A restaurant where you can spend the night!
Riad Número 9 is a micro hotel attached to a phenomenal restaurant, Restaurant Número 7. Dine at No. 7 and you won’t worry about getting lost in Fès’ confusing medina on your way back to your room (no matter how much you imbibe!). Just cross through the kitchen, and thank the chefs on your way home.
If you’re interested in food, Stephen di Renza’s place is a great base in Fès. His Restaurant No. 7 hosts chefs-in-residence who come to Fès to perfect their experience in the business side of running a kitchen while they dazzle you with their cooking skills. During my stay, Canadians Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and Phoebe Oviedo, who have extensive experience in Canada, Australia and the US, just started their three month stint. A taste of Canada and Morocco together (with a little Philippines and Australia thrown in for good measure)! No. 7’s lead, Tara Stevens, is an expert in Morocco’s food scene and always has something interesting cooking, including culinary classes.
On the other side of No. 7’s kitchen is Riad No. 9, a micro hotel with just three rooms. It is meant to give you the feeling of staying at a friend’s house in the Fès medina. It is ideally rented out in its entirety — it can sleep up to a dozen people, depending on the combination of adults and children (also using the two main floor salons).
Of the three main bedrooms in the riad, mine is the largest. The suite, really two rooms, is both sides of the top floor of the widest part of the riad. My bedroom’s furniture is all wood and the sheets are a lovely orange colour. Traditional rugs cover the mosaic floors, and, unusually, it has windows on both sides, open to both the courtyard and to the medina. Across a “bridge” over the courtyard is my bathroom and another sitting area. Towels are stacked high on two old barbershop chairs.
The room below mine has a bathroom just seven steps down the hall. And the room across from it has an ensuite. Showers at No. 9 are wet rooms, with both shower and toilet in the same area, and sinks in a separate place. Each is decorated differently and reflects the travels and the design taste of the owner, who is also the creative director for retail operations at Jardin Majorelle (the Yves Saint Laurent garden) in Marrakech.
Classical music plays from the riad’s central area where Ruby the cat holds court at the low table with sunken footwell. Bird cages — some empty, some occupied — provide both visual and auditory decor. Riad Número 9 is one of the tallest buildings in the neighbourhood and its location on the slope of the medina means the views from the rooftop terrace are great.