Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Riad in Fes

During my time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco I stayed in some pretty shabby hotels. Some were pretty "nice" from a PCVs point of view. And some were quite nice but those were the ones Peace Corps put us up in. 

Once visiting Fes I always wanted to be able to stay in a riad. Riad means house so these are usually old home converted into small, intimate, hotels, sort of bed and breakfast style. They are extremely nice while being completely traditionally Moroccan in decor. Of course I never dreamed of spending the money on one of those while living on a Peace Corps salary. But I knew that while visiting Morocco on my American salary a stay like this would be within my reach. 

I ended up getting online the day before our Fes visit to find a riad. I was attracted to the price and pictures of one called Riad Layla. It also happens to by my Moroccan name, so it felt very special to me. When myself and my two travel mates, Rababe and Jamie arrive in the old city of Fes, we were armed with a name and address. Luckily for us two Americans we had Rababe with us. After about 20 minutes, asking four people, and wandering through streets seemingly making no sense, a man walked us directly there. 

Once arriving at Riad Layla I was quickly filled with excitement and glee that I was finally living an experience I had been longing for. During the first hour I could not quit saying how cool everything was. We were served tea in the lobby, got a tour of the hotel, and were led to our room. I choose suite Sara, for my mom! We felt like we were in paradise, they even had air conditioning! We were met by lovely beds with rose petals on them and a bathroom with two gorgeous sinks and a rain shower head. We were loving our luxury. The hotel ended up costing around $130 per night or 1300 dirham, over half my Peace Corps monthly salary to put it in perspective. It's a bit more than I intended to spend but I was on vacation and I deserved a splurge. Plus I enjoyed treating Jamie, who's shoes I had been in and also Rababe. Sugar mama Alex. 

On the hotel roof or terrace we got a panoramic view of the entire city. After a day of touring we slept soundly like babies in a quiet, cool room, under clean white covers. In the morning we were served a delicious breakfast at a table on the roof. I even got a huge cup of coffee! With just six unique rooms, Riad Layla was an intimate way to stay in Fes. It was an experience that I could quickly become accustomed to.