Riad Maison Bleue — not to be confused with La Maison Bleue, a palace hotel by the same owners — is the grande dame of the Fes riad circuit. Once the home of philosopher Aziz Lahbabi (he has a suite named after him) it’s actually composed of three interconnected riads, which means the interiors are a maze of terraces, stylishly appointed courtyards, and assorted nooks, all adorned with antique clocks, statues, and framed yellowing Arabic newspaper clippings lining the hallways. The main entrance courtyard also happens to feature the largest riad swimming pool we’ve encountered yet. It’s not heated, though, and given the cooling shade from the soaring orange trees that surround it, we’re not sure when might be a good time for a dip.
If you’re staying here, you have prime access to its celebrated restaurant, well-regarded cooking school Maison Cordon Bleue, and lovely rooftop spa — all of which make the Riad Maison Bleue a major medina tourist attraction in its own right. After a long, sweaty day of sightseeing, you’d be doing yourself a favor by getting pampered with a thorough scrub at the traditional hammam. The seasoned staff will slough off your skin and leave you feeling baby soft — the 45-minute process might be a little abrasive for some, but it’s well worth it, especially if you follow it up with a soothing massage.
The 18 suites are each unique, ranging from thoroughly authentic to über-modern with some local details added for good measure. If your stamina is not the best, ask for one of the older rooms surrounding the pool in the courtyard; otherwise be prepared to conquer dozens of narrow steps winding up and down at random en route to some of the other suites. The room to book is the modern, mirrored Mallika suite, complete with marble floors (a nice change from the tiling that’s ubiquitous in Moroccan riads), latticed woodwork above the beds, a spacious lounge area, and a lovely little vertical garden with a skylight.