14 rue Mustapha maani, Fes, 33000, Morocco
Steer Clear from Here
These are the only positive things I can say about this hotel:
- The rooms are spotlessly clean
- The lounging areas and terrace are comfortable places to hang out
- The free wireless internet connection works great (outside the room)
- The CLEANING staff is friendly
- There are a few good restaurants close by (Zagora and Marrakesh)
- The tourist office is a 5 minute walk away
- There's a secure gate with surveillance video to keep things safe
Now for the negative:
- The English-speaking manager, Fatima is a slick salesperson (although she comes across as friendly), but you can not believe ANYTHING she says. Any transaction involving money with the hotel (services, tour guide rates, etc.) ...make sure you get it in writing. Otherwise, she will deny ever stating a price, agreeing on a price or quoting a price. For example, she quoted a tour guide for the medina for 150 dm (for "as long as you want"). This turned into 400 dm for the full day when the guide and I returned from our trip. I confirmed the price 3 times before ever having her arrange one (with a witness) and she claimed she never gave me a price...even once.
- Laundry service price: 30 Euro for one load (machine washed, hang dry)
- Dinner service price: 25 Euro per person (less than half at Restaurant Marrakesh two blocks away)
- The heater in the rooms are too small for the size. We had to leave the hair dryer on all night to help heat the room even though we were under 3 layers of blankets and the temperature outside was not below freezing.
- The streets around the hotel are really creepy at night. There are lots of drunks and scary characters that hang outside the gate.
- The use of incense is overwhelming throughout common areas. The scent of "moth balls" is not appealing.
- The price/value is terrible. You are better staying in a riad in the medina or getting a hotel in the Nouvelle area for half the price. I checked out three other hotels with equivalent amenities and they were about 38 Euros per night.
Unique Quality: For 69 Euros a night, I can't saying anything about this place was outstanding.
Directions: A few blocks off of Mohammad V in the Ville Nouvelle
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Live music in Fes?
My partner & I are going to be escaping xmas in Fes for 5 days - 23rd-28th December. We've been downloading Moroccan music to get a feel of it, and we'd love to hear some live music while we're there. Does anyone know where we might find some? We've never been to Morocco before and I realise that my partner as a male will be able to go to places I can't, but we do like to do everything together if possible.
RE: Live music in Fes?
Amazingly, Fez, the city of artisans, poets, musicians and the like, has no real live music scene to boast of. There are infrequent concerts sponsored by the Institut Francais or the Instituto Cervantes, the former having a beautiful riad called Dar Batha where concerts take place.
There is also the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music every year in June, drawing thousands to the city to hear some of the best world music on offer, in addition to local musicians from Fes, the Rif, and the middle Atlas villages. Of course, this doesn't help you for your visit!
You do see quite a bit of music on the streets, on occassion. Take a seat at one of the cafes just inside Bab Boujeloud for an hour or so, and you'll see plenty of "Gnawa" musicians making the rounds, playing for a few dirhams tip.
The question here isn't so much an issue of gender, its that the music of Fes, very much either a folk tradition or religious in nature, hasn't found a popular outlet, save the more expensive restaurants where with your dinner you will probably have live music of some kind. Probably the best places for this are the Maison Bleu restaurant in Batha, or the Moroccan restaurant in the Palais Jamaii. Both are splurges and I'd probably go with the latter for overall value, but you may also want to research other Riads that open their doors to outside guests, and enquire whether they will have live music during your stay- being high season and that the city will be full of tourists, I'm sure that more than just a few places will be doing something special with regards live entertainment. Out of curiosity, what Moroccan music have you been able to download?
RE: RE: Live music in Fes?
Thanks Chanito. I've been looking forward to hearing the Gnawa musicians.
I'm not actually sure what my partner downloaded, I'll let you know when I find out (there's so much music on our hard drive that we often play it once and never find it again!)
Travel Tips for Fes
In April of 2008 the city celebrated its 1200th anniversary of the foundation of Fez. There was an abundance of entertainers spanning several cultures and ranges of music. On one of the old walls of Bab Boujloud square, huge photos were projected on a 160m long screen covering 12 centuries of the countries history.
High Atlas Mountains - Water Source
Driving from Marrakech to Fes we left the lowland farming districts and climbed the Atlas Mountains which are snowcapped during winter. As it was September and the end of summer we did not see any snow, however the terrain was rugged and bare, with little grass and some some subsistance farmers with their small flocks of sheep and goats.
However we passed some large lakes, possibly dams which capture the water from the melted snow and provide irrigation for the rich farmlands which we had driven through for several hours after departing Marrakech.
Having visited the Dar Batha Museum just outside the Medina, we wanted to grab something to eat before running the gauntlet of faux guides and touts, knowing that we'd be entreated into various eateries and that our tummies might rule over common sense.
Just across the road from Dar Batha is the bar/restaurant of the Batha Hotel. We sat out in a nice courtyard, although the waft of sewage and the terribly uncomfortable metal seating somewhat detract from the nice surrounds. Staff are friendly enough, although I felt a little that the waiter was trying a bit of hard sell with coffee, salads, desserts etc. They offer the usual selection of foods, omelettes, brochettes and paninis - selection overall was a bit on the dull side given the costs. We opted for warm paninis, one of chicken, one of 'charcuterie' that seemed like ham, but I doubt very much it could have been.
This place also served beer (20 dh each) and wines. As mentioned, prices are at a more touristy rate and this you'll be sharing the courtyard with tourists too.
Overall, a nice enough place for an afternoon beer before or after hitting the Medina.
View from North Borj
Go up a winding road to the North Borj (16th Century fort) for a great view of the Medina. From the hilltop we could look down on the sprawling old city with its surrounding walls and pick out some of the landmarks.
One of the most fascinating parts of Fes is the Tanneries quarter (eastern part of the Medina, just follow your nose). Most of the shops in the vicinity have a viewing terrace, from where you can watch the colourful and smelly spectacle of how all those leatherjackets, bags, wallets etc. came into existence. The leather is first softened and cleansed in pools with bird dung, urine, chemicals and water, dried and then coloured in other pools. The stench is pretty hard to bear - certainly not ideal working conditions, something to ponder on next time you complain about your job in an air-conditioned cubicle. The trick with the tanneries is that one can`t leave without going through the different showrooms of the shop on the way back, and these guys are real sales professionals, I have to give them that.
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