“Too dangerous? The surroundings much more beautiful? Not true. Not anymore! Marseille surprises and inspires. Especially when you can check in at a lifestyle hotel right by the sea.” Sylvie Konzack
Nicolas takes away my last doubts about the two-day trip to Marseille. He was born in Marseille in his mid-20s and is very reflective and enthusiastic. One who should be engaged off the street for many other tasks and job positions other than my driving service from the airport to the hotel.
“Marseille is currently the most liveable city in France,” he says, looking back on the few years he lived in Paris. “Perfectly located, much renovated and developed in recent years. A city with many new perspectives”. Simply very different from Paris, the self-proclaimed navel of the world – well, that’s what all non-Paris French people say about the capital.
Marseille, on the other hand, has managed to get its big crime problems under control in the last ten years. The city has become much, much safer again. The area around the Old Harbour has been completely renovated, the business districts have grown around many modern skyscrapers. At the same time, the Mediterranean city fascinates with its changeable, younger and older history. Throughout the rough and sweet life, the contrasts make this city so exciting also for art.
The Hotel Nhow Marseille, in front of which Nicolas drops me off a good half an hour later, stands par excellence for this so contradictory and stressful attitude to life in Marseille. Built in the 1970s as a terraced Palm Beach Hotel in the rock, it is still enthroned today on the noble south coast with the address “Corniche Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy”, between the Old Port and the Prado quarter, between the freshwater spring of Roucas Blanc and the Mediterranean into which the spring flows. Location, location, location, as the saying goes.
Finally, it was a solid conference and congress hotel, managed by a French hotel group. One in which the big and important people of the city met regularly and pulled their strings. Not an open house for everyone, but a hotel that everyone in the city and far beyond knew.
Since the summer of 2018, a colourful life, a sunshine hotel and street art have been the order of the day here. The solid business hotel has turned into a lively lifestyle hotel and already attracted the interest of the press from Paris and the rest of the world at the official opening. At the celebration, they all looked amused at the 4,000 steel sardines hanging from the ceiling in the new Sky Bar, hundreds of squeaky yellow ducks in the pool, and a service team with yellow sunglasses on their noses, proudly and relaxed pouring champagne on the terrace.