Grand Hotel Beauvau from across the Marseille Old PortThe Grand Hotel Beauvau is one of the oldest in Marseille and superlatively located. The view (from the front rooms) over the Old Port could barely be bettered, and the Tourist Office and transport connections are a few metres away. logoClick here to book a hotel in Marseille

Chopin stayed here with George Sand; so did many writers including Prosper Mérimée - the author of the book on which Bizet's Carmen is based - Alfred de Musset and Jean Cocteau.

This elegant old establishment - part of the same group as the Grand Hotel Roi René in Aix en Provence -certainly has history in spades - even if its thunder has been stolen lately by five-star newcomers like the InterContinental Hôtel Dieu and the C2 Hotel (the Beauvau has just four stars).

If staying here, you really must splash out on a room with a sea view (or one of the two large suites for a very special occasion); those with courtyard and city views are smaller and much less interesting.

As with all the hotels around the port, a busy road separates you from the sea. But traffic has quietened considerably since the arrival of the semi-pedestrian plaza just in front of the Beauvau in 2013.

Grand Hotel Beauvau, bedroomThe main entrance is not on the Old Port itself, but round the back on a pedestrian side-street and there is much-needed valet parking (though parking itself comes at a hefty extra charge).

Built in the 1780s and originally the residence of the local Post Master, it became a hotel in the early 19th century.

It has been renovated several times in recent years and currently has 73 rooms and suites decorated in a mix of period and modern styles.

The local influence is visible in the some of the antique furniture and colourful provençal fabrics. The lobby is decorated with hat boxes and old travel trunks.

There is free wi-fi throughout the hotel, a business centre and a bar (no restaurant, but there are plenty in the area). Three rooms are equipped for disabled access.

Breakfast is pricey, so pop across the road for coffee and croissants at La Samaritaine brasserie, another venerable Marseille institution.

Visited October 2010 and November 2018

Where: 4 rue Beauvau, 13001 Marseille. Tel: (+33) 4 91 54 91 00. Fax: (+33) 4 91 54 15 76. Book a room at the Grand Hotel Beauvau


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