Sofitel Marseille Vieux Port
What We Love
- The views really are some of the best in Marseille
- As the European Capital of Culture for 2013, the city is abuzz with arty events
- The enormous, beautifully furnished Le Carre bar for a cocktail (or two)
What To Know
- Coastal winds can make sunbathing a bit nippy
- Evening dining can get pricey
- It’s a 10-minute walk to the center of the port, but buses stop near the hotel regularly
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
A complete refurbishment in 2009 saw architects Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet turn the Sofitel Vieux Port into one of the city’s hottest properties. Capturing the essence of Marseille (almost the entire hotel overlooks the harbor), the design incorporates elements of the sea, from the hundreds of tiny glass sea creatures that line the walls in the huge lobby to the elegant dangling lamps shaped like sea urchins in the Le Carre bar. Nautical references continue in the reception areas on each floor, with beautiful framed oil paintings of sailors’ knots. It’s like being aboard the world’s most luxurious yacht without having to find your sea legs.
Bed and Bath
Of the 134 rooms and three suites, 60 percent have jaw-dropping views of the sea (although non-sea-view rooms are perfectly suited to those looking for an incredibly comfortable night’s sleep). All rooms are elegantly designed in neutral and wood tones and come with sink-into beds clad in crisp white linens. There are velvet chaise longues in rich orange and deep turquoise to add splashes of color, solid silver lamps shaped like conch shells, and artworks in the form of embroidered coral or watercolors of boats. Luxury Rooms have their own private balconies. Bathrooms are equipped with double bathtubs or powerful showers (they have more buttons than a NASA spacecraft). All are stocked with huge bathrobes and tiny green emerald bottles filled with delicious-smelling Hermès products. Très, très chic.
Head up to the top-floor restaurant, Les Trois Forts, to experience fine dining at its best. Beautifully presented Mediterranean dishes are served in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the whole of Marseille, from Fort St. Nicolas to the bustling port. The impressive breakfast spread won the Prix Villegiature Award for best breakfast in Europe in 2011, and tables are laden with every conceivable breakfast item, from crepes to brioche Provençale with dried fruit to Marseille honeycomb. Downstairs, the Le Carre bar is a top spot for watching the boats bobbing in the harbor with a cocktail in hand. Further relaxation can be found at the So Spa, which has a sauna and hammam.
In the Area
Head to the Cathedrale de la Major, the Musée d’Archeologie Méditerranéenne, the Palais du Pharo and the Basilique de Notre Dame de la Garde to brush up on Marseille’s history. The city sees 300 days of sunshine a year, and the sandy Plage des Catalans is just a five-minute walk from the hotel. Boat trips to the stunning Calanques can be taken from the port, a 10-minute walk (or a short bus ride) away. Art lovers should hotfoot it to Marseille before 2013 is over, as this year the city has been crowned the European Capital of Culture. Try contemporary galleries Villa Mediterranée, FRAC and Panorama at Friche la Belle de Mai (which has a neighboring restaurant that dishes up mouthwatering steak tartare).
How to Get There
This hotel has super staff, facilities and location. The views of the old port from the restaurant (breakfast) were mouth watering. So why not a 5 star? The breakfast buffet was extensive and of high quality EXCEPT the hot food. On day one the bacon, sausages and especially the sauté potatoes were at best like warm. Fried eggs were freshly cooked and lovely. Day 2 a little better but still not what I would expect from a 5 start hotel and especially one who prides itself on its gastronomic offerings. The lunch and evening meal we had in the bar were really good though.
Have stayed in this hotel in the past on business trips but this was a vacation trip with my wife. Reserved a room with large balcony facing the port. The view was fantastic. Sitting on the balcony with a bottle of wine while looking at the port and city was the best part of our visit. The serivice was excellent. The food was outstanding. Highly recommend this hotel.
Spent 4 nights at Sofitel Marseille.
Room is very small, standard for Europe. However, bed was terrific and hotel has great pillow menu. Great sleeps. The common spaces at hotel are great. Beautiful views of the port. Lovely restaurant and bar views. Staff were terrific. Very helpful with restaurant reservations in the city. Location is great.