Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ryad Salama Opens in Fez

Today The View from Fez was lucky enough to get a preview of the latest guest house to open in Fez. Ryad Salama (le luxe autrement) is not a traditional Medina house, but rather a superbly renovated riad that combines many styles. Too often a mixture of styles can end up as a confusing mess. Not in this case. The time and thought that has gone into its design has produced an elegant gem of a house that feels more like a home than a guest house.

The creative mind behind this enterprise is Michel Trezzy, a man with a lifetime of experience in the luxury end of the international hotel market along with forays into gourmet food and wine. He has worked in Dubai, in Boston, Florida, Disney Europe outside Paris and was the general manager of the Cascades Hotel at Sun City, South Africa.

Michel Trezzy is a generous and friendly host with a wonderful knowledge of good food, New World wines and, naturally, of Fez. Long-time residents will know of Michel from his time as a partner at Ryad Mabrouka. Arriving in September 2000, he spent a year and a half restoring Ryad Mabrouka and turning it into a successful business.

Michel has now opened his own guesthouse, Ryad Salama. The house was constructed early last century by one of the true aristocrats of Fez, Mohammed Chergui. Sadly it had fallen into disrepair and so this renovation was no quick fix. “When I first entered the house, I knew it was what I wanted and I had a vision of how it could be,” Michel reflects. It has taken much thought and five years of work to bring Michel’s vision into reality.

The location of the Ryad, so close to the major streets and accessible from Ain Azleten car park, make it a perfect base for exploring the Medina. In addition it has free Wifi and air-conditioning. Every one of the suites – delightfully named, Chocolatine, Clementine, Almondine, Aubergine, Eglantine and Capucine – have private balconies offering views of the central courtyard.

And this central courtyard is a work of art; the pool and beautiful gardens give the interior such a sense of peace and tranquillity that it is all too easy to forget there is a world outside. This is no accident, but the result of careful planning. As Michel says "My first impression of Fez was that it was both peaceful and amazing. What was amazing was that the people in the Medina can live in the Medina and have no need to go out of it. It is the same with the houses. Every house has a curved entrance so that the interior is not immediately visible, but comes as a surprise."

Remarkably the prices at this guesthouse are truly affordable, and as an opening special offer Michel is offering very good discount packages for all rooms, a night’s accommodation, welcoming drinks plus a superb French-Moroccan “fusion” dinner for only 1700 dirhams. A second night is offered at a large discount. This offer is only available from June 10 until September 10.

Always keen to hear about food, we asked Michel about the menu:
Gravelax de saumon à l’huile d’argan et zest de citrons confits (Michel's own homemade gravadlax of salmon with argan oil and zest of preserved lemons)
Filets de St Pierre aux cèpes de la forêt de Mamora (fillet of Saint Pierre with ceps mushrooms from the Marmora forest)
Epaule d’agneau au miel et à la cannelle (shoulder of lamb with honey and cinnamon)
Pastilla aux mangues (mango pastilla)
Filets d’agrume aux amandes caramélisées (citrus strips with caramelised almonds)

And Michel Trezzy is optimistic about the future. “We have had downturns in the past, after 9/11, after the Casablanca bombings and of course the present instability in some parts of the Arab world. But given the peaceful nature of Fez, the extended airport and stability in the region, Fez will again become a prime tourist destination.”

Contact details:
Tel (00 212) 535 635 730
Ryad Salama can be booked through Fez Riads where you will also find a map of the location.


RL said...

Good for you Michel. Under wraps for five years! The Mondrian effect/Iraqui glass is uperb. A+

Mahdi said...

What a stunning piece of work. Congratulations Michel.