History does not record whether the ancient warrior reached as far west as Marrakech, but the exquisite Palais Sebban captures Coleridge's laudanum-fuelled vision more surely than any of the tourist attractions in the red Moorish city. This riad has been developed from a former minister's residence. It has been lovingly restored, as a proud welcoming receptionist showed us on our arrival. It is a rambling building full of half-hidden staircases and delightful tranquil chambers and courtyards. Exquisite mosaics give way to exotic tooled plasterwork and huge carved double doors behind pillared archways. There are tinkling marble fountains and carousing doves and song thrushes. Fragrant trees and flowers scent the air. This is a peaceful sanctuary from the dusty noisy bustling chaos that is Marrakech. Truly a Palais.
Palais Sebban, in characteristic Marrakech style, is hidden behind a nondescript arched door in a dusty winding unmarked alleyway in the bustling Medina. You are led to it by a smiling uniformed porter, who pushes your luggage along in a handcart. Through the arched doorway a dimly lit corridor leads to another grander door, behind which is your Xanadu.
Each of the nineteen rooms is different in shape, size, décor and facilities. We peered into several of them during our four night stay, and each was lovelier than the one before. It is difficult to distinguish the original from the restored and the new, so faithful is the workmanship. Rooms are all atmospherically underlit, but have all the expected facilities, including air-conditioning. Plumbing is adequate, but don’t expect power showers. Everything is sparkling clean, and uniformed staff brandishing cleaning cloths discreetly keep everything up to standard. Staff are cheerful and welcoming. They want to help, though a basic knowledge of French makes communication simpler.
There is a plunge pool set in an elaborate open courtyard, and extensive roof terraces with assorted seating. You can whistle up mint tea and delicious home-made Moroccan biscuits as you relax in the shade of large parasols.
Breakfast contains all the necessary options, including fruit, cheese, yoghurt, omelettes, but does not have the lavishness that the surroundings seem to demand. The black coffee is ok, but don’t expect a cappuccino – there is no machine. The restaurant has a standard Moroccan menu with pleasant service but no culinary high spots.
Palas Sebban is a memorable and luxurious experience that is the equivalent of staying in a stately castle. There are plenty of plastic hotels in the French quarter of Marrakech, but if you want authenticity with your luxury, this is where you’ll go.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The owner and former king in Sebban give his name to his beautiful Palace that has been care fully ma intained by his family for over a centery.In 2006 and efter 4 years of renovationand restoration, it became a Moroccan Andalusian architecture jewel. (Zellige,Marbre,carved plaster ,Berber carved wooden, ceilings and original ceilings (Glaoui period),Marbled fontaine ....Everything in this palace of a thousand and one night makes you dreaming and soak up the Oriental culture. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Palais Sebban Marrakech
- Palais Sebban Hotel Marrakech