advertisement

Pre-2000, the majority of quality accommodations in Fes were located in the ville nouvelle. Things have changed, however. The recent resurgence of interest in Fes, from both would-be residents and everyday travelers, has been the catalyst for an explosion of guesthouses, or maisons d'hôte, opening within the city's ancient walls. Although yet to reach the proportions seen in Marrakech, there is now a fantastic choice of places to stay here. What can be compared with Marrakech, however, is a dearth of decent budget accommodations within the medina, and the majority of better-value hotels in this price bracket are still to be found in the ville nouvelle.

Choosing where you stay in Fes is important. The distance between the medina and the ville nouvelle is, for most, too great to walk. For some this can be a blessing, with daily visits into the oppressively busy medina tempered by retreats back to the openness and greenery of the ville nouvelle. Some travelers, however, never set foot in the ville nouvelle, preferring the all-enveloping life within the medina. If you are visiting during the very hot months of July and August or the wintry and very cold months from November to January, these factors become even more important in your decision. Hotels in the ville nouvelle tend to include reverse-cycle air-conditioning in their rooms and can supply a welcome stream of hot water in your bathroom -- not-so-small factors that can be the difference between a good night's sleep and a bad one. Maisons d'hôte in the medina rarely offer any artificial climate control other than the odd fan or electric heater, and at times the hot-water supply can be erratic, although you can be certain that if this is the case, your host and staff will make more of an effort to assist you than those in the ville nouvelle hotels.

Having stayed over the years in both Fes's medina and ville nouvelle, I lean more toward recommending the medina. I've enjoyed staying in the ville nouvelle -- especially when my wallet hasn't been as full as I would like -- and watching the evening promenade on the landscaped avenue Hassan II is one of my favorite pastimes. However, nothing escapes the fact that you are missing out on the chance to experience daily life in one of the world's greatest living medieval cities -- without any real sacrifices to modern living.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.