Monday, September 18, 2006

A Traditional Country House Hotel Near Marseilles

On the outskirts of the small town of Gemenos, near Cassis in the South of France, you will find another family owned and operated four star hotel which really delivers on the values of tradition, ambience and service.

And it speaks for the magic of the Bastide Relais de la Magdeleine that after a harrowing journey from chaotic London Gatwick airport where the computer system was down, followed by a 45 minute wait in line at the out-of-control Europcar agency at Marseilles Airport ( never use this place - the staff laugh at their discontented customers and argue amongst themselves), and an impressive Marseilles rush hour traffic jam, our travel weariness melted away the minute we made the turn into the driveway of this stately 18th century country house. The fact that we were soon sitting outside on the elegant and beautifully lit terrace with drink in hand discussing dinner with a knowledgeable young man who had brought us our menus, did much to soothe our many irritations.

The Relais de la Magdeleine has been run by the same family since 1932 and one senses immediately the benefits of their experienced, hands-on approach. The house, which is set in a large park full of ancient trees, is beautifully decorated with country antiques and period reproductions. The public spaces, both inside and out, are wonderful. There are comfortable areas to sit and read, fireplaces for chilly evenings and impressive settings for dining. Our room and bath were spacious, well appointed and decorated.

The hotel has a first class restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner which is presided over by another member of the Marignane family who focusses on serving the specialties of the region. There is a large pool in the garden perfect for sun bathing . Best of all, prices are more reasonable than an equivalent Relais and Chateau property and the atmosphere is less pretentious. We spent €124 per person which included breakfast and dinner but not drinks. The hotel is perfectly located for touring Provence being close to Marseille, Aix en Provence and Toulon-Cassis.

This was our second stay at this hotel which we visited roughly five years ago. I liked it then. I like it even more now as I grow in appreciation of the meticulous attention to detail and traditional values on offer at the Relais de la Magdeleine, which results in a stay that is restful, romantic and good value for the high end. We’ll be back.

Bastide Relais de la Magdeleine
RN 396 13420 Gemenos
Tel: 04 42 32 20 16
Fax: 04 42 32 02 26

1 comment:

  1. Hey mom, I really miss you!!!
    Will see you soon..... Great Blog!? Someday you are going to be a famous blogger. But until that day comes, keep on doing what you are doing....