Without doubt, the most memorable place for families to stay in FEZ is in a traditional riad, the archetypal Moroccan city hideaway. Closing the door on the hubbub of the medina and retreating into an oasis of birdsong and tinkling fountains is a quintessential Moroccan experience – although the peaceful atmosphere and (at some places) unguarded stairs can be a bit of a challenge if you’ve got energetic youngsters or toddlers in tow. The following mix of unique places to stay is exactly that, and enjoying your Mini Break Fez at any of these will help your kids remember their visit long after your trip has ended.

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Secreted behind a stone wall in the quiet backstreets of Fez el Bali, 400-year-old RIAD IDRISSY was six years in the making. But the wait was well and truly worth it, and this beautiful riad has quickly established itself as one of the loveliest places to stay in Fez. The styling is exquisite, bringing together the finest aspects of traditional Moroccan design: painted ceilings and window shutters in the bedrooms, intricate stucco plasterwork throughout the main house, faded zellij tiling in the garden – a labour of love for Robert, the owner. Modern comforts come in the form of air-conditioning, rain showers and heated towel rails, though the rooms (and, indeed, the whole riad) is blissfully free of TVs. A couple of the double rooms can take an extra bed, but the top-floor Mensah is the pick of the bunch for families, sleeping up to 4 in a four-poster double bed and two singles. It comes with its own private terrace from where you watch the swifts circling over the rooftops of Fez el-Bali at dusk; listening to the call to prayer as it rolls out across the medina from up here is something you won’t forget in a hurry. All the rooms are decorated with tid-bits from Robert’s time in Morocco, and kaftans and babouche slippers are provided in each – another fun touch. Robert himself is charm personified, and his easy manner with children will win them over as soon as they walk through the door. Food is another big thing at Idrissy. You can help the cook roll couscous ahead of Friday lunch, or learn to bake different types of Fassi bread (550dh including lunch). The crumbling remains of a neighbouring riad have been converted into a delightful garden setting for lunch and dinner (open to the public between 1pm and 9.30pm), when you can try dishes such as b’sara, zaalouk and lamb pastilla.

To reserve your stay at Riad Idrissy, click here

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Set in the heart of Fez el Bali, RIAD LAAROUSSA is the stuff of dreams. Immaculately restored, this picture-book riad occupies part of a seventeenth-century palace, its hefty wooden door opening into a courtyard garden shaded by orange trees and an interior of graceful archways and mosaic floors. There are four rooms and four suites, each one taking its name from the colour of its tadelakt bathroom. Several of them sleep 3 people, a couple sleep 4, whilst interconnecting rooms on the first floor can sleep up to 6 between them; these (the Yellow and Blue rooms) open onto a snug salon, which is even cosier on colder nights, when a crackling fire is normally on the go. Families with younger kids are probably best off plumping for the Orange (sleeps 4) and Green (sleeps 3) rooms on the ground floor, which avoids navigating the steep stairs needed to access the rooms and suites on the floors above. Fred and Cathy, Laaroussa’s French-American owners, help foster a laidback atmosphere that makes this (like Idrissy) a more family friendly choice than many of the other riads in the medina. It helps that they have four sociable children themselves, who can often be seen around the riad, and that their accommodating and thoughtful staff are brilliant with kids, providing pick-me-ups of afternoon mint tea and biscuits. Breakfast is served on the sunny terrace; the riad’s restaurant does light lunches with a Mediterranean twist and traditional Moroccan cuisine for dinner (children’s meals available). Activities include guided trips to the market with Laaroussa’s chefs (older children can lend a helping hand in the kitchen if they like) and swimming in the pool, which is a good size for a riad and a perfect retreat from the dusty streets of the medina (it’s also heated in winter). And if you fancy treating yourself, the spa here is one of the best in Fez and features a traditional hammam (the riad can arrange babysitters).

To reserve your stay at Riad Laaroussa, click here

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