It was a small provincial hotel, in Marseille "vieux port". In the guides, they called it "hôtel de charme". Its original name was "hôtel Beauséjour". It was renamed "hôtel du Vieux Port". Room 27 remained room 27.
The hotel had less than 27 room but for some reason, the ownersallocated to the rooms random numbers. I seem to recall that he wanted to give the rooms real names like "Chambre Bleue" or "Chambre des Lilas" but when guests started to write reviews with the room numbers they decided to stick with them.
Reviews were generally good. Guests highlighted that the rooms were bright and clean, well appointed. They often noted the little garden at the back where breakfast was set, weather permitting. And the weather permitted nearly all year around, except when the Mistral descended on the city of Marseilles, closing shutters and doors and deserting squares and restaurant terraces. Guest also liked the freshwhite cotton sheets and thickbathroom towels, smelling oflavender, a touch of luxury for a small provincial 3 stars "hôtel de charme". Reviews often recommend booking me, Room 27.
The owners are a retired couple who moved South from Paris. They invested their life savings in this old "maison bourgeoise", renovated the place with gusto. He was a landscaper and he created at the back of the house an English garden with an old bird bath and some old statues they uncovered in some antique fairs. She chose the furniture, the curtains and the bed covers. They invested in high pressure showers and put some Mexican tiles in the bathroom. The decoration was eclectic, tasteful, and a little unpredictable. Most guests liked it, specifically Americans.
Room 27 is the best in the hotel. It has a nice view. Looking carefully on the right you can see a triangle of Mediterranean Sea, deep blue, between old Marseille's roofs. It has a large bed in one corner, a decorative original fireplace, and two large dormer windows. It is spacious with a sloping roof on one side. And old oak secretary is placed under one of the windows. There is a slim mirror on the bathroom door. It is one of the mirrors where you can see yourself from top to bottom. Guests like it. I have noticed that guests who are staying alone look at themselves, naked.
The floor is lime washed white oak, and the owners have placed an Indian rug that they brought back from their travels.
Kids are welcome in the hotel although some rooms are too small to accommodate another bed. Not Room 27. The owner will install a cot for babies in Room 27if needed. When a kid is announced the owners will roll the Indian carpet and tuck it away, I am not sure where.
There are a couple of plugs close to the secretary. None close to the bed. The guests often complain about having to plug their phones far from the bed.
I hear the guest comments and arguments and whispers. I hear their love making and their farts. I spy on their phone calls and smile to theirsoliloquies. I always listen, pay attention and observe. I am all ears and eyes. In every corner of my room. My guests have no secrets for me during their stay and their secrets are safe with me. I know them when they are in my Room. I ignore them when they are away. Out of sight. Out of ear. The silence of an empty room.
I try to know my regular guests a little bit. I sense their mood and I see the books they are reading. I meet their new lovers. I notice when they put on some weight or drink too much. I sense their happiness or loneliness. My walls, furniture, objects are attentive companions for a day, a night or a week. I surround my guests like an empathy chamber. I watch over their sleep. I am after all the place they choose to spend the night. They have travelled, they have projects and hopes, people to meet, they need a rest and a new decorum. They are away from their home and life. A little lost. A little freer. They have a room with a view on the blue sea. They have chosen to stay my Room. Room 27.