InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu, an A-maze-ing hotel

After our stay in Bordeaux we travelled cross-country to Marseille, to enjoy some final days of Mediterranean sun before winter. Our hotel of choice was the InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu, as I was able to book a room last-minute using points.

The hotel is located in a historical building, the old Hotel Dieu hospital constructed between 1753 and 1788, it was extended to its current size between 1860 and 1866. It served as a hospital until 1993 after which it housed the student nurses until 2006 after which it was transformed into the luxury hotel of today. It is located in the historical Le Panier district, just a few steps above the City Hall overlooking the Old Harbour.

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While only a 20 minutes downhill walk from the station you walk through some streets that make you wonder if you are heading in the right direction for a luxury hotel.

However as soon as you turn the corner and see the hotel you get why it is located there with the beautiful view and the wonderful domain surrounding it. As soon as you climb up the stairs into the hotel domain you feel more like you are in a classic Mediterranean resort hotel rather than an inner city hotel.

 

The lobby is located in the basement 0 level and is decorated in a modern style. After a friendly and efficient check-in we received the keys to our room on the 7th floor the top level of the hotel.

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Thanks to my Ambassador status we received an upgrade to a spacious executive room with a terrace overlooking the harbour. The bedroom contained two comfortable single beds with slightly too soft pillows.

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Opposite there was a big wall mounted HD TV surrounded by the minibar and coffee and tea facilities on one side and some decorations and power points on the other side.

Just as in Bordeaux the TV had a Chromecast function, it was just slightly more complicated to get to work but it worked fantastic when it did. Under the TV there was a sort of sofa and a table which doubled up as a desk with an extra chair to work on.

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The big double window opened upon a big terrace equipped with a table, a big sofa and two chairs. Because of the wonderful view, the comfortable chairs, the nice temperature and the outside power plug we spent some time there enjoying our precious days off.

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As an Ambassador I was of course provided with two complimentary bottles of Evian water as well as a fruit basket. There was just a simple kettle to boil water for your tea as well as a pod coffee machine if you wanted some coffee. Despite the well-stocked minibar, there were no glasses provided in the room to drink from which was something I found disappointing and not expect from a hotel of this level. How am I supposed to drink my drinks with style?

 

The bathroom was separated from the room by a series of wooden shutters which you could elect to either open up so you could watch the TV from inside the free standing bath or close if you needed some more privacy.

 

The toilet and the rain shower where located in two separate frosted glass cubicles, so you still had some privacy over there if the bathroom was opened up. The amenities where of a different, more local brand with a scent fitting the local Provence area. There were plenty of towels and the bathrobes and slippers where stored in the closet across the hallway.

 

Getting to the fitness and spa area was a bit of a more complicated affair. You had to take a separate elevator at the far end of the corridor which then took you to the spa reception on the 1st floor.

When you walk outside and turned right you could enter the building a bit further down where you could find the fitness room, while it had some nice equipment it filled up relatively fast when some more people where present and it was quite warm inside.

 

If you wanted to go for a swim you entered into the spa reception, registered and received your towels, before taking another elevator 1 level down to level 0, on level 0 you could find several treatment rooms, a sauna and hamman as well as a tea corner with both an inside and outside relaxation area.

 

To go to the pool you needed to take a third elevator taking you up one level again to the 1st floor where there was a pool located in the far end of the building. It was a pretty sober and dark affair (partly because of a series of not illuminated lights), there where loungers on two sides and a big bench on the third side.

At the far end of the pool was a stone wall with a rainfall running down along it. The pool was relatively big and was excellent to do some laps in.

 

The breakfast buffet in the morning was served In the Fenêtres brasserie on the 1st level. We were shown to a table and handed a menu from which we could select some made to order eggs to accompany the buffet spread, hot drinks were also brought to your table.

 

While on the first morning they forgot to take the order of our eggs, we placed it immediately on the second morning.

The buffet was set up in the adjacent room and had a wide offering in warm dishes as well as cheese and charcuterie, fruit and vegetables and of course a huge table with bread and several sweet options including the obligatory croissants, cakes and warm pancakes (both American and French style).

 

The first night we also had our dinner at the Fenêtres brasserie. They offered a very competitive €48 three-course menu which changes regularly. We started off with a starter of fish, followed by some delicious duck before ending with an apple tart. The service was very friendly, professional and fast.

 

All restaurant and bar facilities where located on the 1ste floor, which sported a huge outside terrace with some very inviting furniture to lounge in. in the bar we tried both some mocktails (inspired by the flavours of the Provence) during the day as well as a glass of champagne on our final night of our trip.

Service was fast and friendly and the drinks where served with some small bites, during the day just some salted popcorn, in the evening expanded with some olives and nuts.

 

The InterContinental Marseille is truly an exquisite hotel and a haven of peace and quiet right in the middle of the busy city of Marseille.

The only real downside of the hotel was the Wi-Fi which deconnected all the time, while the speed was very good when it worked it often cut out for no reason at all, which can be rather annoying.

Other than that the service was excellent and spotless, with all employees being very friendly and helpful. If you ever happen to visit Marseille, the InterContinental is truly a choice to consider, with a very good location and service, we will be back!

How do you feel about hotels in historic buildings that have a contemporary design? A good or a bad design decision? Let us know in the comments below!

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