So there we were on my birthday, celebrating with a little R&R in a beautiful private riad on the grounds of the Selman Hotel in Marrakech, after almost every one of my 35 friends had returned home from close to two weeks of living a #Travelife all over Morocco.
THE SAME PRIVATE RIAD
TOM CRUISE STAYED IN,
We’d taken this beautiful private riad at the Selman that supposedly was also occupied by Tom Cruise for something like three weeks, during the filming of Mission Impossible 5.
We even had the same butler team that was assigned to Tom Cruise for his stay — and weren’t they just excellent. Most private riads come with a full-time personal butler, and I’ve been lucky with my butlers in Morocco so far, as they’ve all been wonderful and ever so professional.
But the Tom Cruise team of butlers at the Selman wins hands down.
When we checked in, I invited some friends over to our riad for some champagne before dinner, so I called the butler and said: “Can you please prepare the house as I’m having some friends over?“
That’s my butler, waiting for the guests to arrive at the entrance to our private riad…
MAGIC’S IN THE AIR.
OR IN THE HANDS OF MY BUTLER
AT THE HOTEL SELMAN.
Just like that.
And then I went over to the gazebo at the other end of my private garden with a pot of mint tea to read a book on interior design in Lebanon and try and get better WiFi on my iPad.
Meanwhile, out came the candles all over the house, the lanterns by the swimming pool, the champagne and even a lovely multi-tiered platter of sweets. Like clockwork, and ever so silently that I was oblivious to preparations.
So that when my friends came over to pop the bottle with me, everything looked positively magical.
The gazebo at the end of my private garden at the Hotel Selman
Everyone oohed and aahed over this riad.
The butlers did dozens of things like this for me during our stay, to make the whole experience seamless and quite unforgettable. And when it was time to go home, they packed every breakable object I’d bought in Morocco in bubble wrap so that every single thingmade it back home without a scratch.
THE BEST STAY FOR 2015,
This private riad of the Selman is certainly the most beautiful place I’d stayed in for 2015, as well as among the most beautiful private riads I’d stayed in in Morocco — and that’s saying a lot.
I’ve stayed in most of Morocco’s loveliest and most interesting places by now so I can write a guidebook on the best places to stay in five minutes. There are a handful, and each with its own strong points.
BIRTHDAY BREAKFASTS IN MOROCCO
The Selman gets overall top points from me just because they have the best private riads I’ve seen so far. There’s enough space, enough decor, enough style and yet also enough calm so that everything is not one explosion of color and lines.
Anyway it was the day after my birthday, and Mr. Y said to me: “I’ve arranged a special breakfast today.“
Every day actually has a pretty special breakfast in my never-ending Travelife, if I have to tell the truth. And yes, I realise that I’m one of the luckiest people I know.
The day before, we’d had the full Moroccan breakfast via room service served in the grand pergola at the end of our private garden.
I had my favourite Moroccan eggs with meat and sauce, those delicious light pancakes with raw honey, and lots of argan oil sprinkled everywhere for anti-oxidants.
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Then, for effect, our butler served my favourite Moroccan mint tea sans sugar with lots of flourish. It sure makes drinking mint tea a whole lot better.
I’m sure he impressed Tom Cruise too with these special effects, in this very same lovely riad.
POST-BIRTHDAY BREAKFAST WITH HORSES
But that day, our butler picked us up with the golf cart and then he took us to a clearing right in front the main building. Here, he’d set up carpets all over the grass and a table heaping with breakfast goodies.
It was definitely the breakfast to impress.
THE MAIN ATTRACTION
Then, the main attraction arrived — and it wasn’t the food. We had prize-winning Arabian horses, who incidentally are ensconced in five-star horse lodgings nearby, perform a private show for us.
Talk about beautiful animals in a beautiful hotel.