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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Hotel Insider: Four Seasons Casablanca, Morocco

This slick new luxury property is a welcome familiar addition to the hotel stock in Morocco's largest city

The beach facing side of the Four Seasons Casablanca, Morocco. Four Seasons Casablanca
The beach facing side of the Four Seasons Casablanca, Morocco. Four Seasons Casablanca

The welcome

I have booked a transfer for the 45-minute drive from the airport to the hotel. As I exit the terminal, the driver is waiting with my name on a sign. He takes me to the kerbside, where I wait while he gets the car, an Audi A8, from the car park. The car is very comfortable, with free high-speed Wi-Fi, and the driver plays jazz at just the right sound level. The car is security-checked before being allowed through the electronic gate. The new-build hotel’s entrance is slick, with a covered driveway studded with gold lights.

The neighbourhood

The hotel is located beside the beach in one of the city’s most expensive neighbourhoods, Anfa, in front of the Anfaplace shopping centre and an upmarket apartment complex. It is actually one of the oldest parts of town, though not many historic buildings remain: an old lighthouse is just beyond the hotel, with waves crashing around rocky headlands. In the other direction is the main part of the rather tatty but popular Corniche.

The scene

Popular with leisure and business guests, about 30 per cent of the hotel’s customers are from the GCC, with Asian visitors also numerous. The Mint lounge, just off the lobby, is a popular local gathering spot, with its outdoor terrace offering sea views from between the hotel’s two wings. There is a high-design fire pit, good Moroccan food and elegant afternoon teas on Saturdays. The hotel, which does not serve alcohol, has five floors, a private, oasis-like landscaped pool area and direct beach access.

The room

A suite bedroom at the Four Seasons Casablanca, Morocco. Four Seasons Casablanca
A suite bedroom at the Four Seasons Casablanca, Morocco. Four Seasons Casablanca

My room is a huge (188 square metres) ocean-view imperial suite, with direct views onto the beach, plus a large private balcony with a dining table. I can hear the Atlantic waves crashing and open the windows for the full effect. It is well-laid-out, with a central marble bathroom that boasts its own generous sea view from the roll-top bath, a comfortable bedroom, and two sets of internal sliding doors. The rather standardised feel you get in all Four Seasons is tempered by tailor-made lamps and local artwork. However, the air conditioning doesn’t work well in the bedroom and I am too hot at night. Engineers try to fix the problem, but only succeed in chilling the living areas, while the bedroom remains warm. Fortunately, windows can be opened. The blackout curtains are welcome.

The food

There are three restaurants: Latitude 33, at the poolside (six Dakhla oysters cost 135 Moroccan dirhams [Dh52]; a good mixed grill is 220 dirhams [Dh86]), and two on the top floor, both with terraces. Mint is a Moroccan restaurant serving great couscous tagines – a delicious vegetable one costs 140 dirhams (Dh54) and smoothies are 90 dirhams (Dh35). Bleu is a striking French restaurant serving seafood and steak, as well as a number of vegetarian options. The pineapple and tomato gazpacho (150 dirhams [Dh58]), lobster bisque (200 dirhams [Dh78]) and salmon and tuna tacos (170 dirhams [Dh66]) are delicious. The buffet breakfast (320 dirhams [Dh124]) is also good.

The pool at the Four Seasons Casablanca, Morocco. Four Seasons Casablanca
The pool at the Four Seasons Casablanca, Morocco. Four Seasons Casablanca

The service

Generally good, though waiting times are too long for some items at the restaurants, and drinks often arrive just before or at the same time as the food.

Loved

The ground-floor spa has a great spacious Jacuzzi and steam-room area (separate facilities for men and women) – a welcome retreat for however long you want. The peace and quiet in the bedroom, plus the beachfront location, make this the best hotel in the city.

Hated

The room’s air-conditioning system, which seemed incapable of cooling a large space. I found the pillows to be too limp, and the foam one delivered wasn’t quite firm enough. A choice would have been better.

The verdict

A great addition to Casablanca’s limited hotel scene and good value for a Four Seasons.

The bottom line

Double rooms at the Four Seasons Casablanca cost from 2,429 dirhams (Dh944) per night, including taxes.

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Read more:

On the move: travel takeaways from the largest city in Morocco

On the move: a case of lost luggage

Three new travel trends for 2017

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