We arrived in Fes at around 6 PM, which is, just like in Spain, the rush hour. There was a crazy traffic on the road, and we had a hard time in getting to the old town of Fes, where our accommodation was. We were even thinking whether this long trip was worth getting there. Finally we arrived at the meeting point, from where we were taken to the place that was going to be our island of peace in Fes, the Dar Serffarine. As you will read below, it was really the perfect place to stay in Fes.
We entered the Medina of Fes through the gate found on Rcif Square, and we walked through narrow alleys full of both locals doing their every day business, and tourists looking at different artefact stalls. We crossed a small bridge, we arrived at the Seffarine Square from where we walked through two more narrow streets , opened the door and… wow, we got amazed by the interior of the our dar (house in Arabic).
We looked at each other, and we asked ourselves: “with hundreds of accommodations (hotels, dars and riad) that you can find in Fez, how could we pick ours so well?”. Actually of course it was not pure luck, we did a whole lot of investigation before choosing our accommodation. Just as usual, we were looking for a place with a great personality, a place that had something uncommon and nothing massive. It seemed to us from the photos and descriptions we found on the web, Dar Seffarine reunited all these characteristics.
The Dar Seffarine is found in a perfect location in the medieval medina of Fes, just next to Seffarine Square and very close to many of the sights you must see in Fes. This place has a lot of style, and every single detail tells you a long story. The building is more than 6 centuries old and it’s a real architectural masterpiece. It can be noted that Alaa, the owner and architect who carried out the restoration, knows his job very well. First the eye he had in picking this place and then the way he carried out the renovation. Originally the Dar Seffarine was a family house, where the main place was the interior patio, and all the rooms were distributed in a “mirror style”. This means that on the ground floor there was a meeting room on one side, and another one on the other side of the patio, and where there was a room, facing it you found another room. Formerly, only the first floor was dedicated to the bedrooms, but later as the family became larger (the young generation stayed at home after getting married), two of the rooms downstairs were also converted into bedrooms.
The restoration of the building took 3 years, and nowadays it’s probably more spectacular than it was in its original form. Dar Seffarine is one of the finest examples of traditional architecture, forms part of the heritage of the city and it’s an excellent place to stay in Fes.
The courtyard is not open anymore as it was originally, but it’s closed from above with a beautiful glass window that lets in a lot of light, but at the same time it prevents the building from getting wet on the inside. The more than 4 meter tall cedar doors and the huge columns make you feel very small and at the same time the beauty of them leaves you open-mouthed. What else to stay, this patio doesn’t have to envy anything to the beautiful madrasas you will visit in Fes.
The meeting room
It would be more correct to say meeting rooms, since the distribution follows the original planning, and there are two rooms of this purpose facing each other. One of them is quite simple with some comfy armchairs, a perfect place to get connected to Wifi, whereas the other is decorated with these beautiful Moroccan lamps we love so much, the light of which creates magical “paintings” on the wall when they are turned on at night.
You might think now: “will they really talk about the kitchen now?”. Yes indeed, we present you the kitchen, since you will have access to eat and see with your own eyes how breakfast and dinner are prepared there. There are no secrets to be hidden in the Dar Seffarine, and even the kitchen has beautiful old wooden furniture.
The secret passage
First the kitchen, and now they invent also a secret passage? No, we don’t, there is really one and actually more precisely there are two secret passages on both sides in the middle between the ground and the first floor. If you don’t know that they are there, you won’t even notice them when you go up to the first floor. Both passages give to small inside terraces that look down to the main patio. These hidden terraces were originally created so that the women upstairs could always see what was happening downstairs, what kind of guests arrived, etc.
The terrace is one of the best places to spend some time at, while you stay in Dar Seffarine. The view of the medina from upstairs is simply spectacular, and you can enjoy both the sunset and the night lights of the city from here. It’s a perfectly relaxing place, from where you will see the hustle and bustle of the medina, but you will still feel to be very far from it.
There are 6 rooms in total in the Dar Seffarine, 4 on the first floor and 2 more on the ground floor. We have seen several of them, and each is beautiful and have something special itself. What really captures the eyes are the original floors, the ceilings made of cedar wood and the huge windows that give to the patio, which are also in their original form. The furniture in the rooms is very intimate and discreet, being in perfect harmony with the architectural features of the rooms itself.
Our room was precious and the huge window looking down the courtyard added a magical touch to it. We really felt inside, as if we were in one of those buildings visited by tourists, and we felt really lucky to spend a night there.
Breakfast and dinner
One thing really fascinated us during both breakfast and dinner, and what we didn’t expect to find, is that at the Dar Seffarine guests eat together at one large table. It’s like being in family, and in the end you learn a bit about the other people staying at the house. Eating breakfast and dinner together we heard great stories from the others, and they were lovely moments of sharing life and travel experiences. It’s such a great idea to make guests eat together like this!
The breakfast was one of the best ones we have had; a table full of fresh fruit, yoghurt, orange juice, fresh bread and a bunch of other things.
If breakfast was spectacular, what adjective do we need to describe dinner? When we listened to the other guests, telling us that dinner here was the best meal they had in Morocco, we thought that they might exaggerate. But after tasting all dishes, we had to recognize that they were right. We just have to tell you that Gábor keeps on dreaming about the dinner we had in Dar Seffarine. Typical Moroccan flavors and dishes prepared with love, it’s hard to describe the experience with words. If you go to Fes, and for some reason you can’t get to stay in the Dar Seffarine, we still recommend you to call them to book your place for dinner. We promise you it will be one of your greatest culinary experiences in Morocco.
What to stay about the staff and the service. Kate, Alli and the whole staff are lovely people who will help you with everything and make you feel yourself at home. Alli for instance drew usa map by hand with the streets of Fes, which was much more helpful than any printed maps we could have found. They tell you that “guests make this place shine”, but the truth is that the place shines for itself. If you visit Fes, we recommend you to stay in Dar Seffarine, a place ruled by peace, beauty and tranquillity.