Saddle up for a Moroccan brunch
Sunday brunch with an Arabian horse show
Without a doubt, a visit to Morocco is usually a lot about food. Especially in Marrakech, where every food writer and celebrity chef worth his weight in couscous has come by to pay homage to the folklore and food of this culinary-rich and produce-laden land.
So when you’ve finished with the Majorelle Garden and spent enough time wandering around the Jemaa el-Fnaa haggling with the peddlers of fine tourist tat and other goodies, the question of where to eat will inevitably come up. And if you’re in town on a Sunday, you’re in for something special if you head to the five-star Selman Hotel, about three miles from the airport, for want of a better landmark.
For as an American, I know a bit about brunches (we invented the concept, didn’t we?), and as a travel critic, I’m a little jaded when it comes to such events. So when I say the few hours I spent there between 1 pm and 3.30pm on a recent, sunny Sunday are several I won’t forget soon, that’s saying something.
The Selman is a luxury, family-owned property, and it notably shows. Here at the brunch, served al fresco at the Pavillon, hospitality is warm and gracious; the Arabian stallion show is one of a kind, and the service is impeccable. After being greeted by a family member or the GM, all here on a Sunday, you’ll be encouraged to head to where the food is waiting. Choices of delicacies (and drinks) are ample, including all the usuals of salads and eggs, meats, fish, barbeque, and then local dishes and sushi. In fact, I went once to the dining area and never returned, as the waiters kept coming over to the table, offering tastes and fetching food for me, including some delicacies I may never have tried if left to chose my own staples.
The star attraction, however, is the show of these awesome thoroughbred beauties, which is noble and fluid – more like a dance than a display. You will leave dreaming, wondering whether you should have kept up with those riding lessons you enjoyed so much when you were 12. And if you have a chance after eating, walk around the immaculate stables – but don’t reach in to pet the crotchety Shetland pony as he’ll happily have your pinkie for dessert.
PS: Make a reservation if you can, although I imagine they would accommodate you anyway – that’s just how they are at the Selman.
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