experience. If you need to eat, you can eat and no one will say anything to you. Bananas are plentifull :)...

Bottomline - Pansion Sekaya is great and Fez Riads is wonderful service and they give back to the community by doing restoration projects. Enjoy yourself and take a moment to try to see a wolrd vastly different from ours... :) Say hello to Zacharia from me...

Pavel Karelin
Washington, DC

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nilerak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2009

The Pensione Sekaya was a fabulous find. At 300dh/night for an ensuite room with two twin beds, including breakfast, it was an absolute steal. (I understand that the Riad will be raising its rates once it gets air conditioning installed in all the rooms.)

My brother and I stayed at Pensione Sekaya for 3 nights in June 2009. The staff was very friendly and helpful. It seemed like they were always available to assist, even at the wee hours of the morning. Others have mentioned being met by boys with wheelbarrows who insist on taking you to the Pensione. In fact, these are touts that are not affiliated with the Pensione in any way. In fact, a worker from the Pensione came out to meet us so that we could avoid that very situation, but unfortunately, our petite taxi driver did not take us the proper way. I recommend calling the Pensione in advance of your arrival to have someone from the Pensione meet you.

The rooms on the first floor are indeed very damp. As suggested by others, this is a fact of life for the old riads turned into hotels. On our second night, we requested being moved to the upper floor, but unfortunately, those rooms were stiflingly hot. I don't blame any of this on the Pensione itself. This is Morocco and you are staying in a centuries-old home that has been retro-fitted.

If you want a Western hotel, you shouldn't stay here. But if you are looking for a Moroccan experience, I highly recommend it.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Littlewigs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2009

Pension Sekaya is without any doubt the dampest, darkest and most depression place I have ever stayed in all my years of travelling. As a seasoned traveller, I am used to basic accommodation, but not staying in a room so damp that it left our suitcases damp and smelling for the rest of the stay. The breakfast was basic consisting of a round dry thing and a cup of tea. The staff were sour faced for our whole stay and despite my partner being very ill on our last night didn't lift a finger to help her with her cases on the uphill trek to the taxi rank. The room had no window and was lit with a very low wattage bulb in the corner. this made it impossible to do anything other than dress in the room. The local recommended restaurant was a total rip off and three times more expensive than we expected. The menu main coursed were 180mdhs and were reheated and only slightly warm. We believe it was here or at the pension that we both contracted food poisoning. the final bill for the meal had all sorts of extras added including service, hotel tax and an extortionate amount for drinks. The final bill was 900mdhs. As for the hotel. go break a local by law and spend the night in a local prison. I'm sure the hopitality, comfort and general atmosphere would be nicer. If you must go please ensure you stay in the very hot rooms on the first floor. I understand they are not quite so damp. And whatever happens don't eat at the local Palais de Merindes. It's beautiful but they will totally rip you off.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Havingamare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Pension Sekaya

Property: Pension Sekaya
Address: 16 Sekayat Demnati | Zleiten, Fes 30000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Fes-Boulemane Region > Fes
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #35 of 64 Specialty Lodging in Fes
Number of rooms: 1
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pension Sekaya: stay at 12 € / person, including breakfast.   At the heart of the medina, in a large traditional house completely restored house 11 rooms from 2 to 5 beds with private bathrooms. Large panoramic terrace for breakfast and lunch. Kitchen available. Quiet 5 minutes from the car park, historic sites and shops.   This guest house Riad or pension, is a little hotel in the beginning of the last century. Recently renovated, it is quietly situated in the historical part, the Medina of Fez. Haven offers the services of a guest house in the first class, and the owners reserve you their best reception Its structure and its proportions it exudes calm and serenity that will not leave you indifferent. Our riad in Fez is easily accessible, ideal for exploring the maze of the medina of Fez and its region. Our Moroccan restaurant, you will discover Fassi cuisine in all its facets. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Pension Sekaya Hotel Fes

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