Freelance travel writer, Susannah Osborne, travelled to Marrakech with Lawrence of Morocco in September 2012, writing for the Financial Times.
It was the late nineties and I was watching Kate Winslet in Hideous Kinky. As a young twenty-something, keen to explore the world, the film captured my imagination and I vowed that some day I would go to Morocco and experience Marrakech's medina, the riads and the magic of the country for myself. That was around 15 years ago - how time flies! But at the beginning of September I finally got to the Red City where, thanks to Lawrence of Morocco, I had the incredible privilege of staying at one the city's newest, most extravagant, and perhaps unusual hotels, The Selman (where the guests are treated like Hollywood royalty and the owner's private collection of Arab horses is stabled on site in architect-designed boxes).
The Jacques Garcia-designed hotel has a pretty big wow factor - I guess anywhere with an 80m-long pool and that took five years to build has to be pretty special - but it's the horses that really make this place out of the ordinary. I have, in my past, been a horsey person but it's been a while since I've even been for a hack in the country, let alone trek through Berber villages and have lunch in a nomad tent style served to me my a butler. But on the Selman's riding experience this is exactly what you get. After a morning on horse-back, taking in the stunning views and the panoramic silence of the Ourika Valley, I turned a corner to see the Selman's head chef hard at work cooking our not-so-hard-earned lunch, a huge tent with red carpet, leather chairs and coffee table books (put up and styled for our arrival) and even an ornate bell tent with a flushable loo!
So far, so five star. What followed was probably one of the best picnics in the world. The Selman certainly doesn’t do anything by halves, and as for Morocco, more of the same please.
The Marrakech images on this page were taken by, and are copyright of, Susannah Osborne.