The stage is set. The lights are dimmed. From within the night’s silence, the soft sound of ruffled blades of grass can barely be heard. Suddenly, the flare of what appears to be white feathers flutters through the air. Their distinctive prance recognisable whether you are a horse connoisseur or not. They have arrived. The Arabians.
As they dance across the arena, full of self importance, grandiose, it’s evident these sleek creatures are loved on a heavenly scale in the Selman. As they are in most of Morocco. ‘The wind of Heaven is that which blows between a horses ears,’ says an old Arabian proverb, which still whispers to this day.
Jacques Garcia, the renowned designer, who incidentally renovated La Mamounia, seized upon this theatrical vibe when he orchestrated the design of the Selman. Black marble passageways, golden lanterns, chairs fashioned in rich purple and red velvet with swishing tassels, dark hand crafted traditional wood and of course life size portraits of the lords of the manor. A chandelier swings seductively in the reception, with an aura of burlesque naughtiness.
Past the chandelier and out through a grand doorway lies the epicentre of the resort. The pool. All paths lead to the pool, including the stables and two restaurants. Paddocks are perched on a raised platform beside the pool. In the evenings you can spend hours mesmerised by horses dancing through the paddocks, as if practising their routines, waiting for the curtain call.
Just 10 minutes drive from the hustle and bustle of the Medina; the Selman stands tall in one of the newest developed areas of the city.
Privately owned by the Bennani Smires family, the 61-room Selman embodies their dream of combining their two great passions, Arabian horses and hospitality. Jacques vision of making the hotel a sexy hideaway certainly seems to have worked, each room feels like a cocoon, heavy drapes keep the world outside, the TV is a mirror on the wall and the private balconies cry out for afternoon frissons.
Slip on a little black number and some Christian Louboutins and sashay to the bar. Sipping a cool cocktail is the best way to kick start the evening, before following the lanterns and the red carpet up to the Assyl restaurant. The epitome of Moroccan dining. Feast on Moroccan pigeon pastilla while being seduced by Bedouin folk music.
The evening culminates in the delicious equine ballet. The stars of the show arch their backs and stretch their legs solely for your pleasure as if in a courting ritual.
If the excitement of the night before has zapped your energy, try relaxing in the spa. It is the house of Chenot, an exclusive brand that thinks carefully about who it collaborates with. The spa sits just outside of the main atrium, past the mirror reflecting pool. The spa is inspired by the Orient; it has two private pools and exclusive treatments, such as the hammam and hydrotherapy rooms.
Before your final bow, make a promise to yourself as you make the short journey back to the airport. Promise that you will return for the sequel.