Hotel Sahrai, explore the ’Athens of Africa’
Hotel Sahrai is located in one of Morocco’s oldest cities. Founded as early as 789, the city of Fez is one of the largest medieval cities in the world and it also used to be Morocco’s capital until 1925. Despite the capital moving to Rabat, Fez remains an attractive tourist destination, having been listed as a World Heritage Site and boasting one of the world’s largest urban pedestrian zones.
Hotel Sahrai’s name translates to ’magic’ and its stylish depiction of African architecture does gives credibility to its name. Only a short trip from the city’s Saïss Airport, the hotel combines a modern design with the traditional – giving you an enchanting view of Fes’s minarates and marketplace. Both inside and out you will be greeted by traditional Moroccan features such as Taza stonework and Fassi ceramics which blend seamlessly with the more modern amenities.
There are four varities of lodgings to choose from, but they all encapsulate the spirit of traditional Morocco alongside a contemporary twist. Bathrooms are lined with marble and the large windows give you a wonderful view of the gardens and city below.
The centre-piece of the hotel is the Givenchy Spa, an oasis of peace and serenity.Bathed in natural light filtered through mashrabiya latticework, visitors are encouraged to unwind in a jacuzzi or treat themselves to a muscle-relieving Swedish massage on a terrace with a breathtaking view of the ancient city below. Also available are various pools, each with their own panoramic view. Givenchy offers a variety of other services, including a famed Moroccan treatment, performed with essential oils of mint, rose and argan.
As far as cuisine is concerned, Hotel Sahrai features several restaurants with a variety of menus; from local Moroccan flavours in ’Amaraz’, to Parisian gourmet menus at the ’Relais de Paris’ restaurant. More international offerings are also available.
In the evening, ’The Rooftop’, a bar with a distinctly New Yorkish vibe, serves cocktails on its huge roof terrace, under a star-lit sky. Concerts and live DJ sets are also organized from Friday to Sunday.
Venture Into An Ancient City
Fez is an ancient city with numerous attractions to students of history and culture alike. The labyrinthine Medina – the old walled interior of african towns – with its thousands of small, winding streets, is just a short walk away from Hotel Sahrai. Visitors can join one of the guided tours through the city in order to discover its unique history and culture.
Should tourists choose to strike out on their own, there are a number of landmarks for them to explore. The BouInania Madrasa is one of the oldest madrasas in the region, founded as long as 700 years ago. It is also one of the few religious landmarks in Morocco accessible to non-Islamic visitors, making it even more worth the visit to those interested in the local culture.
Another landmark, perhaps of special interest to scholars, is the University of Al Quaraouiyine, certified by UNESCO as the oldest existing, continually operating and the first degree awarding educational institution in the world.