We traveled to Morocco May-June 2015. It was and still is one of my favorite trips I have ever taken. Morocco exceeded my very HIGH expectations and settled itself firmly in my heart as a must-return to destination. When I began planning our trip, I knew I wanted to stay in unique riads instead of standard “big box” hotels while in Morocco. Early in my planning for the Fes portion of our trip, I came across the Riad Rcif. And. That. Was. IT. I scrolled through the website in a flurry of excitement and then pulled my husband over to my monitor to look at this impossible gem. He agreed it looked amazing and that was the first place we booked for our two week trip that took us from Casablanca to Tangier to Fes to the Sahara Desert and High Atlas Mountains to Marrakech and finally back to Casablanca. The Riad Rcif was our FIRST choice for the entire trip.
Located in the Old Medina of Fes, the Riad Rcif is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a former palace and was built in 1372. It was restored to its opulent former glory in 2012. It boasts hand carved cedar ceilings and doors, hand laid zellig mosaics, intricate columns and hallways, over the top exquisite furnishings and SO MUCH COLOR. The stained glass doors and windows in each suite facing out to the main courtyard were as mind blowing in person as they were in photos. The whole place glows like a jewel box. Honestly, it seemed impossible that something like the Riad Rcif could exist in real life. Riad Rcif is currently ranked on Trip Advisor as #6 out of 216 riads in Fes so clearly, lots of people love it as much as we did!
Getting to the riad was a bit of an adventure. It is located in the Rcif neighborhood of the old walled medina (hence the name Riad Rcif). We met someone from the property who then walked us through endless tight alleyways, winding our way back to the riad.
When we finally made it to the front door I turned to Sam with an anxious, “Well…I hope this is ok?!” look and the door opened. You should know that what you see on the outside of riads in the medina and indeed throughout Morocco is NOT indicative of what is INSIDE. We were immediately overwhelmed with color and mosaic and height and carvings. It was too much to take in! There was a large, opulent courtyard with plush seating in the center filled with light from the sky above (there is a covering to keep out the elements). After discovering our room we went up to the roof and discovered more sitting areas with a panoramic view of the Old Medina of Fes below. The next four photos are from the Riad Rcif website:
After floating around the terrace we made our way back down to our room on the first floor. Stairs in most riads are very steep so you really get your workout going from floor to floor. I chose the Ambassador Suite because in photos it overwhelmed me with stain glass and mosaics. Sam wasn’t sure he was going to be able to sleep in such a colorful “busy” room…
I truly felt like I was a queen staying in a palace. Everything felt so sumptuous and over the top. My one complaint and sadly it is a big one…the bed. Hard as a rock. Well, maybe not a rock…but definitely a few steps beyond firm. We tried amending it with pillows and cushions from our sofas but we never really got comfortable. If they could just replace mattresses this place would be a 10 out of 10!
The bathroom was amazing as well. These photos are from the website as mine ended up a little too dark.
Breakfast was plentiful and really good. We ate our lunches and dinners out in the medina so I can’t speak to any other meals at the riad but we did love breakfast. The owner and staff spoke pretty good English but I used French to help with communication and that worked. You have a great advantage in Morocco if you speak French or Arabic. Most hotels will have an English speaking staff but your best bet is speaking French. We actually got lost one afternoon in the medina and the way we got home was a local who spoke no English but some French helping me navigate with directions. Thank you elementary, middle school and high school French! Wooohoooooo!
When I look back on our time in Fes my favorite most colorful memory is of this riad. It was extraordinary. If you are ever planning a trip to Morocco you must first, GO TO FES and second, stay at the Riad Rcif. Trust me on this; your senses will thank you!