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“Enjoy Provence in a real and luxurious local setting”

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Relais de la Magdeleine
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Gemenos
Reviewed 27 October 2015

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...

Room Tip: you can ask for a room with a view on the mountains...
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  • Stayed: October 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Yves M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LaMagdeleine13420, Propriétaire at Relais de la Magdeleine, responded to this reviewResponded 30 October 2015
Google Translation

Votre avis avec les comparaisons entre les anciens propriétaires et les nouveaux nous a beaucoup touché et nous vous remercions d'avoir pris le temps de nous donner tous ces détails.
Nous espérons donc vous revoir très bientôt au RELAIS DE LA MAGDELEINE afin de partager d'autres souvenirs de vos précédents passages.
Très cordialement,

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10 - 14 of 155 reviews

Reviewed 29 July 2015

I don't know how the place was before.
But I agree with the general evaluation.
You don't get what you would expect for the money you are spending.
The bastide is nice, so are the garden and swimming pool.
The rooms are just OK (AC is silent, which is not often), but you can hear noise from neighbors. Well, you are after all in a baside that was built during the French Revolution. Hence, they were not building with today's standard.
Breakfast was really disappointing. Orange juice typical from Tropicana (Supermarket).
Pastries were OK, but that's all. Supermarket cheese and ham, nothing else.
Some fresh fruits, but not ripe, which during the full season is disappointing.
Bottomline, not to the advertised standard.
The food for dinner and lunch is OK, no more.
The chef is Mexican but trained in France.
But nothing is really impressive.
In fact, I found it expensive for the outcome.
The wine selection is really short.
Service is not to the expected standard.

Wireless was not working in the rooms for the 2 days we stayed there.
In conclusion, if you can go somewhere else ...

  • Stayed: July 2015, travelled on business
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank icbernard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bastide R, Propriétaire at Relais de la Magdeleine, responded to this reviewResponded 31 August 2015
Google Translation

Merci pour avoir pris le temps de poster votre avis. Concernant l'insonorisation des chambres dans une bâtisse du XVIIIème siècle vous comprendrez aisément que nous sommes soumis à certaines contraintes. Le petit déjeuner conséquent et copieux, avec pâtisseries "Maison" essaie de répondre aux attentes de tous nos clients ; rassurez vous rien chez nous n'est industriel et les fruits ( il arrive parfois que certains soient plus mûrs que d'autres) ou autres produits sont choisis avec soin chez les producteurs locaux. Petite précision, notre Chef, est français, d'origine mexicaine et il a fait ses classes parmi les plus grands. La carte des vins plus que conséquente comporte depuis peu de nouvelles sélections ; quant au service effectué, entre autres cet été, par quelques stagiaires, il a pu laisser parfois à désirer et nous nous en excusons. Enfin depuis un mois l'accès WIFI fonctionne parfaitement dans notre établissement puisque refait à neuf. Il vous suffira de revenir pour vérifier...
La Direction

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Reviewed 14 July 2015

We booked a night at this place, because of the good memories we had on it during a previous visit, we saw it as a very special place, offering good service and fine food.

So happy to return and seeing that the place kept it's magical look although some points have changed and not for the good... Upon checking in they told us we would have a very nice room on the topfloor (as returning guests), but arriving there, it seemed some one else still occupied it, so we got another (supposingly less nice) older room..

As it was very hot that day, we decided to keep it lazy next to the pool, which was a bad choice, some guests made of the pool their own and disturbed visibly all the other ones by their loud games and splash dives in the pool. Staff noticed this but didn't react at all... Shame because clearly you could see that most people were annoyed by it !

Dinner outside was previously a very special occasion, but this time it was less .. Service was very slow and really junior, some dishes were even not available, side orders never arrived (even when asking a second time), it ruined the atmosphere (certainly when we needed to explain a few times our booking 'soiree romantique' and had to clearify ourselves what was included in it..)

Upon check out the lady over there asked me how it was, so we explained, although not a single gesture was made , just a simple 'we understand', so not sure why she insisted to know...

I'm not sure we will come back over here and rather want to stick with the good memories we had from our first visit !

  • Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
4  Thank yvakat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2015

We have stayed at the Relais every year for over ten years because of the ambience created by the family who owned it for many years. This June we visited to find that the family had sold out to a third party. The accommodation was the same, the staff were pleasant but it lacked any atmosphere and was not managed front of house.
Sitting on the terrace before Dinner with an aperitif was a pleasure difficult to obtain due to lack of service. Menus were offered on which most of the dishes were scored off and a poor, efficient, overworked waitress was trying to take orders for drinks as well as telling patrons the dishes which were on offer from which we tried to make a choice. Having made a stab at a choice and eventually invited to our table it was 30 minutes before anyone appeared with our wine and nearly an hour before service really started.. There were not enough staff and the Maitre D was virtually non existent and useless. Breakfast on the terrace used to be a pleasure with a waitress to bring a basic bread basket, orange juice, tea or coffee and with jam and butter on the table. There was a buffet for those who wanted more. Now it is totally self service with coffee from a thermos, orange juice in supermarket bottles, jam in jam jars. All very well, but four star? Overall an experience we did not enjoy and sadly we will not be returning. Such a lovely place being mismanaged.
Ron and Ann Chappell .

  • Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Service
2  Thank Ronald C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2015

We have been staying at Magdeleine every year for a long time. The place is unique, and the atmosphere is almost meditative. A perfect place to "get away from it all"! We were very sad to see that the new owners do not keep up the standard. The new staff are (mostly) very friendly and nice. But this isn't quite enough: You don't expect having to wait half an hour for the menu after you are seated for dinner. In short: The service was very, very slow. We waited almost 40 minutes at the pool for a glass of wine (which turned out to be red, not white, as ordered). We waited to be served an aperitif for almost half an hour. We waited for our glasses to be refilled during dinner - which never happened, so we ended up serving ourselves. Of course, being on vacation we have all the time in the world, so it doesn't really matter. However, the former owners made us feel appreciated and taken care of. The new management & staff made us work hard to get their attention. It makes a big difference!
We are very sorry to say that despite the magic of the place, staying at Magdeleine is no longer quite worth the price. There are certainly no lack of charming, old places to stay & eat in Provence - especially not at this price level.

  • Stayed: June 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Nina H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Relais de la Magdeleine

Address: 40 avenue du 2e Cuirassier, 13420 Gemenos, France
Region: France > Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur > Bouches-du-Rhone > Gemenos
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Gemenos
Price Range: €102 - €244 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Relais de la Magdeleine 4*
Number of rooms: 29
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Also Known As:
Relais De La Magdeleine Hotel Gemenos
Relais De La Magdeleine Gemenos

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