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Hostellerie Berard
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Reviewed 2 August 2012

This review will specifically address our dinner on May 9. However, I have patronized this place for years with various guests, and I could have written more or less similar reviews each time. This review does not address the hotel part, since I haven’t slept at this place since years.
The region of Marseille is rather poor in terms of luxury tables. Bérard is one of them, to be ranked amidst Passedat, l’Epuisette, Villa Madie and le Montecarlo, on the hill of Castellet, right opposite to la Cadière d’Azur. This is one of these places where you can learn what is dining and wining the French way, if you don’t know what this means, with rich food, pre-starters, post desserts, etc.. and prices that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Food: Jean-François Bérard has now taken over from his father, and kept the level of excellence. In fact, if I wasn’t afraid that Mrs. Bérard spanks me next time I go there (she’s a tough Lady), I would even wonder whether he did not upscale 1 step. His concept is to use the best product and never mix more than 3 different tastes, to avoid hiding the original taste of the product. It works perfectly.
Wine list: a very large selection mainly overpriced. Still, if you’re a connoisseur, you should be able to find some good value bottles, or rare ones.
Service: so French! Both offhand and stylish and the same time. The absolute opposite of what you would expect, say, in the US, and a French specialty that foreigners call sometimes being arrogant which it is not! Most of the waiters speak English. Mrs. Bérard speaks fluently Italian as well. She wasn’t there on May 9th, though. Chef Jean-François visits each table at the end of the dinner, and is very attentive to any remarks guests would make.
Summary: go there for a dining experience, and be ready to pay the price.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank eh_tonnant_voyageur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2012

Firstly, with regard to comments made by other travelers, if you are looking for a chain hotel like the Hilton or Sofitel this place is not for you. It feels more like a B&B than a hotel. We were in the Rose room overlooking the nice swimming pool with a wonderful view of the surroundings. Check in was smooth although it can be cumbersome to get your bags to the room. When you drive up just stop when you are in front of the place to unload your bags. They will move the tables so you can park don't worry if you block traffic for 30 secs it seems to be a norm in this town and do one really seems to mind. . If you drive past it you will have to go all the way around again. They have a convienet parking garage just down the hill.

The room was bright if a bit small. The bathroom was large, well appointed and had the best rain shower I have had in all of Europe. A small mini bar is provided that can easily hold a few bottles of rose. Bacau of the spa the hotel has a wonderful floral scent to it. We did not use the spa. The breeakfest was very nice.

Our experience was a good one. The staff is friendly with a good command of English. The only knock I would have is the wifi signal is very weak. It does not work outside the lobby and even there I was kicked off often. I find this to be a very common problem in France. I don't think many of them understand who important a good wifi signal is to North Americans who are often using it to stay in touch with home due to roaming charges.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank WorldTraveller77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2012

This hotel is located in a tiny hill town. It is known for it's spa and gourmet meals. The dinner was incredible the hotel awful. If it wasn't for the amazing meal I would have given it 1 star. The hotel is a conglomeration of several buildings resulting in a maze of hallways and steps. To get from our room to the front desk and restaurant we literally had to go outside our building and into another building, it was very confusing. Our room was on ground level in the back of the building with floor to ceiling windows opening onto the pool area, we were below ground to the front of the building. We were just above the laundry room and I think other machinery which was generating tremedous heat into our room. They told us that it was too early in the season to turn the A/C on so the only way to cool this unbearably hot room down was to keep the windows open. Unfortunately that night there was a celebration in town due to a rugby match. We did not get any sleep since the noise went on until 3:30 a.m.and we had to keep the windows wide open. I also was afraid that at any time a person could walk right through our windows and into our room.
When we arrived at this hotel lunch hour had just ended, we were starving and couldn't even beg a piece of bread off of them. We went down the street and talked to a small restaurant owner and told her how hungry we were and she opened up her store and fed us salads. We were so thankful we left her a 20 euro tip.
The dinner was excellent the hotel awful. Kevin & Linda Smith

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kevinvest1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBE83, Directeur général at Hostellerie Berard, responded to this reviewResponded 21 June 2012

Dear Guests,

We have noted your comments and thank you. However, we are surprised that during your short stay, you have not asked to change room. The problem of heat was solved the next day by our technician. We apologize for this incident also technical. You make the following remark "hotel awful... hotel with 1 star" : you might not enjoy charming hotels and prefer chain hotels and resorts ; I understand but know that our hotel is composed of a set of character houses in the heart of an authentic village with narrow streets (from antic convent of 11th century to tradtional house of 19th century). Each room is different with bathrobe, minibar, satellite TV, air conditionning, hairdryer, bathroom with italian shower and bathtub, beds 160 cm or 180 like you had, rooms overlooking the pool, the perched village of Castellet, vineyards of Bandol, or our village. (I add in the photo section, a few personal photos like the charming room you had facing the pool on the ground floor). Is it a 1 star hotel room ?

For lunch, we welcome our guests from 12.00 to 02.00 PM. Indeed, we stop the service after 02.30 PM as in many traditional restaurants but our reception team can provide information to restaurants that close late in the area.

Finally, note that the village of "La Cadière d'Azur" is quiet and that for over 43 years, we have our hotel and we have never had a security problem. Your observation about this is indeed surprising.

Sincerely,

Danièle BERARD

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2012

We so enjoyed our stay here, and the cooking school experience with Rene, that we plan to go back as soon as possible.

Room Tip: The facilitiesa nd rooms are all stunning
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank SubZero56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 November 2011

what a difference!! from one 3 star hotel to another!? this place MUST be more than a 3 star, yet that's what it said on the building...from the appalling treatment we received at the grim "coteau de fleuri" in beautiful grimaud to this wonderful warm welcome in an elegant setting, a belle surprise indeed!
the hotel staff were professional, the place was squeaky clean and thoroughly modernized, but in a very charming way. we usually prefer more "original" furnishings, but this was a relief after some very 1950's and 60's furniture (and possibly sheets & towels) we had suffered though. our room was small but perfectly proportioned, with some english TV channels and a computer for guest use in the corridor (that was decorated with antiques). we were offered our choice of rooms (take that, you nasty man from the coteau fleuri!!), and we actually chose the smallest one, as it was the most pleasing.
the view is gorgeous from all the parts of the hotel we saw. we didn't use the spa, but they were offering some kind of free treatment with our room...we didn't have time, but in future, i will book in for more than one night, and make full use of the spa!
we walked around for about an hour and a half before dinner...this is a proper town, not a tourist attraction. still some beautiful buildings and incredible views, but you get more of a feeling of life, and not just a photo shoot. we sat at one of the cafe tables on the tree-lined main street for a glass of wine and watched the locals in action, fabulous!
next came a wonderful bistro meal in the conservatoire below (the 5 star restaurant was closed), with fantastic ideas, including a sort of bruschetta, served warm and oozing with chevre, honey and fresh figs, oooh! there were many other delightful truffle-filled or foie-riddled tasty french concoctions on the menu, we wanted to taste them all. the wine list was good too (99% of the wine in that area is wonderful, so hard to choose a bad one!) staff at the restaurant not perhaps as attentive as the hotel staff, but still an overall great experience.
breakfast was fairly basic but had some nice surprises...again, you are drinking in the view and listening to a host of birds...which gradually dawned on us was from a CD, not from the open windows! the one waitress couldn't really keep up with the demand for coffees and hot milk, but she did her best and was very pleasant.
all in all, i can't wait to go again.

Room Tip: we took a room in the reception building, as we found the smell from the spa a bit overwhelming, and worried that people might use the pool & make noise.
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank hedgepig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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