Marrakech: The Espace Vitalité Chenot Spa at The Selman
Top French architect, Jacques Garcia, has created something extraordinary at The Selman. The design is a fusion of traditional Moroccan and ultra-modern. From the hotel entrance you can see the heavy fuchsia velvet curtains beyond and crystal chandelier hanging in the main reception. Beyond that is a large terrace, then a heated 80-metre pool stretching into the distance.
The Espace Vitalité Chenot Spa at The Selman is connected to the main hotel building by a stunning black-and-white mosaic courtyard with a fountain.
The spa has seven treatment rooms, four hydrotherapy rooms, a jet-massage pool, a large hammam area, and an indoor relaxation pool. A private spa suite has its own hammam, massage and hydrotherapy areas. Outside are two heated pools, a Jacuzzi and a beautiful garden. The fitness suite looks out over the garden.
Espace Vitalité Chenot's reception area is upmarket clinical -- quite sparse with large white sofas and a white reception desk -- where you fill in your consultation form on arrival.
Beyond reception, the mood changes completely. You enter a courtyard designed around a square relaxation pool, mostly lit by candles in storm lanterns. Daylight filters down onto the water through little holes in the ceiling, which look like stars as you gaze up from the pool. Day beds in semi-darkness line the edges of the pool, and you can relax here after a treatment. The atmosphere is deeply peaceful, far away from the noise, vibrancy and sunlight of Marrakech.
The treatment offering at Espace Vitalité Chenot leans towards the medi spa. The focus is less on pampering and more on health, with a big emphasis on detoxification.
Treatments to try
The spa offers treatments using the Chenot method; Henri Chenot's approach was influenced by Chinese medicine. He believed it was important to observe the digestive system as it eliminates, assimilates and regenerates. Chenot's detox programme involves eating Biolight cuisine, which is basically a raw food diet.
In search of a trimmer silhouette? You might like to try Lapex (laser lipo) -- a treatment to reduce fat and cellulite. The spa's Icoone treatments promise similar results, with an additional claim to reduce wrinkle and expression lines on your face. If you have a few days, try the six-day "Slimming Mission". This includes a body scrub, six hydro-energetic cures, six anti-cellulite massages, three Lapex treatments, three Icoone treatments, and six fitness sessions with a personal trainer.
You can try a range of facial, body and beauty treatments, with private exercise classes to enhance your detox programme. Choose from yoga, Pilates, and pool-based aqua-biking and aqua-gym.
We tried the Body Detox Massage and the Hydro-Energetic Cure.
Who would like it?
Anyone who wants more than pampering from their spa-ing.
People who want to dedicate some time to a full health retreat or weight-loss regime. Programmes are individually designed and include a tailored diet and exercise programme.
The longest pool in Marrakech: For those who love to swim lengths, this is 80 metres of pool heaven.
The twelve thoroughbred Arabian stallions in The Selman stud: Like everything at the Selman, the stables are five-star. Each stable has a shower and solarium -- an equine spa.