The five-star InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu opened this April in France’s ancient Mediterranean port—the European Culture Capital for 2013.
The 18th-century building long served as the city hospital, and its transformation has retained the original staircases, stone tiles, vaulted passageways, and sections of limestone walls, one dating from the Renaissance.
A skylight over the soaring lobby tops a minimalist path bordered by ceramics that resemble ancient Greco Roman urns.
Of the 194 beautifully appointed rooms, 72 showcase panoramic views overlooking the Vieux Port to the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica.
This dramatic vista fronts the expansive terrace, gastronomic restaurants (where Michelin-starred Ducasse disciple chef Lionel Levy reigns), the 800-square-foot private balcony in the Presidential Suite (about $6,762 a night), private terraces outside 15 Junior Suites and three walls of 15-foot-high windows surrounding the spacious Prestige Suites.
Throughout the hotel, neutral tones enhance the contemporary décor and art reflects the sea theme; one notable work is a triptych of 17th-century Marseille. Shimmering glass tiles repeat the motif in the 3,000-square-foot Clarins Spa, complete with indoor pool, hammam, sauna, and six treatment rooms.