Marseille Alternative – HiPark Apartments

by Vago Damitio

Marseille HiParkI have to admit, having my own apartment in Marseille was more than just nice, it was a godsend. I’d picked up a bit of food poisoning and the weather had gone sour. 300+ days of sunshine in Marseille and during my time there it poured non-stop.

Luckily, I had reserved four nights at HiPark Marseille. There are some hostels in Marseille but as you know – I don’t really like hostels. The idea of a luxury hostel makes me laugh. It’s like an honest used car salesman – stripes don’t change and under it all, you find the same thing. If I want luxury, I don’t go to hostels and if I want an apartment, I don’t go to hotels. That’s why I was at HiPark. I was in Marseille for a few days and wanted a place to call home while I got some work done and explored the city (when it wasn’t raining.)

HiPark Marseille was perfect for that and it would have been perfect if I had brought my family too. Located about a 10-minute walk from the Timone Metro station. Getting there you walk around the Timone Hospital which is also a Medical School and there are some food trucks and a few restaurants, but nothing that is very interesting from a touristic point of view. Several grocery stores are nearby and lucky for me, a pharmacy where I bought some cold medicine.

Apartment in MarseilleAdmittedly, I was a little worried when I walked in. Reception was fine, more like an apartment building with a small business center, a children’s play area, and friendly English speaking staff at the desk. The walk to the elevator was what made me worried – long, drab, institutional hallways that echoed my footsteps. A couple of plants and lots of closed doors. Spooky.

But when I got to my apartment, I was quite happy to be there. At $89 per night, an incredible value with a kitchenette, living room/dining room area, and separate bedroom. There was also a balcony, but given the weather, I didn’t take advantage of it. In the kitchenette was everything I needed to cook for myself for a few days and the television offered pay movies and basic tv service. Internet is plugin only, so if you are traveling with a tablet and need wifi – be advised, it’s only in reception,not in the rooms.

There was nothing particularly deluxe about the apartment. It was clean, had the necessary amenities, and a comfortable bed. There was a small desk for me to work at and I was able to hole up and get my work done while the weather beat down outside. My recovery was rapid, in part because the first night I was there I visited HiPark’s Sauna and fitness room and kicked the steam and heat up as high as they would go. Having a sauna on property beats having a pool for me, any day of the week, but especially when I’m under the weather.

beaker of juice anyone?The gym was basic but free for guests. Breakfast was not included in the base price but might be worth your while with a variety of juices, yogurt, fresh fruit, coffee, tea, Nespresso, cereals, meats, cheeses, and breads. It was all there in a buffet style with a friendly attendant. By the way, there was a Nespresso corner and vending machines downstairs in reception as well – 24 hours a day.

Marseille HiParkOn the negative side, there isn’t much of interest around the hotel – this includes getting a bite to eat so you have to either take a taxi, the metro, drive, or walk a long ways to get to anywhere worth going to. HiPark describes itself as a sort of funky designer hotel, but aside from a little bit of generic-funky art and some Pier 1 throws on the bed, there really isn’t much about it that is either architecturally or design interesting. The shower in the room I stayed in, is one of those big showers separated by a tiny sheet of glass in one corner and a hard to figure out funky hand-held square shower head that I couldn’t seem to adjust to where I liked. Since there was no curtain, the floor got soaked every time I took a shower. That might just be me being an idiot, but on the positive side, there were plenty of towels to clean it up with.

I enjoyed my time at HiPark Marseille and I recommend it if you are traveling with your family or need a good space to get work done while you are in Marseille. If you are looking for things to do in Marseille, it’s not hard to find them and a short metro ride gets you to just about everywhere you want to go.

*The first two nights I stayed at HiPark, my accommodation was complimentary. While I appreciate the generosity of the management, you can be sure that my review is honest, as always. Our policy is to let hotels know when we are reviewing so that they have the opportunity to show us their best, if they choose to provide us with comps we are appreciative but always make it clear from the outset that our review will not be swayed by it.

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Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook