Casablanca is the powerhouse of the Moroccan economy, but as well as business-business its hotels see an increasing number of tourists. About two years ago the King decreed that Chinese could visit without visas, which not surprisingly opened the doors, albeit slightly, to intrepid tourists from Beijing and Shanghai. The city’s luxury branded hotels, which include a Four Seasons, a Hyatt Regency and a Sofitel, immediately benefitted, thanks to brand awareness back home and also because Emirates, and other Middle East airlines, were quick to offer easy-transfer airlift.
Four Seasons Casablanca, which opened in 2015 right on the Atlantic coast, is anchor for a massive ANFA mixed-use complex masterminded by a Spaniard, Manuel Jove. This is obviously a man who thinks big. He built and floated Fadesa construction, and then sold his 55% stake to Martinsa for €3 billion just before the Spanish bubble collapsed. Now he is said to be investing some €450 million in two Moroccan projects, of which this is one. ANFA will, eventually, have offices and residences and a Pestana but pride of place is the 185-room Four Seasons Casablanca, designed by architects Arup and Foster, with interiors by GA International.
This hotel has so many memorable pointers. I love the coffee kiosk in the main lobby. I love the way that the lobby’s outside area has a four-way real-log fireplace, around which people seem to meet all day, and presumably all evening long. It is, indeed, a very thoughtfully planned hotel – upper floor corridors have carpeting that looks as if it is inset with Moroccan rugs. I was also most impressed by Bleu, the all-day restaurant, which has two central stations that are so curved they give the appearance of floating in the ocean, visible through the all-wall windows. I went for what I was told was a best-seller, half an eggplant filled with eggplant mash, kumin, mashed herb purée, beetroot juice and khili (beef jerky). I could, perhaps, have finished up with a deconstructed lemon pie, which is one of the 15-minute dishes available in room service. But time was running out and my car awaited. SEE MORE OF THE LOBBY