My four days at Palais Amani felt like a retreat and a cultural immersion at the same time. Having been to Fez several times it gave me a completely different view of Fez with so much going on at the Palais, for true travellers seeking to discover the genuine Morocco. At the same time it was healing, the ambience and atmosphere both in the rooftop or the huge patio with the background of the birds made it an oasis of peace. I changed my mind on how to design a travel experience to Fez, even if there is nothing like the Medina, there is at the same time so much more than that. The daily yoga at 8am every day was magic. It is ideal for slow travellers, and for those who want to be in the moment.
AT A GLANCE
Palais Amani has a rich history, apparent across the architecture of the property: from the Iraqi stained glass windows to the Moroccan tiling.
It colours everything they offer: the ingredients at the Eden Restaurant and rooftop bar; the rituals and products they use at the Hammam; their storytelling evenings, courses in calligraphy and wine tasting. At their Fez Cooking School, you can learn all about Moroccan and Sephardic cuisine that you can recreate back at home. They are now an 18-room, 50-staff, family-run property and pride themselves on being the local choice. They are passionate about preserving the city’s heritage and giving back to the community.
ARCHITECTURE AND HISTORY
After four years of meticulous reconstruction and renovation, the Palais Amani opened its doors in April 2010. But the palaces origins date to as far back as the 17th century. The previous owners, the Lahlou family, a prosperous merchant family trading with Manchester, bought the palace in the 1920’s to be their family home.
Shortly after they bought it, a landslide destroyed most of the building, and the majority of the building was rebuilt between 1928 and 1930, using modern building techniques and architectural styles of the time, which explains the art Deco feel that the building still has today.
In the 1930’s and 40’s up to 50 family members lived together in the palace. Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and children lived together here in Fassi cultural tradition. During the French protectorate, the medina (ancient walled city) was used to control the indigenous population and curfews were frequent.
By the end of the 50’s, the medina was seen as a place of repression and after the departure of the Europeans, those who could afford to move out did so, moving into the new town that was seen as a place of free movement. In the last fifteen years, the treasures of the medina, that were run down and abandoned, have been given a new lese of life as both European and Moroccans alike have come to realise the full value of this incredible site.
When they bought the Palace in 2006 it had been uninhabited since the 1970’s apart from a guardian and his family who lived in what is now room 2. Their presence meant that the majority of the wrought iron, stained glass and exquisite (but tired) carved doors remained in the building for the day someone would come to restore them.
Eden at Palais Amani
Fez, spiritual capital of Morocco, is also the birthplace to the most refined and diverse cuisine. So, where better to venture than to the source itself for to discover Morocco through its food? From their Amani signature menu that showcases a variety of traditional classic Moroccan cuisine to their discovery menu that guides you on a journey of gastronomy of sensations, Eden is the natural choice for enjoying refined Moroccan food.
Dine in their hidden paradise under the mature citrus trees by the fountain, or in their exquisite dining room for an unforgettable culinary adventure.
Wine tasting at Eden
Morocco produces a number of excellent wines, the variety and depth of which are surprising. So as part of your gastronomic experience during your stay in Fez, why not book a wine tasting dinner. A 5-course menu will be specifically designed by the chefs to match a flight of the finest Moroccan wines. And a wine specialist will talk you through the complexities of the wines being tasted for a complete gastronomic experience during your meal.
Festivals and Events
Team buildings, business seminars, birthdays, weddings or honeymoons, the Palais Amani is the ideal place for such events! With over two decades of experience in the event and catering sector, they guarantee a great success at your Events held in the riad.
They have a broad and non exhaustive list of special menus for all types of events – starting from a morning coffee break to an evening tapas or buffet for major parties.
The luxurious hammam complete with separate exfoliation room, showers and relaxation area allow you to benefit fully from this tradition. Their assistants will introduce you to the ritual of purification, and for those who are adept, they will make sure that your visit leaves you relaxed both in body and spirit.
Their royal hammam begins with a hand and footbath, then hand and foot scrub using natural rose water and bran scrub. After a hair mask using white clay ghassoul (optional) you will be accompanied into the hot room for a black soap application and vigorous body scrub. A body mask and wrap is then followed by a gentle shampoo and body rinse.
At the Palais Amani is your safe space to cultivate mindfulness and learn to unite harmoniously in daily life:
Drop in morning classes by the great log fire in winter and on the rooftop at sunrise in the warmer months for a perfect way to start the day.
They offer a unique hiking experience on the Zalagh mountain at less than 30 minutes from the urban labyrinth of Fez’s medina. The elevation provides the ideal temperature for an escape from the heat and the walk along the top of the Ridge offers you stunning views of the entire ancient city, the Sebou Valley, Rif Mountains and Sais Plains. Your guide will bring you back to the perfect spot for a picnic and you will dine in the shade of the pine trees before walking back down to the car. Despite its proximity to the city, it is never crowded, much to the delight of mountain bikers and hikers alike.
Classic Rooms: The beauty of the building is that each room is different. In their smallest category, the classic rooms are cosy and low beamed with discreet views over the garden or the medina.
Luxury Rooms: The second category is the luxury. Elegant and refined, the luxury room has all the comforts of their suites and allows you to enjoy the opulence of their exceptional hotel at a competitive rate.
Junior Suites: Both the mezzanine and the luxury junior suites have a master bedroom, elegant salon and bathroom with choice of either bath or shower. They can accommodate an extra rollaway bed so can sleep up to three.
Senior Suites: In this category, all the suites have an additional single room for extra comfort. They can easily accommodate an additional rollaway bed so can adapt to sleep 4. Minimum dimension 45m2, they have a salon and dressing area as well as a spacious bathroom.
The Grand Suite: This splendid room covers the whole 100 m2 of the south wing. Salon, his and hers dressing rooms, espectacular bathroom and breath taking views onto the gardens and the hills beyond.
Misriah Apartments: Covering two floors and a total of 87m2 these apartaments can be booked for up to 4 adults and two children under 12. Only rooms to have views onto the street below and can be booked by combining an exceptional suite and junior suite category.