Dar Sienna is INSIDE the Fez medina! This is what you want!
Don’t be misled by online descriptions of other lodges who often say, “10 minutes from Medina”. What this really means is other lodges will stick you in “new” town, surrounded by office buildings and paved streets crammed with Petite taxis, removed entirely from the antiquity and energy of pedestrian Medina life.
Dar Sienna, on the other hand, is the best of Fez! It is right in the medina, so you walk out your door, into studios of artisans and arches of mosques. You surrounded by locals, shopping and selling and running home from school.
#2: Best of Fez lodging for SPECIFIC LOCATION
Within the Medina, Dar Sienna has a coveted location. The Fez medina is arranged alongside 2 main lanes — one arabic for “steep” (maroon route in below map) and the other “gentle” (blue route).
These 2 lanes create an oval route through the Medina, starting at the famous Blue Gate at the top (the green quadrangle on left, and in photo), and ending in the heart of the Medina at the Moulay Idriss Mosque. Right next door, you’ll find Dar Sienna.
#3: Best of Fez lodging for UNBEATABLE SERVICE
It’s impossible to overstate the welcome and the service I enjoyed at Dar Sienna.
Ahmed was waiting for me at the train station to escort me from town and through the mind-boggling medina, right to the door of Dar Sienna.
He arranged dinner reservations for me, and even set up a waiter from the restaurant to walk me there, and back home. I eventually got comfortable navigating the Medina’s warren, but this gesture went a long way to breaking the ice for me.
Ahmed also came over to Dar Sienna, after 10:00 at night, to solve a problem for me. I sadly had to work on vacation, but what a relief to have Ahmed as my innkeeper! Not only did he text me instructions, he actually walked all the way to the Dar from his home, to make sure I was “up and running”.
THAT is good service!
4: Best of Fez lodging for HISTORY
Staying in Dar Sienna is complete immersion. You’ll be in the heart of the 9th century medina, next door to the great mosque, and surrounded by a virtual living history museum of northern Moroccan life.
Here are just 2 of the artisans outside your front door — a metalworker and the local bakery, or the 400-year-old farane.
#5: Best of Fez lodging for APPEARANCE
Dar Sienna has been lovingly restored by Fassi craftsmen, with care taken to protect its tile-covered staircases and wrought iron windows – check out its door!
Although many features from centuries past have been retained, I found it perfectly comfortable, with carefully chosen modern amenities . I even had a huge stone tub in my private bath!
My bed was comfy, my room was airy, and the whole place was immaculately clean.
#6: Best of Fez lodging for CULTURAL IMMERSION
Unlike cushy riads which prize themselves on their seclusion, Dar Sienna is immersed right in a neighborhood!
Although I was careful to respect the privacy of my local neighbors, it was delightful to hear them visit, parent their children, cook and dine up on their rooftops, right next door to my own.
My neighbor and I warmly exchanged waves as she hung laundry on her own rooftop, as I enjoyed a juice and the view on my own rooftop garden
#7: Best of Fez lodging for VALUE
Dar Sienna cost me about $75 per night.
That’s a big savings over the luxury riads, and it left a lot of my budget free for cooking classes and treks to rug auctions into the Atlas Mountains… AND for shopping. Warning: Fez’ artisan community will tempt you with ceramics, instruments, spices, and, their specialty, leather! I, myself, came home with this handcrafted platter which makes a great table and travel keepsake in my sunroom)
#8: Best of Fez lodging for PERKS
Did you know that you can be taught to bake Moroccan bread, right in the Dar Sienna kitchen! Or learn the art of cooking in a tagine (those conical ceramic dishes commonplace in north african stewing).
You have a built-in guide with Ahmed,
and Sabah will help you with your laundry and show you around the kitchen.
#9: Best of Fez lodging for TECHNOLOGY
I was shocked, I admit. Dar Sienna had the fastest, most reliable, and easiest wireless internet of any of the lodges I sampled during my trip. This includes luxury accommodations i enjoyed in Casablanca and even up in Granada Spain.
#10: Best of Fez lodging for ROOFTOP GARDEN
Even though Dar Sienna is a small, private residence, it has a stunning rooftop garden.
There are different levels, and covered as well as open areas, creating an interesting retreat, and many spots to privately enjoy the view, even if the Dar is full of guests.
Rooftop life is hoppin’ in Fez, so it’s the perfect place to get your bearing within the medina and observe (discreetly) some of the more personal aspects of local life.
I admit —
my favorite memory, from all of Morocco, is sitting on this rooftop terrace, watching the buildings turn from cream to peach, in the setting sun.