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
- 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
Modern chic hotel where we upgraded for a view of the port which was definitely worth it. Breakfasts on the terrace were superb. As it is at the point where the port meets the sea, there is a walk/taxi ride from rail or bus station, so be prepared to take taxis into town if walking is not your thing.
The service and location of the hotel are excellent. However, the swimming pool is not as shown on their website, the Sofitel hotel does not have a swimming pool. It shares the Novotel hotel pool next door and it is small and cramped. The picture of the pool on the website should represent the hotel pool, this is misrepresentation. There is no outdoor pool. There is nowhere to relax at this hotel. From the brasseries terrace in the evening there is a lot of noise from the Novotel music. It was so loud people were leaving and we had to move along the terrace away from the noise. Eventually we came inside to escape the noise. This is unacceptable We are paying five star prices here and expect a certain level of facilities. Unfortunately this is is not a five star hotel and we are disappointed to have found this out to our cost. We lucky that we didn’t upgrade and pay extra for a view of the harbour - the noise from the Novotel would have been louder for longer!
The hotel was very nice, but it could have been a lot better. The A/C in the hotel lobby was poor. I started to sweat every time I spent more than a few minutes there. The room was okay, but there was no storage at all. Maybe that's okay for a solo business traveler who is staying one night and living out of his suitcase, but it was totally inadequate for a couple there for a few nights. The bathroom especially could have benefited from a shelf under the sink on which to store one's toiletries. And would it have hurt to have a dresser in the room with a few drawers?
As usual the hotel eating options were very expensive.
On the plus side, the concierges were very helpful in telling us how to get around and in directing us to terrific, non-touristy restaurants. The views of the harbor from the hotel were beautiful.
Weirdly, the Sofitel is intertwined with a Novotel and share some amenities, namely the swimming pool, which was lovely.
Had exceptional service at the front desk and with 2 concierges. Concierges Veronique and DJamila were both highly professional and provided perfect recommendations and service. Veronique suggested great restaurants and DJ was incredibly helpful in organizing a car rental to be delivered. This property has a lovely view and very nice rooms. I also very much appreciated that due to a labour dispute our flight was cancelled and the hotel did not charge us for our first missed night. Highly recommend this hotel.
Fabulous hotel. Great service, lovely rooms fantastic location. Worth the extra cost. Drinks on the roof terrace, in the sunshine, a must. Breakfast was a feast with an abundance to choose from. Would certainly choose to visit again.