Something old is new again in Marseille. The 18th century landmark Hotel Dieu, once a hostel for pilgrims to the nearby Basilica, reopens in April after two years of renovations as the InterContinental Marseille-Hotel Dieu. The property will include a 11,000-sf Spa by Clarins.”
“It’s the first partnership between the famous cosmetics brand and an InterContinental Hotel,” says general manager Madelijn Vervoord. “The 5-star hotel is set in one of the most emblematic buildings of the city overlooking the Vieux Port and Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica.”
Artifacts and a mosaic found in archeological sites unearthed by the renovation will be on display. And as the European Capital of Culture 2013, Marseille will be especially alive with cultural activities and exhibitions this year, which InterContinental “Meetings’s Insider Collection” program is capitalizing on to create authentic group experiences.
“Some of these experiences could be an insider speaker talking about the 200 year-old landmark in which the hotel is located, or about all that Marseille has to offer as one of the oldest cities of Europe,” says Vervoord.
Nicolas Lemouchoux, director of sales/marketing, says, “Our incentive activities are very local, authentic and unique and can’t be done out of Marseille.”
The local culture of Marseille comes to life in a cooking class that begins at the morning fish market at the Old Port. Michelin star chefs help guests select the fish they will prepare, cook and enjoy. Classes can focus on local Mediterranean cuisine or pastry.
Lemouchoux says that a regatta is also a great way to experience Marseille Harbor and the Calanques, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Each boat holds up to seven people plus a skipper. Since each participant is in charge of a function on the boat, it’s a great teambuilding activity.”