My friend and I stayed at the Riad Laayoun for 3 nights and enjoyed dinner there twice. We arrived in Fez at about 8pm after a long 10 hour drive from Imlil in the High Atlas. Our driver had trouble finding the right gate into the medina, and when we finally found the Place R'Cif, one of the locals there ran to tell Jean-Claude that we had arrived. What a relief to see the tanned, charming Jean-Claude arrive to guide us back to the Riad. He sent our luggage in a cart by a different route (no steps), and then led us through alleyways, waving and greeting the locals "Bonjour!!" all the way there.
Rachida had prepared a delicious meal of soup, lamb tagine, salads, and a dessert pastilla for us. Our room was the saffran suite downstairs. I was concerned that the heat might be a problem because of the time of year, and I thought the riad was not air conditioned. The room, however, had an air conditioner which kept us nice and cool, and the rest of the riad was pleasantly cool as well.
The next day, Jean-Claude arrange a guide for us - Malek. He took us all around the medina and even extended his 1/2 day with us to a whole day. When we'd mention the time, he'd say that he was having such a good time with us, that he wasn't concerned about going over his time. He is an English tutor, and took us to a small cafe in the medina that is owned by the family of one of his students for lunch. His student took us into the small kitchen and let us taste several different dishes before we ordered. The food was delightful and the price was so low! He showed us everything we asked to see and even carried our shopping packages, earning him the nickname "Husband".
The next day Jean-Claude arranged a driver for a trip to Meknes and Volubilis. We had dinner again at the riad, and at our request, Rachida made us chicken pastilla which was delicious. She really is a wonderful cook.
The next morning our flight was at 6am, so Jean-Claude and Simo (always friendly and smiling) got up with us at 4:30, offered to prepare breakfast, which we declined...except for o.j., and accompanied us, carrying our luggage to the car in the Place R'Cif.
The location of the riad seems hard to find at first, but after coming and going a couple of times, it gets easy. After all the frenetic activity and crush of humanity and heat exhaustion of a day in the medina, opening the front door of the Riad Laayoun will make you say "Aaah, I'm home."
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A marvelous old house located in the heart of the medina close to the world's oldest university and the souks, built nearly 4 centuries ago. We offer to you 3 suites and 2 rooms with all the modern confort. Riad Laayoun is a marvelous place for your stay in the most beautiful medina of Africa. ... more less
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