The Hotel Hermes is a budget two-star hotel in a five-star location: it's on a side street just a couple of metres from Marseille's Old Port.
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Some - though not all - the rooms have terraces and/or views of the Old Port: for both these, try to get the "Honeymoon" suite on the roof of the hotel or a room on the fifth (top) floor. Pictured below: a more typical view, sideways on to the Old Port, from room 302.
But everyone has access to a large south-facing roof terrace, pictured below. Well-stocked with seating and tables, it's a fabulous spot to bring your breakfast tray in the morning or your own bottle in the evening and to enjoy the spectacular setting.
The Hermes, as its name suggests, has a bit of a classical theme going, with pink faux marble in the lobby. The bright breakfast room was formerly decorated with pilasters and "Greek" frescos which, sadly, vanished after an extensive refurbishment programme in 2011-2012; the room is now pleasant, modern - and a little bland.
The small lobby includes a drinks machine and a computer and printer for the use of guests (there's also free wi-fi throughout the hotel if you have your own laptop).
The rooms at the Hotel Hermes themselves are small and very simply decorated with white walls, pine veneer furniture and pale carpet that, one suspects, won't look pristine for too long.
A couple of welcome extra comforts include a flat-screen Toshiba television, a hair-dryer and a bottle of mineral water.
Being set slightly off the Old Port has the bonus of reduced traffic noise and the double-glazing does a fair job of keeping out the rest.
Apart from the roof terrace, the trump card at the Hermes is the location, of course. You're right in the heart of Marseille here in an area where other hotels charge double or triple these prices.
There's a secure public car-park a couple of blocks away by the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) and most of Marseille's public transport links, including the metro, bus, calanque boat tours and petit train, are very close by.
Some of the best bars and restaurants in town are a minute away: try La Caravelle or La Samaritaine for drinks or breakfast (there's an extra charge if you have it in the hotel) and Vinonéo, On Dine or Le Café des Epices for a very good but affordable meal nearby.
Visited June 2012
Where: Hotel Hermes, 2 rue de la Bonneterie, 13002 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 96 11 63 63. Book a room at the Hotel Hermes