The Lap of Luxury

Don’t be put off by the rather austere exterior and understated façade of the Beau Rivage in Nice.  This is a hotel where you will definitely need your posh sunnies, being located very close to the silky Mediterranean sea in the South of France.  Its location is in old part of the city of Nice on Rue Saint François de Paule and ever so close to the Promenade des Anglais and the Flower Market.  Promenading along the sea front on this particular street is de rigeur for tourists and locals and one cannot promenade without the sunglasses.  It’s just not done.

The Beau Rivage is a chic 4 star hotel in every sense of the word, ever since it first opened its doors in 1860.  It attracts tourists, celebrities and ‘others’ like a magnet.  The fact that the only distance between the hotel and the seafront is to cross over one road makes it a very attractive place to stay for those who like blue seas and blue skies and to show off a little.  It is best not to travel with hand luggage only as this is a place where you should/must dress for dinner and if staying for more than one night you definitely need several changes of swimwear.

Our intention initially was to stay at the famous Negresco but as the cost of a bedroom there was prohibitive we opted to go there for a cocktail and to boast that we had been there.  This proved a fascinating hour as I spent most of the time trying not to stare at a nearby small group of foreign businessmen (with ladies) who were enjoying themselves in a rather loud fashion.  The ladies wore fishnet tights so I will say no more about that!  We found the ambiance in the Beau Rivage a more restrained and elegant affair.

The Reception:  The re-design of the Reception has made this space into a mirror oasis of the outside stony beach, except that the stones are much larger and more sculpted.  The trend for beige/brown is very evident but this is a place that suits this colour as it offers a sense of calm after all the bright vibrant blues of the sky and sea outside.  Here the designer was well aware that guests would be happy to neutralise after the heat and excitement of the outdoors. Note that these colours work well in the South of France but not in every country, especially those who don’t have that outdoor colour vibrancy.

The Bedrooms:  There are 114 bedrooms in the 5 story building, which can be best described as being mostly on the  ‘petite’ size.  However, the designer kept kept their wits about them and went down the road of ‘chic’.  They were not afraid of bold colours but my favourite are the rooms with flowery chintzy style, which never goes out of fashion.  Even though small the rooms include lots of extra touches giving them a nudge up the luxury ladder and the housekeeping is of an excellent standard.

Dining and Surroundings:  There is the excellent Restaurant des Galets, which is perfect for breakfast.  It is also a good winter option for dining when it is just a tad too cool for the Restaurant on the beach.  As mentioned earlier they have their own private beach with loungers and a restaurant with views that represent the epitome of the south of France.  The food in the restaurant is excellent and very fishy, with lobster and moules being two of the succulent offerings to tempt you.   Now be warned the loungers on the beach are lined up very close together.  I personally felt like a sausage where I thought everybody should turn at the same time to get that even suntan.  In a very tourist oriented region it is abundantly clear that space is at a premium and beach space even more so.

Aside from lounging on the beach there are lots of activities such as paragliding, parasailing and other water sports.  A recommendation is a guided tour of the old part of the town and of course promenading on the Promenade des Anglais (wearing sunglasses).  Well worth a visit is the Musee National de Marc Chagall where there is an extensive display of his expressionist and cubist artwork.  For a day excursion you can always take a bus and visit Cannes or St. Tropez where all the beautiful people hang out.

Always remember when on that promenade in the south of France nothing makes you look more like a local than the Gallic shrug!

Hotel Beau Rivage

Hotel Beau Rivage
24, rue Saint François de Paule – 06300 Nice, France.
Tel: +33 (0)492 47 82 82
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