On The Rocks At Marseille’s Tuba Club

The Med's hottest hangout is a restored dive club on a discreet stretch of the French Riviera


On the sun-soaked rocks of Marseille’s fishing neighbourhood of Les Goudes, is a pocket-sized hotel packing a punch. Tuba Club has had many lives and was first built as a cabanon or fishing shed, 100 years ago. It was reimagined in the 1980s as a scuba-diving centre and became the hangout of French record breaking free diver, Jacques Mayol and friends.

“Everything is honest and spontaneous, because that is the shed, the seaside, the salty life,” says film producer Fabrice Denizot, who founded the hotel with friends entrepreneur, Greg Gassa and designer-architect Marion Mailaender. An antithesis to the gridlock glitz of the classic French Riviera, this is laid-back, barefoot chic, born out of Marseille’s burgeoning creative scene.

A hand painted mural of bathers by local artist, Emmanuelle Luciani sets the scene on entering, while whitewashed walls are punctuated with the azure blue of the sea, framed by vast, shutterless windows. Nautical-inspired touches resound throughout: a bar upholstered in reed matting; blue and white beaded curtains; sea-green banquettes; and shipwreck-worthy ceramic pots and vases.

Lunch at Tuba

@joanna_castelli // Instagram

“We heard that oceanographer and filmmaker Jacque Cousteau used to come here. We wanted to keep the story of the location."

Greg Gassa, co-founder

A marine cabin-style bedroom // Instagram

The club's interiors by designer-architect Marion Mailaender

@edouardsanville // Instagram

The wood-cladded restaurant, with two terraces, leads out onto sea-spritzed rocks dotted with yellow-and-white-striped sunbeds. It is the ideal spot for a lunch of grilled calamari and Cotes de Provence white wine, an afternoon of lazy sunbathing and swimming, topped off by sundowners. Those lucky enough to get a booking can retire to one of five marine cabin-style bedrooms, each equipped with snorkels and flippers. One’s rock diving abilities are bound to improve.


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