Location. Location. Location. The harborside Marseille Radisson Blu is perfectly situated in the middle of Marseille’s iconic Vieux Port, which is walking – or boating – distance from some of France’s most haute museums, fascinating cathedrals, and chic renovated shopping districts.
There’s something magical about this little corner of the world. It’s charm changes from sunrise to sunset in bespoke ways. Marseille is a stunning clash of the ancient and modern whose overlapping architecture old and new fascinates me. What can I say? I love Marseille. The food. The wine. The people. Its sea, hilltop castles and neon lights. I found the Radisson Blu Marseille was the perfect place to soak it all in. Why? Because you’re right in the middle of the best of it all.
After checking in, which was a breeze, I enjoyed Marseille’s stunning views from my harbor view room. I didn’t feel like I was missing out while relaxing before heading out. Even though I was quite fatigued from traveling, I flooded my veins with coffee as I didn’t want to miss the 2,000 years worth of history to explore. Marseille is both contemporary, chic and old worldly. All the while serving up some of the most interesting French seafood and cuisine. If you only stay one night, make sure it’s not a Monday. Or you might miss the delicious bouillabaisse. It was hard to find fish on Monday.
Of its 189 rooms and suites, you’ll either have a city or harbor view. After a long travel, it’s comforting to know what level of luxury to expect from the Radisson Blu Marseille – even before checking in. Large comfortable beds and bathtubs to soak in. A warm welcome. Someone actually at the check in desk. Although I’m a true fan of the independent hotel, after staying in some rather dubious rooms in France before – sometimes it’s nice to know what’s coming next from a quality hotel group. Rather than risk the unexpected after a long travel.
While it’s fairly convenient to get to the hotel – Marseille’s train station is a 25-minute walk and only minutes from a metro stop – I suggest a cab. The sidewalk is not entirely smooth and can be a bumpy journey with your rolling luggage – which can make an ordinarily short walk feel a thousand last miles.
If the spa is on your itinerary, while there isn’t one on-site, fear not. Just a few steps away the Radisson Blu Marseille has partnered with Cinque Mondes, a world class eco-luxury spa where all your low-cost airline woes can be massaged away. Or, have a cocktail at the Bar Lounge Scirocco, head into the solarium in their fitness center, or make your way straight to the rooftop pool with views of the port and the ancient city.
You could certainly stay the weekend in Marseille and never leave the area except where you can walk to. There is enough to explore just outside the hotel doors. Yet, if you’re interested in day tripping, Marseille is an excellent base. Boats in the harbor will whisk you away to the Frioul Islands and Les Calanques. Or it’s just a short drive from the Abbaye St. Victor.
For some incredible shopping head to Les Docks de la Joliette that just underwent a stunning renovation. It’s the right combination of industrial chic and elegant French seaside that embodies the Va Va Voom late 19th century France. There is even the Théâtre Joliette, a gorgeous home for contemporary dramatic arts.
And for the sunset of a lifetime, the perfect place to be is on the sandy public flat just between Villa Méditerranée and The MuCEM. This very spot is worth coming back to Marseille over and over again. Nights in Marseille are a marvel and are not to be missed. It’s magical as the sunset as the skyline and hilltop cathedrals glow. The lights from The MuCEM reflect neon accents upon the sky and water.
No matter how much I long for night to last forever in Marseille, it always turns to day. My consolation was their famous Radisson Blu Super Breakfast. Even with an early flight, I allotted time for a leisurely breakfast at their Café Terracotta a classic French brasserie. It was even more delicious than I remembered. Fresh squeezed fruit juice, poached eggs, classic Provençal quiche and marinated dried tomatoes. Truly a feast and included in the price of the room. Some hotels in France charge upwards of 30 euros for breakfast.
I checked out and my taxi arrived. I wasn’t sad. Instead, I was still entranced. Once again Marseille had delivered a magical experience; a two-thousand-year-old city steeped in culture and history stirred up with an eclectic mix of modern architecture that perfectly blends to create lasting memories of this magical corner of the world.
Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille ****
40 Quai de Rive Neuve
13007 Marseille, France
Marseille, France +33 4 88 44 52 00
*I was a guest of the Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille. This review is a true representation of my experience at the hotel.
*Images courtesy of ©Atout France and The Radisson Blu Marseille