Morocco had been on our bucket list for quite some time and Fez seemed to exude something historical and less touristy in contrast to other areas. As we began scouting for a dreamy riad (or dar) Dar Roumana just had something special. It exceeded all of our expectations from the very beginning. Upon our arrival into the medina we were escorted by a friendly local attendant to the dar, where we walked past a couple of donkeys along the cobbled narrow streets, and could smell fresh bread from the communal ovens - only to be presented with the most unassuming building ever.
The dar was set up by Jennifer Smith 11 years ago, where she took on the challenge of restoring the building and has been operating as a magical place for guests to rest whilst exploring Fez for the last 8 years. Zak and Simo are your hosts, a friendly and welcoming devoted duo that took over in 2016. They manage the dar and ooze Moroccan hospitality, paying attention to the smallest of details after having assisted previous managers Vanessa and Vincent. Younes is the Head Chef of the restaurant, masterminding an array of dishes on location. We recommend tucking into some tasty morsels that ring to the fine tune of grilled octopus, roasted lamb tenderloin stuffed with apricots, pecan nuts and oregano and seasonal salads - most of which has been sourced locally. Best to make a reservation to avoid disappointment, as this place is very well known for its Franco-Moroccan cuisine in a fine dining setting.
We were impressed when we entered our temporary palatial and glorious home away from home and welcomed by the team, the high ceilings, mosaic tiles and opulent rooms are exotic and cosy. During our stay at the Argana suite we were pleasantly roused from our sleep by a bird chirping away as it left the birdhouse nestled high up in the courtyard. The sound of the water trickling from the fountain during breakfast service also takes us back to a relaxing and serene scene.
Aside from being greeted by a smile and having traditional Moroccan biscuits baked on site; you can take advantage of the library that is open to all guests and has a worthy selection of books both fictional and travel, based on Morocco. You can also enjoy a very admirable view of the internal courtyard, and there is a little mezzanine area where you can use the computer and check on emails if you wish. The pièce de résistance is the rooftop, where you can have breakfast served in the mornings and squeeze in a seat sipping on tea in the afternoons. The rooftop terrace has been carefully arranged with certain areas having their own intimate pockets in the space, so you have the option to socialise with others or simply unwind alone and enjoy your own company. Upon request, Vanessa can name some of the best places to eat, reputable shopping places and offer concierge services such as day excursions and cooking with a local family. Note there is only one TV in a singular room with a DVD player in the whole of the riad; with a whole ancient medina to unlock in beautiful fez, we didn't make any use of it at all.
- Room safe
- Wireless internet
- Ironing board and iron
- Air conditioning and heating
- Walk to restaurants that are offsite
- Breakfast included
- Intimate restaurant
- Henna treatment upon request
Rate - Start from 90 euros per night for two
Location - north of Fez Medina. Close to parking at Ain Azleten or Bab Guissa
Suitable for - couples, friends, those travelling with a small child should book a suite
Tip - Book Yasmina Suite and make sure you have dinner at least one night on the rooftop.
Images © Dar Roumana