Coordinates: 34°04′09″N 04°58′27″W / 34.06917°N 4.97417°W / 34.06917; -4.97417

View of the hotel/palace and its adjacent gardens on the skyline of Fes el-Bali
View of the hotel/palace and its adjacent gardens on the skyline of Fes el-Bali

The Jamai Palace, also known as the Dar Jama'i or the Palais Jamaï (Arabic: دار الجامعي / قصر الجامعي), is a historic late 19th-century mansion in Fes, Morocco, which was subsequently converted to a luxury hotel. It is near Bab Guissa in Fes el-Bali.


The oldest pavilion of the building was begun in 1879 as the residence of Si Mohammed ben Arbi el Jamai, who, along with his brother,[1][2] was one of the Grand Viziers of the Alaouite sultan Moulay Hassan (ruled 1873–1894).[3][4][5][6] The same family also built and owned the Dar Jamai in Meknes (now a museum), built around the same time.[7][8] Upon the ascension of Sultan Abdelaziz and his Grand Vizier Ba Ahmed (whose family were rivals to the Jamai family) in 1894, the Jamai family lost favour with the court, some of its members were arrested, and its property was seized by the state.[9][10][11]

A view of a living room in the palace in 1925, before expansion.
A view of a living room in the palace in 1925, before expansion.

In 1927 the palace was expanded by architect Edmond Gourdain (1885–1968), and in 1929 it was purchased by the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique who transformed it into a hotel for their North African tours.[4] When the company ran into troubles, the hotel was purchased by the Compagnie des chemins de fer du Maroc (ONCF). In the early 1970s, a major new wing, five stories tall, was added.[4][5][6] In 1998 the property was bought by the Accor group which renovated it and reopened it as part of the Sofitel chain.[12][9] The hotel closed again in 2014 and is being renovated again.[13][14]


A room with a large window in 1925.
A room with a large window in 1925.

The original palace was built in a Moorish-Moroccan style and was surrounded by gardens, on a hill overlooking much of the city near Bab Guissa, the northern gate of Fes el-Bali.[15] Like other palaces and mansions in this style, it included carved stucco and zellij (mosaic tilework) decoration.[16][17] Subsequent expansions of the hotel have modified the palace grounds and added a modern five-story wing, but have continued to pay tribute to the original Moorish style.[6] In addition to the old pavilion from Jamai's time and the new wing of the hotel, the grounds also include extensive gardens in an Andalusian or Moroccan style (based on the riad model), which partly surround the palace. The gardens include traditional fountains decorated with zellij tilework, including a particularly ornate wall fountain.[17]: 116–123 


  1. ^ Parker, Richard (1981). A practical guide to Islamic Monuments in Morocco. Charlottesville, VA: The Baraka Press. p. 147.
  2. ^ "Dar Jamaï Museum | Meknes, Morocco Attractions". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  3. ^ Touri, Abdelaziz; Benaboud, Mhammad; Boujibar El-Khatib, Naïma; Lakhdar, Kamal; Mezzine, Mohamed (2010). Le Maroc andalou : à la découverte d'un art de vivre (2 ed.). Ministère des Affaires Culturelles du Royaume du Maroc & Museum With No Frontiers. ISBN 978-3902782311.
  4. ^ a b c "Histoire du Maroc : Palais Jamai, Patrimoine universel. – Cabinet Consulting Expertise International" (in French). Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  5. ^ a b "Les poids lourds investissent le secteur de l'hôtellerie". L'Economiste (in French). 1999-06-02. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  6. ^ a b c "Palais Jamaï : l'histoire au présent". Aujourd'hui le Maroc (in French). Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  7. ^ Mezzine, Mohamed. "Dar al-Jam'i". Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  8. ^ "Dar Jamaï Museum | Meknes, Morocco Attractions". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  9. ^ a b "THE VIEW FROM FEZ: The Saga of Palais Jamaï Continues!". THE VIEW FROM FEZ. 2017-07-11. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  10. ^ Burke, Edmund (2009). Prelude to Protectorate in Morocco: Pre-Colonial Protest and Resistance, 1860–1912. University of Chicago Press. p. 41.
  11. ^ Pennell, C.R. (2000). Morocco Since 1830: A History. New York University Press. p. 108.
  12. ^ "Hôtellerie: Le nouveau départ du Palais Jamaï". L'Economiste (in French). 1999-05-24. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  13. ^ News, Morocco World (2017-07-18). "ONCF: MAD 572 Million to Renovate Jamai Palace in Fes". Morocco World News. Retrieved 2020-06-15. ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)
  14. ^ "Hôtellerie: le Palais Jamai de Fès réouvert en 2019". 2017-07-11. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  15. ^ Le Tourneau, Roger (1949). Fès avant le protectorat: étude économique et sociale d'une ville de l'occident musulman. Casablanca: Société Marocaine de Librairie et d'Édition. p. 222.
  16. ^ M. Bloom, Jonathan; S. Blair, Sheila, eds. (2009). "῾Alawi". The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T001442. ISBN 9780195309911.
  17. ^ a b Métalsi, Mohamed (2003). Fès: La ville essentielle. Paris: ACR Édition Internationale. ISBN 978-2867701528.