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Mercure Marseille Beauvau Vieux Port, Marseille 

4 rue Beauvau
Tel: 33 4 91 54 91 00
view web site ›'s insider take:

Overlooking the Vieux Port, the Mercure is the best situated of the three-star chain properties and ranks as the oldest hotel in town (not to worry: it was renovated in 2003). The decor is modern Provençal-style in the 73 rooms and isn't bad for a cookie-cutter joint, with patterned drapes, some nice old flip-top desks and the like, along with double sinks in the baths. It has a bit more style, a far better location, and somewhat lower rates than its corporate cousins, the Sofitel/Novotel, farther out on the harbor. (Fair warning: there's no pool or restaurant.)

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Chopin shacked up here with George Sand in 1839, making it the preferred address of arty types for decades to come. More than a century and a half on, the old gal needed—and got—an overhaul, its innards made modern without ruining the historic atmosphere. The credit goes to the chic Provençal-style colors and fabrics in the 73 rooms, along with restored antique pieces that impart a vital dose of history; sophisticated lighting and the friendly staff don't hurt either. What hasn't changed is the best location in town, with center stage views of the funky sailboat-filled Vieux Port.—2005 Hot List

When to go: Winter, when the crowds are gone, the city's busy, and temperatures are surprisingly mild.

Which room to book: Which room to book: Nos. 415 and 416, for a full-on view of the Vieux Port

Amenities: Bar/lounge, 24-hour Room Service, Wheelchair-accessible

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