Riad Verus, Fez

by Andrew Stein

This traditional and authentic-feeling Riad set near the edge of the Fez Old Medina was as welcoming as any hostel I’ve stayed at yet. When I arrive to the front door after a bit of wandering, I am immediately greeted by name from an individual standing outside. This first impression sets the mood and I am ready for a great (even if short) time at the Riad Verus. The other travelers are very nice and all had unique and entertaining stories to share, but the staff’s friendliness and openness is what set this Riad apart.

Sunset at Riad Verus

On the first evening here, I listen to the beating of drums coming from the roof terrace and am drawn to them. I venture my way up to the roof and find a staff member and several travelers playing while watching the sun set over the Medina. Eventually a drum rotates around the circle to me and I start cautiously joining the group’s beat. Noor, one of the Riad’s staff members, is leading the session and I try to match some of his beats. After starting to feel more comfortable and gaining a little confidence, I step up to many of Noor’s challenges as he plays harder beats, and I eventually am able to find most of them if given enough time. The session then moves from a copy-follow format to trying to play complementary rhythms. With my hands unused to the drums wrath, they begin to glow red, but not red enough to make me stop as I am starting to really enjoy my lesson. We continue to groove for about two hours before eventually disbanding.

Sitting on the terrace with the sky casting new colors across its few clouds, playing these Moroccan drums made me feel right at home in Morocco.

Window in Riad Verus

Inside Riad Verus