Luxury Hotels

CASABLANCA – 1

There are Boys’ Own memories of crashing waves on endless expansions of beach, and kids of all ages frolicking – knee-length shorts and hand-knitted pullies. That’s the immediate thought here, looking out of end suite 460 at Four Seasons Casablanca (named for the little white port house the Spanish saw when they first arrived, casa blanca…).

Girlahead travelled to Casablanca by train, a 140-minute high-speed Alstrom affair, left on the dot, arrived on the dot. A local architect sitting opposite filled in all the details about Casablanca today. It’s the largest city in Morocco, with a population of 3.4 million. Some live in low-rises (nothing above 25 floors) but the affluent choose stunning two-floor villas in the California area of town, the Beverly Hills of Africa.

Four Seasons is the only true luxury hotel in town (Royal Mansour, owned by his Majesty, opens a hotel here shortly but it’s on a busy business thoroughfare that may not be the ideal place to sport a Rolex after dark). Four Seasons is right by the sea, religiously protected by a close-to mosque – which means no alcohol, a fact of which the Spanish carpenter-turned-billionaire who developed the area was obviously unaware but now he’s in heaven drinking cava with the angels and looking down on the hotel.

From the street, all that is visible is an innocuous single-storey building. Enter to the upper, fifth, floor of what is in fact a C-shaped hotel, its wings stretching to within 25 metres of the beach. Bedrooms, smallest size 55sq m, are on floors one to four, 185 rooms in all. #460 is at the end of one of the two arms, hence the magnificent 270° views. There is one bedroom, a dressing room, a powder room, an ample bathroom with egg-shaped corium tub and Diptych toiletries with too-narrow spouts. The sitting room could seat the entire Moroccan national football team, though only six could sit at the dining table). The eclectic colour scheme, with more than a hint of Spain, includes yellow-black-white Cubist fabrics and darkest liver marbled flooring.

But who cares, when it’s the view and Four Seasons service that count? This time of year it does not get light until 7.45 a.m. but by then the first Boys’ Owners are out. At breakfast in Bleu one is asked so many times if there is anything they can do for you one is desperately trying to think of something that could be done (say open the bottle of really delicious hotel-made green health drink). And the crashing waves outside make one, or rather you, feel relaxed, in a charming environment.