On our trip to Marseille this summer we stayed in two very different hotels. One right in the heart of the action at the Old Port and the other tucked away on the outskirts of Marseille.
Hotel 96 is a tranquil oasis a 15 minute drive or 40 minutes on public transport from Marseille’s St Charles train station (from the station, we hopped on the Metro line 2 to Rond Point du Prado, then you can get bus 22 or 23 which stops a few minutes’ walk from the hotel).
After a hot bus ride, it was a delight to enter the peaceful gated grounds of the hotel which lies on the edge of the Calanques National Park. It’s owned and run by a brother and sister team who have built an annexe of 12 rooms in the grounds of the family’s 19th century home. Alice, the sister, has decorated all rooms differently and we stayed in a retro style vibrantly coloured orange and white creation.
It was large with plenty of space to pop in two extra beds for the boys. Free wi-fi, an i-pod docking station and flat screen tv were given the thumbs up too. On the first floor, it had a pretty view of the gardens and the mountains beyond. Ground floor rooms have pleasant patios with seating areas.
First stop was a refreshing dip in the gated pool. It’s not huge, but does the job of cooling you off nicely. Then, with a recommendation from reception, we headed off for dinner to the nearby village of Mazargues to Le Bistrot de Lorette to sample ‘supions ail et persil’ – small squids cooked in garlic and parsley. We ordered it as a starter – but garnished with plenty of vegetables and garlicky potatoes – it was more than enough to be a main. We’ll know next time!
Breakfast on the verandah at Hotel 96, shaded by the plane trees, is a real treat. There are homemade cakes, conserves and yogurt, artisan breads, pancakes and pastries, meats, cheeses and eggs plus oranges to squeeze. Everything felt healthy and wholesome. Delicious!
The resident friendly dog likes a game of catch in the gardens and there’s a really relaxed vibe about the place with Alice’s small children also having fun and heading for the pool as evening draws in.
Hotel 96 makes a great base to explore Marseille, the Calanques National Park and pretty Cassis. Rooms cost from €89 a night; extra beds in the room cost €20 each a night.
More information: www.hotel96.com
Pics: copyright Hotel 96, Kim Jones, Alistair Heap