Hôtel Sahrai enchants travellers with its above-and-beyond service, skyscraping palm trees and city-facing infinity pool; all very apt for a hotel with a name meaning ‘magic’. A short spell in the traditional hammam or zellige pool should do the trick for travel-tired arrivals, but the real magic has to be the rooftop bar, its panoramic sunset views and cocktail-conjuring bartenders.
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome cocktail at the rooftop Jungle bar; Moroccan sweets and fruits in your room.
Double rooms from £160.05 (MAD1,995), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of MAD3.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a suitably palatial spread of Moroccan and European breakfast delights in the Amaraz restaurant – get medina ready with savoury staples, pastries, fruits, crêpes, yogurts and fresh juices.
The hotel was designed by French artist Christophe Pillet – bringing zellige pools and local stone cladding – but its hand-carved curved-arch façade is in keeping with the property’s previous use as the summer palace of French army general Marshall Lyautey.
At the hotel
WiFi, free shuttle to the medina, fitness room, spa, infinity pool, four restaurant and bar spaces. In rooms: Nespresso machine, desk, tea-making facilities, TV, bathrobes, safe, minibar, glass bottled water, Acqua di Parma toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms have period features with a sprinkle of modernity; but the deluxe view rooms do what they say on the tin – expect vistas over minarets, medinas and mountains that make morning curtain-opening even more magical.
Skyscraping palm trees, padded double day beds and tasteful dining tables border the infinity pool overlooking Fez’s maze-like medina. If you’re not content with sweating from the heat, workout at the hotel’s gym equipped with TechnoGym machines.
The Givenchy Spa was designed by spa-specialist Patrick Ribes; its traditional hammam and zellige-tiled jade-green Jacuzzi will have you floating back to your room. The five treatment rooms offer spellbinding massages, facials and body treatments using marocMaroc products.
Lightweight maxis and loose-fitting linens to show your respect to one of the holy cities of Islam (and the heat).
Four fully accessible rooms can be found on the ground floor, and there’s lift access to every other part of the hotel.
Extra beds can be added to rooms for 700 MAD; a children's menu is available for in-restaurant and in-room dining.
Whether you prefer to eat poolside or on your private terrace, the concierges will be happy to arrange a table to your liking.
Go wild with colours and fabrics in the Jungle bar; refined in the Relais de Paris; or bell-sleeved and kaftan-clad for the Moroccan-spirited Amaraz.
With two restaurants, rooftop tapas, an open-air wine lounge with fireplace and a marble-clad bar under the arches, there’s little reason to leave the hotel in search of dinner. Amaraz’s city-lights view and luth player create a relaxed atmosphere. There are plenty of international options for pickier patrons, but we’d recommend the ‘flavours of Morocco’ menu – sample delicate tchicha, traditional harira or crisp pastries. Relais de Paris appeals to lovers of Parisian brasserie dishes (the steak frites is a staple). Sunday brunch is also served here, and comes with a recommended pairing of local rosé – which seems sensible. Breathtaking views will bring you to the Jungle bar where you can pair fruity glasses of sangria with Moroccan tapas.
The hotel’s rooftop Jungle bar is golden-hour glow on steroids; bartenders will conjure up a jug of sangria while you take in the spellbinding African sunset. The adjacent Lyautey lounge is great for fire-side wine tasting. The poolside marble-clad Arcades is a Fez institution under the hotel’s arched façade, with city views and a stand-out Jasmin Mojito.
Breakfast is available from 7–10.30am, lunch and brunch from 12 noon–4pm, and dinner finishes up at 11pm. Arcades bar and Jungle bar are open until late.
A separate room service menu is available until 1am featuring moroccan salads, beef tagine and chicken nuggets for the little ones.
Hilltop Hôtel Sahrai overlooks Fez’s maze-like medina, and soaks up plenty of north African sun.
Fez’s airport is half an hour from the hotel, and welcomes flights from a handful of European cities including Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona and Rome. Contact the hotel directly to book transfers.
It’s six minutes by car to the Sahrai from Fez station, where you can link easily with Marrakech, Tangier and Casablanca.
With a medina that’s pedestrian-only and pollution-free, you might opt to do without wheels. That said, the Sahrai does offer private parking, and if you’re looking to hike the Middle Atlas Mountains, a car will come in handy for reaching the start of the remotest trails.
Worth getting out of bed for
The staff at the Sahrai can abracadabra you to an array of local experiences including cooking classes, drum-making workshops and handcrafting inside Fez’s famous tanneries. Fez’s medina is certainly worth a visit – its car-free labyrinth of streets feature 12th-century architecture and exceptional eateries. Survey the souks or relish in the cooling walls of a café while sipping on a fresh mint tea. Those with a spirit for adventure might head to the Middle Atlas Mountains to explore the hiking trails, cedar forests and views across the desert, stopping at a rural mountain village – Azrou or Imouzzer Kandar are good options – for a local tagine lunch cooked over charcoal. Slightly further afield is Ifrane – Morocco's little Switzerland – designed to remind French settlers of home; or spa town Moulay Yacoub where you can spend the day in thermal baths, dipping in and out for a massage or three.
A tasting menu of 10 local-produce-led dishes are served during an evening at Nur, whose chefs proudly blur the boundaries between art and gastronomy. The Ruined Garden offers tapas and salads in their wild garden in summer, or hearty stews by a cosy fire in winter – and their vegetarian options are particularly good. La Maison Bleue is the best of family cooking, with recipes passed down through generations still sitting tight on the menu – including cardoons, pastilla, veal kammama and berber couscous. The Sahrai’s sister property, Riad Fès, boasts fine-dining Fassi cuisine in the Gayza restaurant; dishes will have tongues tingling from the warming spices.
Café Clock is a good choice for breakfast and lunch; start the day with caramelised banana-topped pancakes or berber eggs, or stop by around noon for an extensive selection of falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, citrus salads, or hearty sandwiches. Locals flock to Thami’s, a street-food-style café serving renowned chicken pastille, plum tagine and other cheap eats without frills, but with exceptional flavour.
Islam is the main religion in Morocco and so cocktails can be relatively hard to come by, but riad rooftops are usually your best bet – including lively La Mezzanine, a terrace bar with frequent DJ sets and gigs; or the more tranquil Gayza le bar where you can sip rioja to the sound of flowing water and scent of orange trees. For a full wine-tasting experience, arrange an evening with the sommelier in the Sahrai’s own Lyautey lounge.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this hilltop hotel in Morocco and unpacked their kaftans and Moroccan cooking class recipes, a full account of their medina-mooching break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hôtel Sahrai in Fez…
Much has been said about sensory overloads in Morocco – sweaty souks and manic markets being just the beginning – but Hôtel Sahrai appeals to the senses in a completely different way: sandalwood aromas drift through the lobby, warming light floods the eyes through floor-to-ceiling windows and geometric under-foot waterways connect you to nature – despite being 10 minutes from the city. Dine on Parisian cuisine by the infinity pool; indulge in a muscle-relieving massage on a terrace overlooking Fez’s medina; or unwind in the jade-green Jacuzzi which is, in itself, as large as a small pool. You could quite easily spend every waking second at the Sahrai – its many restaurants and bars make sure of that – but getting out into the Medina and the bordering Middle Atlas Mountains will make the rooftop rosé even more worth it, promise.