marseille new hotel bompard terraceThis intimate, slightly quirky four-star hotel is set around large and secluded gardens in the steep, narrow side streets high above the centre of Marseille.

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In summer it's an ideal spot to escape the sweaty, crowded inner city, either for a family holiday or for a business conference. Outside the main tourist season, though, its distance from the main tourist attractions makes it slightly less appealing.

The New Hotel Bompard is tucked away in a quiet residential district of Marseille, south of the Old Port. It's a 25 minute walk from the centre and a 10-15 minute walk down the hill to the closest beaches - and an uphill walk back, of course!

There's a bus stop just round the corner, a few steps away from the main reception. But Marseille's public transport is very poor, especially in the evenings, so you would need to budget a cab fare for nights out (fortunately it won't be too expensive).

For longer stays, a car would really help you make the most of this location. Happily there's plentiful free, secure parking in the hotel grounds – a huge bonus in this traffic-clogged town. But you should be sure to reserve your space ahead.

marseille new hotel bompard gardenThe New Hotel Bompard started life as a 19th century maison de maître (private mansion), which was converted into a hotel last century. Gradually over the decades, more buildings in a wildly eclectic range of styles were added in the grounds.

Today you can choose between the classic original house, a rustic, provençal-style villa with green shutters and faux pigeon loft and a modern, motel-style room with picture windows and patio. The mix sounds a little eccentric on paper but in reality it somehow all works harmoniously.

All the rooms look on to an attractive, leafy courtyard, pictured, dotted with sculptures and artwork. There’s a trapezoid-shaped swimming pool too, surrounded by sunbeds and flowering shrubs and well away from the bedrooms.

Inside, each room's décor reflects its different architecture, from rustic to contemporary. Many (though not all) of the 50 rooms have terraces or balconies.

Traditionalists will appreciate the little extras that many midrange hotels now skimp on: slippers, bathrobes, L'Occitane toiletries, swimming pool towels, etc. come with all room categories.

Top-range rooms have Nespresso machines (at an extra charge). Downside: the television is rather small and doesn't offer all international channels. Also, although the area is quiet, the street immediately around the hotel can be busy in the mornings, so light sleepers should secure a room overlooking the garden.

marseille newhotel bompard barNamed, rather charmingly, after the patriarch of the family that owns the hotel, the Albert Café serves simple, healthy meals – salads, grills, pasta – and a generous buffet breakfast, all at keen prices.

A vast outdoor terrace tempts you to linger and on cooler days you can retreat to the cosy, traditional wood-panelled bar, pictured - though you might need to queue for a table there in the mornings.

This is the only place to eat in the immediate neighbourhood. But two of Marseille's top fish restaurants - the three Michelin starred Le petit Nice and Le Ruhl - are a ten minute walk away on the coast.

The Albert Café itself is open to the public, though it's not really a destination restaurant. And, outside the main summer season, it's closed for lunch and dinner at weekends.

The New Hotel Bompard is quite well equipped for business conferences. A small meeting room seats 25, and has sliding windows that open onto the terrace: perfect for post-seminar networking and chilling.

With its sheltered pool and spacious gardens, this is a great base for families. Free cots are available and a number of rooms and suites have single or double sofa beds. Two rooms have connecting doors.

In terms of wheelchair access, there are two rooms with ramps and adapted bathrooms and a number of other ground-floor rooms with single steps. The public areas are well endowed with ramps too - though you do need to climb a short flight of steps to get to the swimming pool.

Visited October 2017

Where: New Hotel Bompard, 2 rue des Flots bleus, 13007 Marseille. (Tel +33 4 91 99 22 22). Book a room at the New Hotel Bompard in Marseille.

Photo credits: All images © New Hotel Bompard Marseille.

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