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TUBA CLUB Hôtel, natural paradise in Marseille

A former diving club transformed into an accommodation for friends, this is the Tuba club, a cabin rehabilitated in the spirit of local culture and materials, to resuscitate a “lost” art of living. That of the modest, the raw, of the fight or osmosis with the natural elements. The only place where you can book a room in the Calanques National Park. Indeed! Welcome to this acclimatization airlock to the fantasized universe of the « cabanon marseillais ».

It’s over there ?

A dizzying staircase diving in the cobalt blue. Prepare mask and snorkel: that’s it! A masked-tubed Invader on the corner of the building plays clues… No way out. We have to dive from the top of the street. Below, the rocks, the rough coast. Without makeup or protection, we find ourselves, naked, under the influence of the natural elements: the sun first : here, the “cagnard” (sun in the Provençal language) hits hard. Straw hat and tinted glasses a must. Then the wind: the Mistral comes from the front with mad violence (“we barricade ourselves like before a cyclone in Florida”). Third, the stone: on this white-hot limestone mineral strip, the only refuges in summer are the sea, deep and cool when it is not stormy, the white parasols of the restaurant terrace, and the interior of the shed, where shade and freshness reign. But how not to prefer to be satiated with this raw light which transcends the body?

A diving club, located in the isolated area of ​​the Goudes district

Originally, the Tuba Club was a diving club, located in the isolated area of ​​the Goudes district, at the end of the world… in Marseille (8th arrondissement in the Calanques National Park). This is the land of fishermen in their traditional small boats, of lime factories that have been closed for a long time. A place cut off from the urban center where the inhabitants, young and old, perpetuate in summer and winter, the modest lifestyle of yesteryear, in odds and ends shacks. Only one road leads into this cul-de-sac. In snorkelling, Jacques Mayol in the company of Falco, the captain of Cousteau’s La Calypso, explored the depths of the spot located directly opposite the Tiboulen de Maïre ​​and the Maïre ​​island with its fish-filled waters.

A paradise lost

“It’s a place where time has stood still, a paradise lost, with a typical lifestyle, the cabin spirit is still very much alive there. We had to live up to it,” explains Fabrice Denizot, one of the three founders of the new cult place in Marseille where fashion designer Jacquemus is taking up residence in the summer (not under a giant sombrero!). To be up to it is to return to modesty, to economy, to minimalism. That of a Corbusier who uses poor materials in his shed which has become a universal symbol of modernism (Le Corbusier’s cabin in Roquebrune Cap-Martin) and which, everywhere at the Tuba Club, is cited as a reference in the interior architecture signed by Marion Mailaender. Thus, marine plywood, a material with a warm tone that warms Le Corbusier’s log cabin built like a chalet, and whose interior is entirely clad in this wood, this material is recurrent at the Tuba, at the bar, in the restaurant, and above all in the five bedrooms with windows overlooking the sea. Very simple large white bed, minimalist “pipe” coat rack (that of Le Corbu?) signed by the artist Elvire Bonduelle. On the shelves of the library, an original series of San Antonio, an old edition of a geographical map of the Calanques. In the bathrooms, the walls clad in white ceramic take on a yellow color under the effect of the sunlight passing through the tinted windows, the fittings and the exposed piping of the industrial boiler room used by Le Corbu are also present, an almost educational detail, to soak up this spirit of modernity which borrowed its aesthetic vocabulary from industry. “On the carpentry side, everything was made to measure by Atelier 36, carpenters in Marseille, the Provençal-style floor is made of Opus incertum, the walls are coated with lime by one of the last specialized craftsmen in the region” explains Fabrice Denizot, a professional film producer, who takes undisguised pleasure in building -in synergy with his accomplice, Grégory Gassa- this convivial place to live, touch by touch, down to the smallest decorative details, with well-designed local trinkets (like this tureen for « bouillabaisse » -name of the local fish soup-, or ceramics from Vallauris) bought on the internet or on the flee markets of Provence.

Wood, stone and stainless steel

“We looked around us. Here in Les Goudes, the elements have an extreme presence. The Tuba Club is the closest building to the water in the entire city of Marseille! The swell arrives on us with a height of 4 meters. We could only use wood, stone and stainless steel (for the ladder that descends into the sea), the materials used at the port of Les Goudes, the only ones capable of resisting. “ Perfectly confined, the building work lasted for the duration of the confinement. On the hotel entrance side, or decompression chamber, the whitewashed walls come alive with frescoes signed Emmanuelle Luciani associated with the Marseille collective Southway Studio to do as the local people here, who used to try their hand at painting on the walls of their summer shed. Terracotta potiches made in the Ravel workshops in Aubagne are nestled here and there. In the corridor of the rooms, a palm and snorkel holder to grab at any time to make a splash without thinking, not without having stepped over the mattresses, a nod to the Italian Riviera, striped in yellow and white.

Crustacean of the moment

On the wooden tables of the restaurant, the catch of the day is offered: crustacean of the moment on the coals, whole sea bass deboned and smoked on the barbecue, Mediterranean bluefin tuna in tartare… but also grilled lamb chops (which delighted the taste buds of the cabanoniers) in simplicity crossbred by the duo of Chefs, Sylvain Roucayrol and Paul-Henri Bayart.

The Tuba’s news

On the street side, the facade under construction, without windows, cultivates an enigmatic style. Wooden cladding covers the cement. The Tuba Club has just expanded thanks to the acquisition of an adjoining building which will allow the addition of three bedrooms (bringing the hotel capacity to 8 bedrooms), another dining room and a cocktail bar installed on the rooftop.

Kevin Sabatier, head barman who has worked his way through the brasseries of the old port to the luxury hotels, has been entrusted with the management of the establishment and will have to juggle with the force of the elements this winter, the storm depriving the clientele at the tables on the dyke. “Winter will be that of Pop Up gastro, Chefs’ meals for 25 people with an ephemeral menu, to be reserved on the website. “.

On the bar side, he likes to bring the bar business back to gastronomy, taking the art of the cocktail out of the syndrome of adding juice and alcohol to lead it in search of Umami, the 5th flavour, the taste of the unknown, thanks to homemade spiced syrups, cold-extracted fruit or vegetable juices, and all the inventions from his imagination to stick to the French Riviera spirit of the 1950s. To be tested from September, on the rooftop of the Tuba Club. Soon, we’ll dive in the cocktail glass!

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