Les Bords de Mer in the South of France city of Marseille is a stylish seafront stay in an all-white art deco building. The buzzy boutique bolthole has a rooftop bar (marvellous Med vistas, coming right up), Ren spa and a relaxed restaurant serving up the best bouillabaisse in town. The city’s ancient Old Port is a 10-minute stroll away and the corniche setting means you’re close to all the action. The rooms are bright and breezy, with the show-stealing blue sea doing most of the talking.
Get this when you book through us:
A welcome half bottle of wine, free tasting at the winery at the hotel's sister property Domaine de Fontenille in Lauris and 10 per cent off spa treatments
11.30am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm, also flexible.
Double rooms from $162.85 (€147), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.25 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast.
At the hotel
Gym and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: iPod dock DVD player, air-conditioning, free bottled water, minibar and Ren bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Some of the rooms have French doors that open practically right onto the water’s edge: if you want to feel like you’re out at sea, opt for an Executive Room – Les Bords de Mer, which also has a sizeable terrace and a bright ’n’ breezy all-white interior.
There are two saltwater-filled pools: one indoors and heated and another, unheated, up on the roof. Both are adults only.
The Ren spa has a steam room, pool and sauna, and a treatment list that includes Japanese acupressure, shiatsu facials and good old Swedish massage. Pilates, yoga and personal trainers can also be organised.
Bring nautical but nice clothing, sensible shoes for Old Port strolling and a rotating series of swimwear.
Some bedrooms have been adapted for wheelchair users.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds and cots can be added to rooms. Babysitting is €30 an hour, with two days’ notice. Little Smiths can come along for meals, but there are no special menus or changing facilities (there are colouring books, though).
The hotel uses locally sourced, seasonal produce where possible, and all of its cleaning and bath products are eco-warrior-approved.
Breakfast is a French feast of artisan cheese, cured meat from a local village and a load of homemade pies and cakes, all served with a backdrop of the dazzling blue sea. The majestic Mediterranean setting also inspires the menu, with plenty of super-fresh seafood, not to mention the famous bouillabaisse. Everything is laid-back except the staff, who are working tirelessly to provide faultless service.
The rooftop cocktail bar is perfect for sundowners with a sea view (and a plate of delicious Provençal cheese).
Breakfast is served between 7am and 10.30am, lunch is from noon until 3pm and dinner hours are 7.30pm to 11pm.
The restaurant menu can be delivered to your room when the restaurant’s open, with a selection of cold dishes available at other times. The bar serves food between 11am and 11pm.
You’ll find Les Bords de Mer in the Provençal city of Marseille.
Marseille’s airport is closest, roughly half an hour away by car; hotel transfers cost €70, plus a night and public-holiday supplement.
Marseille is on France’s high-speed TGV line, which links up the southern city with Paris in just over three hours. The station is 15 minutes away from the hotel.
The centre of Marseille is just a five-minute drive from the hotel. You’re perfectly placed for seeing the city, but if you want to explore more of Provence, some wheels will come in handy. There's no parking on-site but, with advance notice, the hotel can help to arrange parking nearby (it starts from €25 a day).
Worth getting out of bed for
Take a dip on your doorstep before exploring the city’s Old Port, which has been a trading spot since settlers set up shop there in 600BC, then head back to basecamp for the bouillabaisse, a spa treatment and a chance to survey the city from the rooftop. Hike theCalanque de Sugiton and reward yourself with a cooling splash at the creek’s beach. Get your contemporary-art fix at the Musée d'Art Contemporain. Set sail for the Frioul Islands, an archipelago of four landmasses four kilometres off the coast.
Join the cool kids brunching at Marseille’s Mama Shelter outpost, or release your inner Francophile and go all out on oysters, at Chez Rogeron Quai du Port. For something a little smarter, also along the port, Une Table au Sudserves sublime seafood as you watch the boats come in.
This university city has a healthy drinking culture – head to La Fabrique on Place Jules Verne for Warhol nods and NYC vibes. Or pick a pew at iconic old-school drinkery Le Bar de la Marine on Quai de Rive Neuve.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this seaside hotel in France and unpacked their bikinis and Breton stripes, a full account of their beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Les Bords de Mer in Marseille…
Marseille’s Vieux Port (Old Port, but everything sounds better in French) has been a trading post since 600BC, but it’s recently gained a new neighbour in the form of a buzzy boutique bolthole that’s just opened down the road. What it lacks in antiquity, Les Bords de Mer makes up for in sass and style, with super-sleek all-white interiors providing the perfect backdrop to the regular bright blue splashes of Med. Winning factors include a Ren spa, a rooftop bar and pool, and a sea-facing spot to eat just-caught fish as you watch the sun go down. The location means it’s a 10-minute stroll down to the port, but you’re right on the shore should you fancy an early-morning dip. It’s so close to the coast, you’re practically adrift – and if you’ve picked your room wisely, your double French doors will be framing the sea nicely. Some things get better with age – and others are pretty darn cool to begin with.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Les Bords de Mer’s Guestbook below.
It's all about the views, particularly the sunsets. The food in the restaurant was excellent, some of the best hotel food we have experienced.
A big pool or a private beach.
Stayed on 3 Sep 2019
The whole set-up – the team at Les Bords de Mer have done a huge amount with the relatively small space they had for the hotel, sandwiched between the main road and the beach. Everything is petite, but perfectly formed. The rooms are on the smaller side, but beautifully designed and well-appointed and the views are simply stunning. Everything feels like a whitewashed Grey Malin painting. This is a perfect spot for a weekend getaway, or the start of a honeymoon. The hotel's restaurant is fabulous and their second floor rooftop bar is brilliant, the cocktails are fabulous and the snacks are to die for. There is a small but perfect pool on the very top floor of the hotel, although there are only a handful of loungers. The hotel also has beachfront access and a private space with loungers set up with a hop, skip and a jump to access the beach itself. We didn't try the spa during our stay, but it looked wonderful. The team were super helpful and ensured we had everything we needed to make the most of our stay. One last thing – the beds: wow, like sleeping in a cloud on top of a marshmallow, they were truly sumptuous and the best part of the room (aside from the spectacular view). We will certainly be back.
A lot of space – everything is on the smaller side, but it has been well thought through and it doesn't take away from the fabulous experience of staying at the hotel. Also, don't expect a lot of on site parking – the hotel has access to a small garage with four spots, but make sure that you book in advance.
Stayed on 29 Aug 2019
The balcony, the view, the proximity to the sea. The good food and drink, from breakfast to dinner.
It to be entirely peaceful and quiet – Marseille is a lively place.
Stayed on 6 Aug 2019
The terrace and sea views (as it is genuinely on the sea front), the design of the hotel and the rooms. Ditto the rooftop bar. From the terrace/balcony it's great to watch the complete range of sailing methods from stand up paddle boards to enormous ferries to Algeria. The opportunity to experience the old port and to start to explore Marseille. The staff are genuinely lively and interested, but as the hotel is new there is a little development to go.
Peace and quiet - it's not far from a club that is noisy until midnight. There is also a busy road next to it and a busy adjacent beach.