As the European Capital of Culture 2013, Marseille-Provence is the place to be this year. (Check out our coverage in Travel Agent Magazine.) And when you hit up this vibrant port on the Med to take in the awesome calendar of events, the place to stay is the brand spanking new InterContinental. Housed in the centuries-old Hotel Dieu, a landmark historic monument on the Old Port, the hotel opened its doors last month as the city’s “first true five-star hotel”—and one of the world’s hottest hotel openings in 2013.
Luxury Travel Advisor got a sneak peek on a “hard hat tour” at the end of 2012, and we were blown away by the scale of the project. The historic structure—which commands incredible views over the city and port—has been meticulously renovated so that historic details—like a 12-century chapel and its gorgeous mosaic—are preserved, highlighted, and harmonized with the contemporary interior design.
There’s a light-filled fitness center; two restaurants overseen by chef Lionel Levy of Une Table au Sud fame; a beautiful and spacious spa by Clarins; and a sprawling outdoor terrace. Booking tips: 72 of the 194 rooms have panoramic views of the Old Port, and 33 have private terraces. For more information, visit www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/marseille/mrsha/hoteldetail.