Fez, Morocco

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Desert Escape Though often overshadowed by Marrakesh, its fashionable neighbor to the south, this medieval city is the real soul of Morocco. And with new boutique hotels opening in restored riads and dars, Fez is quietly coming into its own. Housed in a 17th-century palace, Riad Laaroussa(doubles from $126, including breakfast) has seven suites with mosaic floors and antique Fassi furniture, all looking out on an orange-tree–shaded courtyard. At Dar Roumana (doubles from $100, including breakfast), a century-old manse on a hillside, you can take Moroccan cooking lessons. The restaurant at Riad Ibn Battouta (dinner for two $88) serves traditional dishes, such as lamb tagine, on a glass-roofed marble patio. Within the city’s crumbling walls, 30,000 artisans fill the streets, brandishing everything from exquisite tiles to handworked leather goods. For a traditional Berber rug, head to Coin Berbère. At Arganza, you’ll find shelves of argan oil—derived from a native tree—which is known as “Moroccan liquid gold” for its ability to diminish dry skin and wrinkles.

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