Through the Back Door at the Riad El Yacout, Fès, Morocco

The Riad El Yacout sits outside the medina wall near the gate of Bab Boujeloud. Along the one side the scene is dominated by a large construction site that is becoming a new hotel. This is where we first approach the riad because this is where the nearest parking can be found.

From this vantage the Riad El Yacout looks unremarkable – a long plain wall of indeterminate age with a few simple stairs leading to an old door framed in blue-tile. The riad’s name is splayed across the top of the wall and a large hot water solar system sits above it on the roof. I prepare to be underwhelmed.

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We go through the door and find ourselves in a simple hall with a stairway.

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It feels as if we have come in through the back door, through the servant’s entrance perhaps. However, after a few quick turns the enclosed hallway opens to the riad’s central courtyard.

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It is beautiful, perhaps all the more so after the simple entryway.

There does seem to be another door, one that opens into a fancier, more conventional hotel entryway, but we continue to use this back entrance throughout our stay. It is convenient, but I also like its simplicity and the fact that we share it with the staff. Entering here makes me feel like an insider instead of a paying customer who is just passing through. It’s an illusion, but Morocco is a land of illusion.

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