This is the most difficult review of our whole recent trip.
Firstly this place is as beautiful as it looks in the photos minus a little photo Sheen. As we were staying for a few days we had what was probably the best room in the house which was gorgeous and had a large shared balcony overlooking the main dining/relaxation area.
There is access to the rooftop and a great view across the cities of Fes (there are actually 3) and also some of the surreal landscape surroundings.
The included breakfasts were marvellous for us but may not suit everybody. The honey was magnificent as were the varieties of home baked breads including a writing style bread and crêpes. Also a number of times we had a very nice omelette with breakfast as well as beautifully fresh fruits/juices and good enough coffee.
Dinner we had only once there and it was excellent with a beautiful tagine at a reasonable price. However as everyone is asked to come at the same time it had somewhat of a boarding school feel as we were all served pretty much the same food at the same time and in common with our other meal at a Riad experience it was not a very social occasion in terms of interaction with the other guests being easy or occurring. This of course may please some.
The woman who does the cooking and heads the serving is very friendly and smiles all the time which is great and makes you feel very "welcome" as indeed they are always saying to the guests what we believe is traditional Moroccan fashion rather than friendliness overkill as we 1st thought.
Location is very good if you want access to the old Medina although you do need to cross an old dusty car park to enter the Medina. This of course might suit some who are driving and want to park the car there.
A little clarification to the less morocco savvy travellers or the pedantic– as our wonderful tour guide said this is actually a Dar rather than a Riad as there is no inside garden here but rather just plants in pots which are admittedly still very nice.
Now to the difficult part. There is a previous review in early July which accuses this place of dishonesty and theft. We read this before arriving and were somewhat concerned. For those considering this place and having similar concerns I will give our best assessment of whether you are likely to have anything stolen here and we would say no and that the owner is essentially a very honest man who takes pride in what he does. However he appears somewhat of a stress head and we suspect that every now and then he just does not quite click with certain guests. For most of the time we suspect other guests find him fantastic as many of the reviews attest (although as in many trip advisor reviews of these days we are sceptical of some of the more glowing reviews as having been generated by professional social media tout companies).
it was also interesting to us that the woman writing the bad review only wrote two reviews in her whole trip in Morocco and has written no other reviews anywhere. At the very least there appears to be some personal vindictiveness in the reviews indicative of a personality clash.
Further in terms of the greediness or otherwise of this place we can only say that when we arrived very early in the 1st morning they immediately offered us a full breakfast which was not due to us and for which they did not charge us and also over the course of the 3 days we were there we asked for large bottles of water a number of times and again were never charged for these on our final bill.
Our best guess as to what happened is that these women really did believe that they had had something stolen but that the manager could not believe that it had happened and that he went into their room while they were out trying to find the missing items as he was obviously extremely concerned not only for the reputation of his place but also in case the local authorities were to become involved. We met a wonderful Jewish woman living in Fez married to a Moroccan who apart from entertaining us with numerous accounts of her experiences in this situation said that she could not believe that this had happened as all the locals knew how incredibly hard local authorities would be on anyone jeopardising the tourist experience with dishonesty. We witnessed with our own eyes plainclothed police in the old Medina shaking down people they thought might have been pickpocketing.
Our final advice on the matter is give this place a go with confidence if it seems it will suit your needs otherwise and it is certainly far more friendly for example than the highly touted Riad Roumanna where we had a meal which we paid relatively speaking a hell of a lot for and really had very poor hospitality in terms of friendliness and welcome which are certainly not a problem at Riad Ahlam which is very welcoming.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Former traditional Moroccan palace built around a beautiful shaded patio, refurbished and turned into a lovely guest house accommodation in Fez, Riad Ahlam boasts two terraces offering breathtaking panoramic views over the medina. Ideal place for an unforgettable stay in the historic city of Fez, Riad Ahlam offers 10 charming rooms and suites, equipped with all the modern comfort, as well as a dining venues where guests are invited to discover the fine flavours of Moroccan cuisine.Located in the heart of Fez Medina, Morocco, the traditional guest house Riad Ahlam is a welcoming place to stay when planning a sightseeing tour of the Old Town Fez, within walking distance from its colorful souks and Bab Boujloud door ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Ahlam Hotel Fes