I don't even know where to begin, it's only been a few hours since we landed back home and we are quite overwhelmed by the magic of this trip! This was our first ever visit to Africa, to Morocco, to Fez. We were lucky enough to find an amazing concierge/travel service who paired us with Le Jardin des Biehn. We chose LJDB after a lot of deliberation and not knowing much other than we wanted an authentic experience staying in a Riad in the Medina.
Le Jardin des Biehn is a magical place. It is a large Riad with only 10 guest rooms. This means that the rooms - even the standard ones - are large, airy and roomy. Not only are they large, but each room is beautifully curated and quite unique and significantly different from the others. Michel Biehn who owns this property is warm, friendly, an immensely chic world traveler, art connoisseur, food lover, cook book author and antique dealer. All of this and more shows through in this exquisitely and thoughtfully refurbished luxurious Riad. Attention to detail is remarkable from the hairdryer placed in a hand woven wicker basket, to the variety of books placed on the bedside table, to the organic and natural bathing soaps and shampoos in the naturally lit, stained glass embellished bathrooms.
We were quite fortunate to be visiting during Ramadan. We had originally chosen to stay in the 'Turk in Love room' but after one night decided to explore the other rooms to see if we could perhaps choose another for a different experience. Houcine, the property manager was kind enough to give us a tour of the property - he btw, is an expert at managing all the minute details too including our entire itinerary during the time we were there. We fell in love with the Caliph suite and spent 4 glorious days there. The Caliph suite was ridiculously perfect and unimaginably beautiful. From the 19th century hand painted Iranian mirror on the wall to the 200 year old woven and embroidered - museum quality - hanging behind our bed, this room continued to delight us with little surprises.
The thing is, the rest of the Riad is like this room - full of beauty, both hidden and apparent. The garden is especially wonderful. It is wildly exotic and hovers romantically between a garden let loose to nature and one that co-exists via gentle but minimal pruning from human hands. It is also full of very happy, singing birds. There is also a wonderful little 'gourd' gallery for want of a sweeter name that is a happy and eclectic collection of gourd vessels from all over the world. It's such a nutty surprise and only adds to all the overwhelmingly delicious eye candy in this perfectly curated and authentic Riad.
The Hammam is spectacular - a not-to-be-missed experience. Tag along a massage and it is bliss! Do this every day that you are there, and you won't want to go back home. Fayima and Ayesha who are the hosts of the spa were warm and incredibly adept at their jobs. We walked away feeling like we were walking on air.
The Fez Cafe has wonderful and delicious food, served daily. The meloui was spicy, flaky and the best we'd tried and the staff makes you feel like you are a part of the Biehn family. Soufian, Azzeddine and the talented Saad and his equally talented sous chefs kept us perfectly satiated by generously plying us with plates of baghrir, meloui, honey, argan almond butter, home made jams and glasses of fresh orange juice, and wonderful Meknes Rosé wines. We are now, thanks to them, a happy but reluctant 5 lbs heavier.
Mohammad the delightful and joyful doorman always had a smile on his face and no trek through the medina was ever too long for him - we were grateful for his help many times. Without him, we'd still be roaming around the intricate alleyways, bumping into walls! Do not hesitate to ask Houcine to send someone with you to get from point A to point B. While it is fun getting lost in the Medina, it's even more fun getting to know the Medina through someone like Mohammad.
For us, the icing on this already magical experience was meeting the owner Michel Biehn. Our morning and evening conversations with him will be treasured always. He is a remarkable and passionate ambassador for all that is Fez. Without him, we would not know, enjoy, and experience as much as we did in Fez. If you do visit and notice a wonderful always-smiling gentleman clad in a beautiful Djellaba - do smile and engage him in a conversation. You will find your visit exponentially enriched. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have stayed at Le Jardin des Biehn and to have met all the wonderful people who make up the family there - Michel, Houcine, Azzeddine, Soufian, Mohammed, Saad, Fayima, and Ayesha. We hope to come back soon! Le Jardin des Biehn is exceptional. Stay here!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Le Jardin des Biehn is a large Andalusian garden in the middle of the Medina of Fez, scented by Isfahan roses, jasmin, orange blossom and bergamot. All around stands the summer palace of a Pasha : nine rooms and suites, a restaurant, a spa and an art gallery. It is a place of harmony and charm, of luxury and fantasy, of shadows and light passing through the palms, lulled by birdsong and the murmur of fountains. ... more less
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