The SLOW movement, which was born at the end of the 1980s in Italy in response to the increasingly frenetic lifestyle of Westerners, was first and foremost concerned with gastronomy: Slow Food. The restaurants that are part of the slow food trend provide market cuisine that favours local and seasonal products.
The Slow movement could have been just a fad, it actually spread all over the world, this phenomenon has gradually gained the world of travel with the Slow Travel , which is becoming a sought-after and appreciated criterion for travellers who wish to take the time to discover the chosen destination in all its dimensions and give priority to the quality of the moments lived.
The spirit in which we created Riad Souafine is resolutely Slow Travel and for more than ten years now, customers have appreciated what they didn't necessarily expect to find when they arrived.
This is confirmed by the fact that the average length of stay at Riad Souafine is increasing steadily. The city of Fez welcomes tourists for 2 nights on average, while in Souafine the average length of stay is 4 to 6 nights depending on the season.
The Slow Travel is not a marketing tool because it requires the respect of some basic principles and rules that are easy for travellers to observe.
Responsible and solidarity tourism, ecological footprint reduced to a minimum, contacts and discoveries of the local environment, respect for local customs are the main principles but the most important of all is to be able to "take the time" to live your stay.
The medina of Fez is not something you just "look at", it needs to be lived and felt.
The often stressed traveller, who arrives at Riad Souafine is immediately seized by the serenity of the welcome he finds once he has passed the door. A mint tea allows him to settle down. The presentation of the medina, the useful advices that we give him at this moment as well as the important information about the country, the people and the region that we bring to him all along his stay, are as many colors that we offer to him so that he can realize his own "painting" at his own rhythm and according to his own desires.
In the morning, the slow travel takes all its meaning at Souafine because it is possible to have breakfast from 8:30 a. m. until waking up, no matter what time of day you get up.
The rhythm of each individual is thus respected. The only constraint is that dinners are not served after 9 p. m. in order to respect the tranquillity of all our guests.
Also the gastronomic pleasure that we bring to our residents is resolutely in the spirit of slow food.
Our chef Hassan prepares every day for our guests meals that reflect the best Fassie cuisine, prepared only with fresh products from the region and the season. Riad Souafine owns a small traditional farm in the nearby Middle Atlas where our gardener cultivates organic fruit for the Riad and harvests our figs, pomegranates and almonds. The olive oil, which we use, extra virgin, first cold pressing so delicately scented, comes exclusively from our chef, Hassan's family estate located in the vicinity of Fez.
The dinner itself is a succession of Moroccan dishes that are enjoyed without haste. They are like a journey into the world of perfumes and tastes played like a musical score in five movements.
Fez Saiss airport is located about fifteen kilometers from the city of Fez, Royal Air Maroc, the main Moroccan airline, provides direct daily flights to France and via Casablanca to the rest of Europe or the United States. The opening of the Moroccan sky is in full swing and new airlines are serving Fez, such as RYANAIR, TRANSAVIA or AIR ARABIA from Europe, and the new airport inaugurated in mid 2017 has the ambition to accommodate up to 2 million passengers per year. Numerous new connections to and from Europe are now available, as well as two new domestic routes: Fez / Marrakech and Fez / Agadir.
Tranfer Airport / Riad Souafine :
To facilitate your arrival in Riad Souafine we can organize the transfer by Taxi Tourism from the airport. The official fare is 150dh (14€), hardly more expensive than the collective taxi fare (120dh) which must be negotiated on arrival. Moreover, the Tourist Taxi driver that we reserve will wait for you at the airport even if your flight is delayed, he will know exactly where you are going and will notify us of your arrival in the Medina, which will allow us to send you a member of the Souafine team to help you carry your luggage.
Morocco is a Muslim country, Moroccans are by nature welcoming and hospitable. Fez, spiritual and religious capital of Morocco, does not deviate from the sense of hospitality but it is useful to know some rules that allow to better respect the sensitivity of the people of Fez. In addition to clothing, especially for women who should not be too suggestive (avoid deep neckline, mini skirts or shorts, ultra short body....), the behaviour must also respect the culture and people of the country, such as not drinking alcohol in public, avoid emotional manifestations that are too amorous in public ….
To be invited to a Moroccan family to eat is frequent and it is often the occasion of a real feast even for the most modest families who do not hesitate to sacrifice a significant budget to honor their guests. In Europe the good education wants the guests to finish their plates, in Morocco it means that you are still hungry and that there is not enough food prepared for you which dishonors the family that receives you.
Mosques in Morocco are forbidden to non-Muslims (except the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca). Fez has around 300 mosques, from the small prayer room in the neighbourhood to the prestigious Qaraouiyine, the doors are often open and one can admire from afar the interior architecture and the magnificent decorations that adorn the courtyards. It is not advisable to take pictures.
The sacred month of fasting for Muslims is a special time for tourists, the life of the Muslims is a little bit special. It is adapted to take into account the constraints. Administrations and institutions open early in the morning and often close at around 3pm or 4pm (depending on the season in which Ramadan takes place). The shops in the medina open late in the morning but stay open late at night.
The cafes and restaurants are mostly closed during the day and only a few open during the Ftour (fast break). Bars are strictly closed, as the sale of alcohol during Ramadan is forbidden even to foreigners. In the medina it is possible to find one or two small restaurants open for lunch. On the other hand, luxury restaurants are open.
During the daytime it is better to avoid smoking and eating in public so as not to provoke hostile reactions, or so be isolated in a quiet and little frequented place. This respectful attitude will be appreciated by the Moroccans. One hour before the Ftour, a frenzy takes hold of the people who rush to do their last shopping in the souks or to return home in time for the breaking of the fast. The streets suddenly empty themselves. It is a magical and impressive moment. After the Ftour the streets fill up again until late at night.
Ramadan, is also the evening when people meet after the break-up to listen to songs and music or to share tea with friends.
Good to know: During this period and especially in the next few years when Ramadan will take place during the hot period, the nightlife is more intense, families go out and walk longer to enjoy the coolness.
A centuries-old tradition still in force may surprise the tourist: the night during the month of Ramadan passes in all the districts of the Medina (and also in the new city) a man charged with warning the inhabitants that it is the hour of the last meal before sunrise. He uses a kind of drum or sometimes a traditional trumpet.
As in all Muslim countries, Friday is the day of great prayer and is therefore the equivalent of Sunday.
In the Medina all shops close on Friday around midday while in the new city the closing is on Sunday.
The administrations and banks are closed in both cities on Saturday and Sunday.
Visiting the medina of Fez on Fridays is not without interest because it is easier to move around and it gives a better view of the architecture.
Friday is also the ideal day to make an excursion in the Fez region.