One of the things I've loved about being in a country so foreign to me has been picking up all these cool "tidbits" of information I never knew before. Porter and I both are guilty of loving random facts. If neither one of us can sleep for some reason, we usually have the other one read out some list of random facts about some bizarre topic (nerdy, I know). It's because of this habit that I know the US dollar symbol used to be a U written over an S, then slowly eroded to a double line over an S, then a single one. It's also because of this habit that I know a portion of a dolphin's brain is always on so that it knows to surface for air even when it's sleeping, and that chewing gum has become less popular in the age of smartphones because people are occupied at the check-out counter. As you can clearly see, we're picking up a lot of useful applicable info ;).
Anyway, I felt like the entire time we were in Marrakech random facts were just falling into our laps on a daily basis, and I, for one, was loving it. A couple of things I learned were that all of Morocco was originally referred to as Marrakech, and that the word Morocco itself is just the Spanish word for Marrakech. I also learned that there are only one-humped camels in Africa, and that the two-humped variety exists only in Asia. Again, not life-altering information, but those are the sorts of facts I love.
During our time in Marrakech we had the chance to stay at honestly one of the most beautiful hotels either of us have ever seen, and Porter's number one pick from everywhere we've been the past three months: Selman. This hotel is so simultaneously quintessentially Moroccan and like nothing you've ever seen before that it just feels like the kind of place that can't be compared to other places. It stands alone. Here are some of the things we loved about our stay there:
The Spa Pools - Plural. As in, there were four. All were different temperatures, two were indoor, two were outdoor, and the spa interior itself had the ambience of being underground in a dark but lavish cave. I've recently decided that I'm a big fan of dark spas. I'm not sure why, but I just don't think natural light and spas should go hand in hand... Also, on the first day we got there they were teaching an aerobics class in the outdoor pool to a playlist of solely Drake. Porter and I were loving it.
The Horses - One of the ticket list reasons people go to Selman is because it's famous for its Arabian horses and stables. The lunch pavilion overlooks the stables and paddocks, and they even have an all white horse with blue eyes that is literally mesmerizing to stand in front of. In the mornings, their horse trainer will trot by you with two more horse's leads in hand off to pick up a guest or two for a morning of riding across the property. It's as picturesque as it sounds.
The Contrast of The Outdoor and Indoor - One of the craziest things about Morocco, to me, is the temperature drop. While it can hit well over 100 degrees in the daytime, at night and early in the morning, it is downright cold. What I love about Selman is that every outdoor space is designed exactly as you'd imagine in a place that withstands such intense heat. There's lots of light, natural, organic materials, and whites and the kind of bamboo-esque features you expect on a hot weather vacation. But then, on the interior, when night falls you could almost be at a ski chalet in Switzerland. The halls of the hotel have lots of carpet and dark accents, the indoor furnishings are very plush and they have heavy curtains and fireplaces that are lit up soon after sunset. It was like getting to experience the best of two climates in one space - summer days and winter nights.
The Music and Cocktail Hour - Besides having one of the downright coolest prohibition style bars I've ever seen, Selman brings in local musicians every night to serenade the guests during cocktail hour, or if they're having dinner in the fine dining restaurant or at the bar. We heard a lot of traditional Moroccan music during our time in Morocco, and this is what we expected when we saw the musicians setting up during our "fancy dinner" night at Selman. We were wrong. Instead, an incredibly talented guitarist went on to play every favorite Frank Sinatra song I've ever had twice - once in English, then again in Arabic. Every ear in the hotel was absolutely absorbed by the music, and it was one of those experiences that I wrote down in a "do not ever forget this" note on my phone. My personal favorite was when he sang "My Way" because it sounded especially striking in Arabic and because it's my favorite Sinatra song and somehow Port had never heard it before.
The Mosaic Courtyard - One of the most astounding parts of this hotel is the black and white courtyard you walk through to reach the halls where all of the rooms are located. On the first day we arrived we were told that it took a tremendously long time to complete because the mosaic was put together piece by piece. I think our photos only partially do this place justice, because, at night, when the light fell, it was almost three times as spectacular. The effort that went into creating that space was absolutely worth it. Porter and I must have walked through there thirty times during our stay, and every single time one of us had to pause and mention just how beautiful it was.
We're going to be sharing photos and a post about exploring the Atlas Mountains tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Hope you enjoy the photos!
Anna Lisa & Porter
*Thank you to Selman Marrakech for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts & opinions remain our own.