Cheeky and I had previously been staying at the Four Seasons of Casablanca and they kindly lent us Adil, one of their best drivers to escort us in his Audi Quattro A8 for the 243km journey through the Moroccan desert to Marrakech. As a big fan of road trips this could not have been better, with fascinating conversations and storytelling from Adi whilst the stunning scenery of Morocco rolled past our windows. When we arrived we were sad to say goodbye to Adil, but also excited to arrive at Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences of Marrakech with its very grand entrance. As we drove up through the gates and under the vast canopy we felt like VIPs arriving on very important business; and that important business was to be the business of sheer and indulgent relaxation. We wished Adil a safe journey back to Casablanca and made our way into the Four Seasons of Marrakesh.
We were shown through to the main lobby, a vast, light open area beautifully and simply decorated; this was an area that one could sit in and watch the world go by. I particularly loved the area in the centre open to the skies above and the giant bird cage where tiny birds sang their sweet songs. Eventually we made our way up to our pool-view terrace room, a comfy affair with fabulous views of the gardens and the Atlas Mountains in the distance. All of the 139 rooms and suites have balconies, terraces or gardens, some with private plunge pools. Due to the resort’s position between the ancient Medina and the local cosmopolitan neighbourhoods, the views are mostly of the resort’s forty acre Moorish gardens and the Atlas mountains in the distance, so it does not feel like one is staying in a city but rather a tranquil garden hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the Medina.
Once settled we made our way outside to explore the pools. Whether it was high season or not, the pools did not feel crowded at all, this may have something to do with the great use of architecture and trees around the pools and main hotel. The atmosphere seems to promote relaxation, with plenty of spaces to recline, take in the sun and generally unwind. Despite the Moroccan architecture, the pools had a quality of ancient Aztec architecture with their straight lines and blocks of stunning stone; getting into the swimming pools felt like stepping into an ancient Aztec pool, a very relaxing change from the standard blue and white pools that frequent so many hotels. There are two pools, one simple 40 metre pool for the adults and a separate adventure pool for families made up of whirlpool tubs, stone walkways and various nooks and crannies for the children to explore. When not bobbing around in the pools, one would just lounge around the pool letting the cares of the world dwindle into insignificance. Cheeky and I particularly liked the fact that the waiters would bring around little treats in the shape of sorbets or ice creams to keep one cool under the heat of the Moroccan sun.
Dining by the pool was a real pleasure too, especially when the Sun was at its most extreme. The Azzera restaurant by the adult pool is set in the shade under a canopy of vines, whilst fans create a gentle breeze to help one through the barmy heat of the day. In this very relaxed, mediterranean style setting one can order Italian haute cuisine like fire-grilled meats and fresh fish to healthy salads or delicious ice creams and sorbets.
With the fast pace of modern life one should take time out to relax and do absolutely nothing now and again; so I would certainly recommend whiling away the hours of the day by the pool at the Four Seasons Marrakech, only stopping from time to time for some refreshments or cocktails at the Azzera restaurant, your mind and body will thank you for it. If one has children, the hotel has an activities program that will keep them entertained and out from under your feet throughout the day from arts, crafts, sports, treasure hunts and cooking through to camel riding, quad bikes and hot air balloons. If you can not bare sitting still, then there are also activities programs for adults too as well as amazing Yoga, tennis and fitness facilities, possibly some of the best that I have seen.
That evening once the sun had dipped behind the palms, it was time to wash away the sun cream and smarten up for a dining experience at the Solano restaurant, an Italian style restaurant situated right in front of the hotel. The setting was magical, with our table right by the long pool of fountains and rows of Palm trees that lead the eye towards the crimson illuminated architecture and the vast night sky with the moon shining upon us like a bright silver button. El Habib was to wait on us for the evening and so we commenced proceedings with a cocktail in the shape of La Vie En Rose, a sweet and subtle pink drink made from gin, ginger, rosewater and Lychee which flowed down the esophagus like a fresh mountain stream. It was then time to peruse the menu and decide on our food for the evening.
To begin Cheeky opted for the beef Carpaccio served with shaved reggiano cheese, rocket salad (or arugula to the rest of the world) with truffle dressing; simple and traditionally Italian and absolutely delectable. I elected the soup. I had not been feeling too well and was lacking energy, so I requested the Chilled Tuscan beans soup with smoked scamorza cheese, crispy bacon and toast, however I asked for it to be warmed up and without any spice. As it arrived and I took my first sip I could feel the warmth enter my body; spoon after spoon I could feel the wholesome energy running through my veins bringing heat and energy back to my body. There is nothing like tasty food, but nothing beats tasty food that brings life back into the body and the mind. Seeing that we were in an Italian style restaurant we moved to the Primi Piatti course next with Cheeky choosing the Risotto Milanese which was super creamy with al dente peas and she loved the Taleggio sauce. Whilst Cheeky was chomping her way through the Risotto I chose another feel good food- Aubergine parmigiana baked in a wood oven with basil and mozzarella cheese, once again simple Italian fare that blew my taste buds. It was simply delicious with its perfect use of herbs, it somehow tasted like it had meat in there!
For Secondi Piatti I went with the Octopus in a cherry tomato guazzetto with squid-inked mashed potatoes. Wow! what a meaty texture and fabulous barbeque flavour, once again the Italian herbs bought the whole dish to life and the squid inked mash had a fantastic addition of a crust on top, a truly stunning dish, I am truly salivating just writing about it. Cheeky had selected the grilled beef tenderloin with green corn sauce. What arrived was thick as a brick but with the texture of pure indulgent meat butter and flavour to die for, the seasoning was perfection and the simple grilled mediterranean vegetables made the ideal union. We drank a red wine from producer ‘Les Celliers de Mekne’ the first vineyard in North Africa to obtain the classification of ‘Chateau’. The red ‘Chateau Roslane’ was supple with hints of red fruits and spice; clearly Moroccan wine makers have taken what they have learnt from the French winemakers and flown with it.
As well as the Solano, the Inara restaurant upstairs provides traditional fusion-inspired Moroccan cuisine with hints of Turkish and Lebanese. The Cocktails are divine and the wholesome kebabs served with various vegetables and rices are the best way to satiate one’s appetite, all with wonderful views across the fountains and palms. Even if you only go for a cup of Moroccan mint tea, make sure you sit amongst the cosy lights and look out over the grounds of the hotel, and if there is a slight breeze at night just ask for a blanket.
The Four Seasons Marrakech has been designed and build with one agenda in mind, to unwind the mind, body and soul. From the architecture, the interior design to the food and the drinks the place is a haven of sheer luxury. Whether sitting out on your terrace watching storms over the Atlas mountains, reclining by the pool, dining on one of the beautiful terraces or sipping mint tea in the lobby one feels a sense of calm and pureserenity. Dr. Adam says book yourself into the Four Seasons of Marrakesh, let them look after you and banish the stresses of life from your mind.
Four Seasons Resort Marrakech
1 Boulevard de la Menara