La Maison Bleue Fez in Morocco
La Maison Bleue Fez: An Exquisite Heaven On Earth
The hotel name ”Blue House” originates from the blue color of the floor and wall tiles in the hotel. The raw material of this simple and plain blue color is produced in Fez. The hotel still retains its original look, without deliberate designs. The hotel’s façade is very narrow and the front desk is just a small table. At this point, guests might be somewhat disappointed, but the waiter will take the initiative to show you around the house with confidence.
After pushing open the two creaking and not very wide old wooden doors, guests will be all truly surprised. This is a 10squaremeter and threestorey high courtyard, with the sun shining from top down and making it all bright. The surrounding walls are simply a work of art. The walls in the front and on both sides have three arched doorway openings with iconic Muslim symbols, and the openings are big in the middle and small on both sides. On the back of the wall is a huge doorway space, and from the ground up the wall about a meter high are covered with simple patterns decorated with traditional Moroccan hand carved ceramic tile mosaics, but the geometric mosaic on the wall past the doorway is the most complex and delicate, with appropriate color collocation, scattered but pleasant to the eye. Local people call this art form Jellige, which is one of the traditional crafts in Morocco. The most eyecatching features are the plaster decorations around the fourwall doorways and the windows two layers up, which is another unique skill in Morocco. The brass candlesticks on the table and the brass decorative utensils on the floor are also hand carved, which presumably consumed more time.
Along the narrow and steep stairway that only accommodates one person, I went upstairs to my room. The most striking feature was the antique wooden bed with hanging white veils on three sides. The carved wood was lacquered in dark colors, in stark contrast to the white hand knitted yarn. The cupboard and decorations in the house were all old objects. The round arched window was a semicircular piece of glass with colorful mosaics, adding color to the monotonous walls, like the floral glass window in the church, but it only had geometric patterns instead of figures, animals or plants, which is closely related to the nonidolatry principle of the Islamic tradition. The style of the ground and the wall was the same as the courtyard below, all made of carved ceramic tiles. On the wall hung some ancient style paintings, or handmade porcelain plates. The sofas in the room corner and in the restaurant downstairs were all covered with thick flannel, which had been bought decades ago from Britain according to the master. All rooms kept their original layouts, and no two rooms are exactly the same.
The hotel restaurant is behind the doorway of the three walls in the courtyard, which is very dim and mainly lit by the candles on the table. The candlesticks are tall and hand carved in bronze. The hangings on the wall are made with olden fabric, which is different from the room. The tablecloth and the dining cloth are special items, interspersed with local handmade embroideries with the names of the guests on it. Silk is is not produced by silkworms here, but extracted from aloe. Locals will tell the guests that their silk is extracted from the plant, rather than animals.
When the dinner is over and the guests start to leave, the master would stick around and slowly walk up and down, exchanging greetings with the guests. If you feel like talking, he will sit down next to you with two cups of Moroccan tea, and tell you about local customs and history. At this time, far away from the hustle and bustle of the restless and moneychasing cities, you are ready to step into a distant yet brilliant era with him.