After our three days in Essaouria, our same driver was back to pick us up and return us to Marrakech for another 2 nights. This time we opted to stay outside the Medina at a posh resort hotel. I was highly tempted to stay at The Four Seasons Marrakech but then I read about The Hotel Selman which was designed and decorated by Jacques Garcia who decorates in a very sexy, gothic style. The Selman is located just around the corner from the Four Seasons so they are in the same vicinity. In retrospect, I would book the Four Seasons for an actual stay but the Selman is drop dead gorgeous and definitely worth a visit – at least a stop for lunch or dinner to see the hotel, the Arabian horses and grounds.
Our room was a basic king but it had a large, shaded terrace, ornately tiled bathroom and the same lush, gothic decor with traditional lantern light fixtures and plush seating areas.
The Selman also had a very unique swimming pool. It was lined with large blue-green tiles that had been imported from Guatemala and was one long rectangle that started shallow at each end and slowly reached its deepest point in the middle. It was also temperature controlled so the water coming from the jets was warmer in the morning and gradually became cooler as the sun came out and the day heated up. It was very quiet and peaceful by the pool with maybe 5 or 6 other couples or guests lounging by it and swimming. It’s flanked by the different wings of the hotel and two restaurants on either end. You feel like you’re in an oasis or an Arabian palace.
My favorite part about the Selman was the extensive grounds which also had a large stable and paddocks because the owner of the hotel (who appeared to be the trust fund baby of a rich Moroccan businessman) breeds and shows Arabian horses as a hobby. The Arabian horses are bred and raised here and you can visit the stables anytime you like to visit them and they are absolutely beautiful. You are not permitted to ride the horses and they do ask that you not pet them as Arabian horses are a bit tempermental and have a tendency to bite but they do parade them around throughout the day. Our last pool day, we enjoyed a lovely al fresco lunch at the Selman’s more casual restaurant, called The Pavillion, which overlooks the paddocks where the horses roam during the day.
Overall, I enjoyed The Selman but I had a few quibbles. First, the A/C in our room simply would not cool the room enough for our liking and it was hot outside (over 100 degrees) during our visit. There were also some inconsistencies with service at the restaurants and bars. For example, our first night, I ordered a Hemingway daquiri (sometimes known as a Pasa Doble cocktail) from their bar menu and had a fantastic cocktail that was perfectly prepared. The next night I ordered the exact same thing and after 10 minutes, the waiter came out to say that the bartender (a different guy from the night before obviously) had no idea what it was and where was it on the menu? I showed him and he went back and eventually brought me a drink that tasted nothing like the previous one. Also, dinner our first night was outstanding and was a Moroccan-Asian fusion menu. We went back the next night to find an entirely different menu that was mostly Italian and the food was sub-par. I also found the service at the pool to be lacking. We laid out by the pool the entire day and I never once saw the waiters come out to ask us or anyone else if we needed anything. If you wanted a water, food or anything you had to get up and go find them. That being said, it is a unique and beautiful property and I would recommend a lunchtime visit to see the horses but I would stay at the Four Seasons Hotel around the corner instead.