The landscape of France’s second city Marseilles, woefully devoid of luxury hotels, has just received an update with the arrival of a new property, housed in a magnificent 19th century townhouse, a few steps away from the city’s old port. A onetime generational family home with a long and varied history, the building is blessed with a sweeping staircase, grand floor-to-ceiling windows and original frescoes. Called C2, after the owners Claire Fatosme and Christian Lefevre, the designers-turned-hoteliers retained the building’s original features, which they accentuated with an emphatically contemporary interior featuring a smattering of furniture by modernist masters including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. There are 20 rooms - some with unobstructed views of the Notre-Dame de la Garde - a spa and a glamorous bar (with gold ceiling lights by Ingo Maurer), which spills out onto a sun-drenched patio. An ongoing programme of events from art exhibitions to music concerts – both classical and DJ sets –provides effortless entertainment and for those who want to get away, the hotel’s private island has views of the city not afforded to most.