Anthea Gerrie Discovers The Radisson Blu Vieux Port Marseilles, Has Evolved From Industrial Shipping Hub To Pleasure Zone
It may look like a brand-new building, but like its neighbours, the Radisson Blu Vieux Port Marseilles sits in a pleasure zone once the preserve of sailors and labourers. Over four centuries, the site of this upmarket and rather hip hotel has housed a carpenter’s workshop, an artillery store, sail room, blacksmiths’ forges and premises for locksmiths and cordage.
Now, with most shipping moved elsewhere, the Vieux Port is enjoying new life as a hospitality hub in one of the most exotic and exciting cities in France. Exotic because of a long history of traffic between Marseille and far-flung destinations, making it particularly appropriate that Radisson decided to theme many rooms of Radisson Blu Vieux Port Marseilles to reference Africa as well others celebrating Provence, of which Marseille sits at the heart. Some have chocolate-swirl carpets and a plethora of inlaid wood, others cheery yellow and orange striped curtains; by 2023 all will be refurbished to reflect a more contemporary vibe.
While all 189 rooms and suites at Radisson Blu Vieux Port Marseilles offer free wi-fi, a safe big enough for a laptop, mini-bar and coffee and tea-making provisions, it’s worth splashing out on a premium room to get a heart-stopping view of the port or the Saint Nicholas Fortress, along with a fluffy bathrobe and slippers to enjoy those views, one of the hotel’s finest attributes, in comfort. These rooms also have a Nespresso machine to make the caffeine fix this high-energy city demands available in seconds.
Breakfast on the terrace of the street-level brasserie, Le Quai du 7eme, offers a great people-watching vantage point and a treat for the tastebuds with freshly squeezed orange juice, a choice of good French cheeses, artisan bread and the olives for which Provence is famous among the offerings. There is also a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool, from where expansive views over the U-shaped port can be enjoyed, along with poolside drinks. However, Marseille is a city which demands exploration, particularly the fascinating old town on the doorstep of the Vieux Port.
While the promenade to the right of the hotel is packed with bars and fast-food joints, crossing a few steps behind to the block which runs parallel to the port to find more interesting and authentically Provencal restaurants is recommended. Les Arcenaulx, a bookshop by day with an outdoor restaurant in front, serves an excellent bouillabaisse – the saffron-flecked fish stew which is the great glory of Marseille – to wash down with a glass of local rose; outstanding pink wines are as much a part of the landscape here as the port, the hills and diverse neighbourhoods running all the way up to the station, conveniently served by a bus from right outside the hotel.
Tell Me More About The Radisson Blu Hotel Vieux Port Marseilles
Radisson Blu Hotel Vieux Port Marseilles, 38-40 Quai de Rive Neuve, Marseille 13007, France
T: +33 4 88 44 52 00
Rooms at Radisson Blu Vieux Port Marseilles from €170