After experiencing a few nights at an authentic riad in Marrakech, le bf and I were eager to check out the promised luxury of Hotel Sahrai in Fez. While our riad in Marrakech was quite lovely, and we felt safe and welcome at all times, we were growing weary of the paper-thin walls and lack of hotel amenities – spoiled travelers that we are.
Once we got to Hotel Sahrai, we literally had nothing to complain about. From the minute we stepped through those glass doors, we were ushered into the luxurious oasis in the middle of the bustling city. From smooth and welcoming check-in, to our stunning suite, to the abundant daily breakfast buffet, we felt like royalty at all times.
Little extras went a long way – swanky Acqua di Parma toiletries perched on the side of our glass-enclosed black marble bathtub, complimentary bottled water delivered with turn-down service every night, delectable fruit and local desserts to welcome us on our first day – all of these things made our stay feel more special.
And those amenities we were starting miss? Well, at Hotel Sahrai, we had access to a couple of breathtaking outdoor pools, state-of-the-art gym, 2 amazing restaurants and a roof-top bar, as well as an indoor pool at the Givenchy Spa. Speaking of Givenchy Spa…it was transformative…and surprisingly affordable. Even if you weren’t planning a stay at Hotel Sahrai (and why not?!), Givenchy Spa is a must-visit while in Fez.
The day we arrived, I booked an in-room blow-out which set me back all of $20, and lasted me our entire stay! Le bf and I also tried hammam treatments, which were ridiculously affordable (around $40!!!) – in Toronto, the same treatment would set you back at least $150. Also, the scrub-down that we received at Givenchy Spa was not only more vigorous, it felt a lot more like a massage than the similar treatments I’ve gotten in Canada. My only regret is that I didn’t visit the spa more often. The staff were lovely, helpful, and tried very hard to make sure that we received top-notch service.
More after the jump!
On to the food…while in Fez, we had breakfasts and dinners at Hotel Sahrai every day. Breakfasts were included in the room rate and were a veritable feast. Eggs cooked to your liking, freshly squeezed juice, pastries, Moroccan pancakes, cheese, fruit, yogurt, cookies, cereal…I dare anyone to walk away unsatisfied. Every morning I would wake up with a smile, knowing that the breakfast buffet awaited…what can I say? I love food!
For dinner, we visited both Relais de Paris (French cousine) and Amaraz (traditional Moroccan). Some stand-outs included the delectable fois gras terrine, perfectly-cooked beef tenderloin, and the flavourful mushroom risotto at Relais de Paris; at Amaraz, the stars of the show were the starters, which were all equally delicious, but the fried ones perhaps slightly more winning in my books. Perhaps due to my Westernized palate, I preferred desserts from Relais de Paris – you simply can’t go wrong with panna cotta or the chocolate profiteroles.
I was a bit apprehensive when I was offered a mocktail at the spa – it was full of crushed ice, and I was told not to consume any iced drinks while in Morocco. Well, the drink looked way too tempting to turn down, so I gulped it down…and then I went to the rooftop that night and ordered another…and another. Bartenders at Hotel Sahrai sure know how to make some delicious mocktails! And just like at the spa, prices at restaurants and bars were more than reasonable, which is why we chose to eat there again and again.
One more thing worthy of a mention is the concierge desk…or rather the people that run it. Any question or concern we had was tended to quickly and with a lot of care. When we needed a spur-of-the-moment tour to Chefchaouen, the ladies at the front desk were able to arrange it for us in record time, and we were able to enjoy a lovely day trip on a very short notice.
Lastly, if you were wondering about the location, Hotel Sahrai is perfectly situated just outside of the old town…in-between the old and the new. The hotel offers a free shuttle, which was available to us any time we needed to use it (not only to and from the medina, but to the train station as well!). Most days we used the shuttle to go to the medina, and took cabs to get back to the hotel, as they were quite inexpensive.
I know that a lot of people choose to stay at the medina for a more authentic experience, but I have to say that after spending the day getting overwhelmed by the noises, smells, and the never-ending bustle of the old town, it was a real treat to be able to return to our tranquil hotel, overlooking the city, where we could sit on the rooftop patio sipping delicious drinks, or watch the action unfold in front of us from the comfy lounger by the pool. We got the best of both worlds.
When it was finally time to leave Fez, both le bf and I had a tough time saying good-bye…we loved our luxurious stay and the wonderful people we met. Without exaggerating, I can confidently say that Hotel Sahrai is now one of my favourite hotels in the world – everything from the outstanding service to the top-notch amenities was extraordinary, and I can’t wait to stay there again.