Review of Riad Numero 9 Fes, Morocco
Riad Numero 9 is a petite, exquisitely restored and decorated late 18th century house at the heart of the Medina. Designer-owners, Stephen di Renza and Bruno Ussel, carefully restored the property using only traditional methods over a three-year period. The decoration of this richly embellished space makes it a true one-off: Asian, French and English antiques harmoniously cohabit, amplifying an ambiance of subdued luxury and charm. Each space has been carefully thought out to maintain quiet, relaxing areas that allow guests to “escape”.
Riad Numero 9 is a more intimate set-up than most riads in the Medina, with a mini courtyard and just 3 guest bedrooms. But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in style – Stephen is a designer by trade and traces of his past can be found throughout the house. The carefully thought out interiors are perfectly attuned with interesting antiques and objets d’art in every corner: a sunken Japanese table in the courtyard, celadon prototypes in the sitting room as well as a number of Asian artefacts, vintage English and French furniture pieces and Moroccan touches.
Upstairs each of the 3 bedrooms overlooking the courtyard has an individual charm up to glossy magazine standards. There is something, often surprising, to find in every nook and cranny: A pair of 1920’s fans from Italy in the standard room, a walk-in shower and bathroom-cum-hammam, complete with buckets and loofah in the junior suite and a collection of Moroccan, Asian and European styles seamlessly tied together in the master suite.
The roof-top terrace is worth the steep ascent, with some amazing panoramic views over the Medina and the hills beyond. The riad’s in-house restaurant serves well executed, sophisticated Moroccan food cooked by owner Bruno who managed a restaurant in the Marais district of Paris for 10 years. Try the excellent French/Moroccan set-menu dinners by arrangement, starting from £16.