marseille radisson blu facadeBrilliantly located right on the Old Port, the four-star Radisson Blu is very well geared up for business travel, and its leisure facilities also make it ideal for private and group tourism.

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The setting is one of the best in Marseille, with jaw-dropping views over the harbour and dozens of bars, restaurants and shops close to hand.

It's a ten minute walk or so from here along the waterfront to the nearest metro, and buses to the beaches, city sights and train station pass right in front of the door. If you're planning to tour the region, by car, you'll find road tunnels out of the town nearby too.

The Radisson Blu is a chain hotel, of course but, inside, it's slightly unusual. The building is actually two sprawling, separate blocks linked by a ground level tunnel that passes under the hill. The result is an intriguing jig-saw puzzle that's much more spacious than it seems from the outside.

Most hotels in the heart of Marseille are desperately short of space. But the Radisson has many spots to linger in its public areas.

marseille radission blu swimmingpoolAmong them are a cosy sitting and reading room and no fewer than four garden patios, including one with a private pétanque court.

Pictured, the swimming pool remains open in the evening and, indeed, all year round.

It sits in a pretty, small garden landscaped with flowering shrubs and overlooking the ancient Saint Victor Abbey and 17th century Fort Saint Nicolas. There's an outdoor grill restaurant here too (which is also open to the public).

One floor of the hotel houses a large, very well-equipped business centre with a catering area and another outdoor terrace.

The largest of the modular meeting rooms seats 200, all have windows, and some have adjustable lighting and those super Old Port views.

Other facilities include a rather small fitness room. An independently operated spa is adjacent to the hotel, but not accessible directly through it: you have to enter via the street.

The Radisson Blu has 189 bedrooms and suites, including several dozen rooms with connecting doors and eight equipped for disabled guests. Even the cheapest of them are generously sized and the ones at the back have quite pleasant views.

marseille radission blu bedroomBut it's well worth splashing out extra for a room overlooking the Old Port - or, if you're feeling really flush, one of the six suites with a private terrace.

A busy road runs in front of the hotel between it and the waterfront, but the constant traffic hum and street noise are muffled by satisfactory soundproofing.

The beds are large, with good quality linen. The more you pay, the more extra treats you get: suites have everything from a shoehorn to a Nespresso machine, fruit basket and sachet of navettes (traditional Marseille biscuits).

The Radisson Blu offers free late check-out up to 6pm subject to room availability and, unlike many French hotels, includes breakfast in the room rate.. So, while this isn't a budget hotel by any means, it all adds up to very good value.

The only minus is that, like most hotels in central Marseille, the Radisson doesn't have its own car-park. Valets can take your vehicle to a municipal car-park but in this part of town it doesn't come cheap.

The generous buffet breakfast buffer includes eggs cooked to order and special diet items such as soy milk or chicken sausages for non pork eaters.

You can brew your own loose leaf tea and a good fresh juice bar has green and red fruit smoothies and tomato with all the fixings for a Virgin Mary.

Hot-smoked salmon and goat's cheese and vegetable quiche went down well too. It's served from 7am but earlier risers can score a "grab and run" breakfast (coffee, fruit, cereal bars) to kick-start the day.

The same 200-seat breakfast room then turns into a bar-restaurant for the rest of the day. The echoing size makes it feel a bit impersonal, but you can adjourn to the outdoor terrace on the Old Port. The 24/7 room service is comprehensive and a children's menu is available.

Visited November 2016

Where: Radisson Blu Vieux Port, 40 quai de rive Neuve, 13007 Marseille, France Tel : (+33) 4 88 44 52 00. Book a room at the Radisson Blu in Marseille

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