Nice is reputed to have the most hotel rooms of any French city – and there’s certainly a lot to choose from. So if you’re looking to book a stay in the French Riviera as lockdown restrictions ease, we’ve picked everything from old-school charm to a little modern delight – something to suit every taste and budget.
This upmarket boutique hotel is a bijou affair. Perched high in the hills, complete with heated swimming pool – carved into the cliffside – and amazing views over the Med, it’s away from the crowds, so you’ll find plenty of ways to chill out here, whether that’s by the pool or down on the beach a short stroll away. The 56 rooms are all individually designed – and the hotel has its own bar and restaurant for pre-dinner cocktails to go with those postcard verandah views.
Crowned by a vivid pink dome supposedly inspired by the architect’s mistress, Hôtel Negresco is one of the city’s most standout landmarks along the Promenade des Anglais. The belle-époque hotel has been a symbol of French culture and hospitality for over a century, entertaining kings, queens and the odd rock star too. Inside, you’ll be bowled over by the marble-floored rotunda, with its intricately decorated glass ceiling. Diligent doormen dressed in navy and red frock coats are there to greet you and help take your bags to your room – upgrade to a Rivoli double for views over the Palais Massena gardens, or a deluxe sea view room for sweeping vistas over the Baie-des-Anges.
Dating back to 1890, this petite 24-room gem is tucked away back from the sea. All whitewashed stucco, French windows and Louis XIV-style furniture – you get the feeling you’re in a French period drama here, as opposed to a modern boutique hotel. There’s no restaurant, but there are plenty of cafes and bars nearby. And if it’s just a chilled glass of rosé you’re after, then the garden’s greenery-draped pergola is the perfect spot. Compared with other hotels on the main drag, Villa Rivoli offers an unrivalled touch of affordable luxury.
This hotel may have a rather traditional look on the outside, yet it’s anything but inside. From the Andy Warhol-inspired lift to its tropical paradise of a heated outdoor pool and posters of Tintin on the wall, it alludes to the individuality of the rooms. There are 57 of them, 30 of which have been designed by artists in various modern styles, such as graffiti walls or comic strips. If you’re after something a little more classic, the remaining 27 rooms offer a more conventional welcome. Hotel Windsor is central, affordable, unpretentious – and lots of fun.
This elegant boutique hotel is close to the station, so it’s a little further out from the sea than most – but still only a six-minute walk from the Promenade des Anglais. Rooms are soundproofed and come with free wifi and sleek flat-screen TVs. It doesn’t have its own restaurant but there’s ample choice of restaurants right around the corner. You can look forward to a fresh breakfast of flaky pastries and chilled fruit – not to mention the sea views if you upgrade to a room with a balcony overlooking the Med.
This four-star boutique hotel has a real mid-century vibe to it, without scrimping on the sort of mod cons you’d expect of any hotel in the capital of the French Riviera. Wake up early in your plush double bed and head up to the roof for a morning dip in the pool, hot tub, or both. When you’re done, the on-site L’EssenCiel restaurant is ready and waiting to ply you with an excellent buffet breakfast.
This small hotel is situated in Cimiez, perched in the hills above the Med. It’s an exclusive part of town, mostly residential, so there isn’t much in the way of local restaurants and bars – but it’s a great choice if you’re looking for peace and quiet, with postcard-worthy sea views your backdrop. Down on the bloom-drenched terrace, you can brave the cold of the plunge pool on hot days, or relax on a sun lounger. The garden is a tranquil spot where you can read the morning papers (The New York Times is available) with a cup of rousing coffee to kickstart the day.
Le Meurice is more of a traditional boutique hotel, with wonderful art deco touches and an elegant wrought-iron lift to take you to your room. There are 23 to choose from, all recently renovated with parquet floors and 1920s furnishings, while bathrooms redefine lavish with hydro-massage showers or jet-powered bathtubs. There’s no restaurant here, but there many eateries within strolling distance and the leafy Albert 1er garden for cold drinks and ice creams when the sun is beating down.
Hotel La Villa Victor Hugo is set on one of the most beautiful tree-lined streets in Nice, just a stone’s throw from the Promenade des Anglais. You might think the superb belle-époque façade is an indication of what’s to come within – but its 47 rooms are as modern as they come, with free wifi, books repurposed into headboards and literary quotations adorning the corridor walls. This is a nod to the hotel’s namesake, arguably the most famous playwright France has ever produced. You can also take advantage of a 24-hour bar, and a selection of exceptional champagnes produced by the Ployez Jacquemart and Gardet estates.