In a word: The original grande dame of this port city with glam charm.
Price level: £££
The InterContinental – also known as Hotel Dieu – occupies a privileged position just one street from the charming Old Port of Marseille. Its buttercream stone facade, all lit up at night, is immediately recognizable. This is where you want to be as a tourist in France’s second largest city – steps away from a plethora of restaurant terraces, serving the freshest seafood paired with wine by the glass at a reasonable price from Aix en Provence nearby. The position of the hotel – slightly up the hill – is not the best when trying to walk up a suitcase up the stairs, but more than makes up for it with a sublime view of the city, in front of the famous Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde.
A chic monochrome palette dominates here; the hall is entirely made up of black and white striped walls, guarded by neat rows of black vases on plinths. The seats channel the grayscale even more, with high-backed ink-black thrones alongside charcoal and silver seats, all in velor. The only touches of color come from the floral arrangements, in fuchsia, magenta and lilac. Go up to the first floor to find high, cathedral-style vaulted ceilings and black-and-white checkerboard floors reminiscent of The Queen’s Gambit. The theme is carried over to the bedrooms, with black walls, white headboards, a hanging trio of long black lamp shades, and plush gray rugs.
Relaxed luxury. I arrived hot and sweaty after dragging a suitcase from St Charles station in Indian summer temperatures and felt no judgment. As Marseille’s premier hotel it draws all kinds of people – on the breakfast terrace I spotted a mix of young couples and groups of friends, solo travelers, and people on vacation. business (but not families). Service is what you would expect from a five star, but relaxed and unobtrusive – front desk staff kindly printed out my negative PCR results, translated my travel instructions, and gave tailored restaurant recommendations. Marseille is not Paris (and so much the better), and in many places the staff only speak French. But if that’s a concern, know that the InterContinental, being part of a global brand, can do either – endure your escaped verbal conjunctions with a smile or switch to perfect english.
Bed and bath
Rooms are all about understated luxury, with blackout curtains, coffeemakers, and a gratifying lack of complicated light switches for navigating. Bathrooms have the added bonus that the toilet and rainfall shower are behind separate frosted glass doors – not a concern for the solo traveler, but reassuring when you’re not in your relationship stage. where you are comfortable with an open political door. Toiletries are local, courtesy of Compagnie de Provence, with 96% natural ingredients.
Food and drink
Breakfast is served on the large terrace on the first floor, enjoying the hotel’s breathtaking view of the Old Port and Notre-Dame de la Garde. When I visited, it was a buffet with everything one would expect: hot dishes, including specialties like Provencal roasted tomatoes encrusted with herbs, as well as an uplifting selection of pastries. , cakes, cereals, yogurts, cold meats and cheeses. Are you staying for dinner? Alcyone is a Michelin starred restaurant serving fine Mediterranean cuisine; a five-course menu costs from € 99, while eight courses will set you back € 139. There’s also Les Fenêtres, a more casual brasserie that nonetheless offers innovative dishes like the ‘bouille-abaisse milkshake’ (a reinvention of the classic seafood stew), and you can have a drink at the trendy cocktail bar Le Capian.
Swimming pools, spas and public spaces
Guests have access to the pool through the Clarins Spa, but they currently need to reserve a slot. It features a waterfall at one end and, where hotel pools are often sunk into the basement, is bathed in natural light from long windows on either side. A range of spa treatments are also available for maximum R&R.
Nuts and bolts
Number of rooms : 179 rooms and 15 suites, including 72 with a view of the Old Port and 33 with a private terrace.
Gifts : Local soap and cookies.
In the bathroom: Provencal toiletries.
Wireless: To free
Additional costs: N / A
Handicap access : Five rooms fully comply with accessibility standards for people with reduced mobility. All public areas of the hotel are accessible.
Pet Policy: Small dogs weighing up to 6 kg are allowed at an additional cost. Please note that you must inform the hotel in advance.
At the end of the line
Best thing: The location and the large facade.
Worst thing: Pedestrian access; and hairdryers are surprisingly poor.
Perfect for: A stress-free base for work or leisure, escape the heat and bustle of Marseille in a cathedral of calm.
Not suitable for: For people looking for a “local” experience or an unusual charm.
Instagram of: There is a designated selfie spot on the front to take your picture in front of the hotel; better yet, from the breakfast terrace with the city behind you.
Room price: From 233 €, room only.