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“Amazing!”

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Riad Laaroussa Hotel and Spa
Ranked #2 of 100 Hotels in Fes
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 April 2009

Wow is all we can say! As Americans booking a bit on the late side and competing with a bevy of Madrillenos and Sevillanas during Semana Santa holidays we tried first for a couple of the riads more often cited in the standard travel guides. No success. One of the riads that was already full suggested Laaroussa and we are very glad it did.

Fred, your host, is a charming Parisian who clearly loves Fes and certainly loves running this riad and making each guest feel that his or her stay is magical. For him, Laaroussa is without a doubt a labor of love!

Where to start this rave review? We were equally delighted with the friendly and warm management and staff and with the gorgeous restoration Fred has done to this palacial former home of a Moroccan defense minister.

As respledent as this place is, we must first commend the staff. Samira, Fatima - check our their blog! - Fred, Reda, Norti, Larbi, the always helpful and generous Saba and the entire staff made us feel like we were old friends come visiting rather than strangers at an inn. We loved our day shopping in the food souks with "La Samira" - a legend of medina glamor in her Jackie O. Chanel sunglasses - and returning to the kitchen to help prepare lunch for the staff and that evening's tagine. This is clearly a place where people love to work and it shows in every detail and each smile and generous suggestion.

Laroussa is the kind of place one would enjoy checking in for a few days rest and relaxation in the middle of a hometown - let alone in its ideal location in the Fes Medina. The kind attentiveness started when the able and charming Larbi picked us up at the gate of the medina to show us the way "home," and didn''t end until the efficient checkout and fond farewells! At the same time, it must be said that the staff clearly values the independence of the guests' choices in guides, outside dining, excursions, shopping, etc., and there is never a sense of being smothered by an I-know-better harangue or being didactically directed to or away from any of the many wonders of Fes and its surrouding attractions (I mention this because this is not always the case in Moroccan tourism - the staff at Laaroussa will be happy to give their recommendations if asked but are equally happy to let the independent traveler chart his or her own course and those who might appreciate a more distanced courtesy in service are treated with equal respect).

And don't forget to enjoy the convenient and extremely relaxing on-premises hammam! The steam and expert massage made us feel like we were honored Abassid emissaries from Damascus come on official business with the Fassi court!

The riad has been exquisitely restored from the quiet, muted calm of the entryway - we only regret we forgot to sign what must be one of the world's largest and most adoringly notated guestbooks - to the opulent courtyard with it's orange trees and impeccable tiles and plasterwork to the lavish guestrooms. There is a feeling that Fred spared no expense in the decoration. Because of the combination of late booking, decision to prolong our stay for an extra night in Fes before moving on to Marrakesh, and because we were lucky enough on only a few days notice to be joined by a close friend from Milan, we became well aquainted with several of the suites and rooms at Laaroussa - each of which was superbly designed with great style and a sense of relaxed detail. While maintaining high standards of comfort, each had its own particular brand of contemporary Fassi luxury. And the beautifully tiled bathrooms in each of the suites and rooms are large and well appointed with robes and toiletries. We stayed in both the green and the gray suited and would be hardpressed to say which is more magnificent. The rooms are equally stylish.

The rooftop has marvelous views of the medina and is a relaxing place to take breakfast weather permitting or to just get away from it all.

Although - with the exception of the Nikes everywhere - the medina has change dlittle since the 10th century, and its streets are filled with the traffic and noise of Fassis and tourists, donkeys, burros, shoppers, merchants, worshippers on their way to the many mosques, and perveyors of all the spice, textiles and pottery one expects to find here, and although the riad is smack dab in the middle of all of this, it miraculously remains a quiet haven - designed with authenticity but thankfully equipped with modern plumbing.

Everywhere at Laaroussa, inside and out, are lovely places to lounge,.take tea or just chill with one of the myriad books or magazines. This is what a riad should be!

Finally, the food! First it must be said that in a country of amazing breads, this was the very best we tasted in Morocco. Saba will arrange for mint tea - be sure, as everywhere in this country, to specify that you don't want it sweet (or not that sweet!) if that's the case - and delciious cookies upon your arrival or whenever you wish a little refreshment. The intimate dining room is not the palacial one found in some riads of this caliber but instead a relaxing salon with a fireplace that doubles as a lounge, an environment that can't help to invite warm conversation between those guests who are willing. The salads, tagines and bastillas were traditional but never old-hat and were lovingly prepared, and Samira and Fatima also mix it up a bit -a simple roast chicken was a refreshing change one night. Dessert might be a perfect lemon or apple tart or a superb bastilla with cream.

The only people I would not necessarily recommend Laaroussa to are those who do not want to enjoy the occasional polite greetings of Fred's handsome labs Bill and Tom and his equally charming cats Mimi and "Ze Cat" - but it must be said that the staff is mindful of any sense of intrusion and happy to call the animals away - but most of the guests during our stay were, like us, happy to give these adorable pets a little attention.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank tripadwiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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811 - 817 of 1,161 reviews

Reviewed 17 April 2009

my wife and I stayed here for 2 nights on our morocco trip and it was great. The riad looked magnificant. Great location. Service was excellent. Fred was amazing. You cant go wrong with staying here. Would I recommend this riad to someone else, YES YES YES. Next time we are in Fez we will definitely be stying here.

Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
Thank slumpey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2009

Fred (the owner, originally from Paris I think), Sabah (his manager), and Samira the chef, were all great examples of top level service delivered in a friendly and relaxed manner. We were guests in the Blue Room - very elegant and comfortable with a fine view of the open courtyard below. One minor complaint was that the blue bathroom was rather dimly lit. We accepted Samira's invitation to join her on her shopping trip in the Medina for the raw materials for dinner that evening - all extremely fresh, and the chickens still alive when selected! The resulting meal under the stars in the courtyard was not to be missed! This riad was built in the 18th century as a government minister's residence, and many of the original features have been retained. I enjoyed a very relaxing massage in the spa on site. The riad is located in the heart of the medina with immediate access to the market stalls and shops. The serenity within the walls of the riad, and the hustle and bustle of medina life outside is only kept apart by one substantial wooden door!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank peppertree60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2009

Fes was our first stop on an 8 day trip through Morocco. We stayed 3 nights at the Riad Laaroussa. As previous reviewers mentioned, the riad is stunning. The room we stayed in was "The Green Suite". The ceilings were 30 feet high! I felt like royalty staying in this room. Sabah and the entire staff were extremely helpful and friendly. They really made our stay perfect. I also suggest dinner at the riad. It was extraordinary. Samira is a fantastic chef who heads the kitchen. Looking back I wish I had booked a longer stay because she will take you to the market and schedule a cooking session. Last but not least the spa... the interior was very calming with candles everywhere. It was nice to come back at the end of the day and take a traditional steam, black soap and a massage. The products they use are superior and the treatments are relaxing. Morocco is a fascinating country and everyone we encountered were so welcoming. We will return to Riad Laaroussa in the near future. Inshallah.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BBeauty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2009

We had the pleasure of staying 4 days at the Riad Laaroussa, a gorgeous place, and interesting choice of artwork, but the best feature besides gorgeous suites was the staff. It felt that they really cared about guests's wellbeing and experience. It felt like I was at home, everyone was so caring. Fred and his partner are wonderful hosts, they'll sit down with you to find out if you encountered any problems, very caring individuals. Sabbah and Samira were also a delight, they will do anything for you! I came to Morocco with my daughter, but never felt insecure (they will have someone escort you to and from a restaurant in the Medina). I cannot wait to go back ! A very special place, do not hesitate for a minute! Riad Laaroussa exceeds all expectations!

  • Stayed: February 2009
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Thank roxylady12559
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2009

We decided to book accommodation inside the medina, and travelling with two youngsters on early teens, this Riad sounded a good choice.

Getting there worked perfectly, we were driving, so after parking we phoned the Riad, and in less than 5 minutes someone appeared to take our luggage downhill, through the small streets. Takes less than 5 minutes to get there.

From the outside, nothing hints of what we find inside: a garden with orange trees and a small fountain. The room was, well, roomy; lots of space and a fireplace in the room, with two extra beds in a mezzanine. We could fit the four of us without feeling crowded.

The view from the terrace over the medina is great, either at late afternoon or early morning. We had dinner one of the nights at the Riad, and the food was great, very tasty. A quite nice introduction to Moroccan cuisine. Breakfast on the terrace is also a plus, and one of the better memories is the strawberry jam, really delicious.

We spent only two nights there, late February. It can become cold at night, but the fireplace in the room is a small luxury we did put to use. It was so good that "modern heating" was not necessary. The quality of bed and pillows was outstanding. You really feel like sleeping at home.

The best way to visit the medina is to hire a guide, which we recommend for a first acquaintance with the surrounding area. The medina is really a maze.

If one day we decide to go back to Fez, going back to Riad Laaroussa will certainly be part of the journey.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with family
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Thank travelfromportugal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2009

I stayed at Riad Laaroussa with 6 schoolfriends in celebration of our 60th birthdays.
when we got to the front door of the riad, our hearts sank, thinking we had booked a dump. what a contrast as we walked into the courtyard - we gasped in disbelief.
the actual building and the rooms have been restored and refurbished tastefully and sympathetically. Sabah, Samira, Hind, Reda - they were all wonderful - so polite, charming and helpful.
The food was excellent. although a little pricey. Some of the girls had minor problems in their rooms vis a vis plumbing. Also, the rooms were rather cold in the evenings. We stayed in three riads in Morocco and Riad Laaroussa was by far the best.
We were very sorry to leave this Riad and definitely intend to return soon and stay for a few days just for the beauty and peace and tranquility the place offers.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank DARESSALAAM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Riad Laaroussa Hotel and Spa

Address: 3 Derb Bechara | Fes medina, Fes 30000, Morocco
Phone Number:
Region: Morocco > Fes-Boulemane Region > Fes
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Fes
#1 Spa Hotel in Fes
#1 Romantic Hotel in Fes
#2 Luxury Hotel in Fes
#8 Business Hotel in Fes
Price Range: £93 - £215 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Riad Laaroussa Hotel and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the heart of the Medina of Fez, Riad Laaroussa opens its doors to you for an exceptional place in a relaxed atmosphere. An immense 17th-century palace, 8 suites and rooms surround a beautiful courtyard with orange trees so that you can relive the splendor of Fez. A huge terrace, pool and garden, a variety of spacious living areas, comfortable and warmly decorated and a very caring staff are at your disposal to make your stay memorable. At Riad Laaroussa, you can also enjoy our spa with a private, authentic hammam and relaxing massages as well as enjoy quality Moroccan cuisine on one of the terraces with breathtaking views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riad Laaroussa Fes
Riad Laaroussa Hotel Fes

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