We've known this place for several years. Actually a close relative lives in a retirement home in Gemenos, so we're used to stay there when we visit her. It is also the perfect place to drive around and visit Marseille and Provence. Gemenos is next to Aubagne, for non-french, this will mean little - so a few words: Aubagne is "Pagnol country" - this is where the quintessential southern french writer and movie maker Marcel Pagnol spent his childhood holidays. Aubagne is also the home (HQ) of the french foreign legion since 1962. Marseille is within 15' drive, the wonderful Cassis coastline less than 30', and Aix barely an hour's drive. The location is thus ideal, close to highways, yet "off the beaten path". This hotel, a 16th century provencal "bastide" (manor house) had been run by the same family since 1932. They had over the years put it at some of the best standards for such a place. Exquisite food, a warm and family type welcome. All the guests remember Mrs Marignane, a delightful old lady who'd welcome you while her sons would ensure you spent a wonderful stay.
Well, the hotel has been sold...and it was not without some fear that we went there this past weekend. Sure, the Marignane family is no longer in charge, but the new staff is well in command and focused on maintaining the same level of quality and actually renovating this wonderful place.
Sure, there is still a few issues here and there - breakfast could be a bit more flawless in its service, but there's so much enthusiasm in the staff that one quickly forgets the few issues.
Now - if you're a fan of super-modern, flashy places with lots of gimmicks, don't come to this place. But, if you wish to experience an old family house like so many which existed in Provence and share the love it brings to its staff, then do come.
A quick word on the restaurant / food - there too the previous owners has set a high standard. We're happy to report that the new chef and crew are doing an even better job. Food was exquisite, wine choice perfect and service to match.
This is the perfect place for a weekend getaway, especially off-season in the fall or spring, when the heat hasn't settled in and one can enjoy the beauty of the provencal sunlight and the mountainous landscape close by.
Only one negative note but they're working on it - Wifi doesn't really work in the rooms - drawback of those old houses with thick walls...
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- Also Known As:
- Relais De La Magdeleine Hotel Gemenos
- Relais De La Magdeleine Gemenos