InterContinental Hôtel Dieu — Marseille, France
The landscape of France’s second city Marseilles, woefully devoid of luxury hotels, has just received an update with the arrival of the new InterContinental, housed in a magnificent 18th-century building overlooking the city’s old port. A onetime hospital, with a long and varied history dating back to 1166, the building is blessed with sweeping staircases, grand arched windows and elegant vaulted ceilings appointed by the designer, nephew of celebrated Baroque architect Jules Hardouin Mansart. Along with the original name (which translates to Hotel of God), the hotelier retained the building’s features, which have been lovingly restored by Parisian architect Anthony Béchu. Jean-Philippe Nuel designed an emphatically modern interior with a standout monochrome marine-themed reception area and a lounge with striking black-and-white stonework on the floor and walls. There are 172 rooms and suites in all (the majority with sea views and private terraces) and facilities including a Clarins spa, indoor pool and glamorous brasserie and bar, which spills out onto a sun-drenched patio. Come September, serious gourmets will have the option of a second restaurant, the 40-seat brasserie run by Michelin-starred chef and longtime Marseille resident Lionel Levy.