We stayed here overnight at the end of a week's holiday in the South of France and had decided to treat ourselves by spending a little more than usual and experiencing this iconic hotel for ourselves. I've been agonising over whether to award an 'excellent' or a 'very good' to the hotel, based on our experiences, and in this case I've gone for 'very good' on the grounds that there were one or two very small niggles, without which this would truly have been a magnificent experience.
There is no faulting this hotel's location, with spectacular views and handy for most local amenities by foot. The building itself is stunning and a real icon, which is one of the things which attracted us to book it in the first place. The interior feels kind of 'oldey-worldey comfortable faded opulence' and when you walk into the cool, circular lobby you really feel as if you are stepping into another world- and that's before you even set foot in any of the other public rooms, which are all spectacular and littered with amazing works of artold and new, collected by the owner.
Our room (112) was comfortable and very impressive in a quirky way, with crazy, mis-matched furniture and very bright colours everywhere. We loved it though- it was kind of eccentric and likeable and certainly made us smile. We had a pink wall, a turquoise wall, a wall painted with a mural, a magnificent gold four-poster bed with twiddly bits and supported by carved lions, gold twiddly light fittings, a pink-and-blue-glass chandelier and a beautiful marble bathroom with bronze glittery bathtub and matching sinks. This was all matched with beautiful antique walnut furniture and a very modern TV stand, complete with a flat screen telly (dozens of different channels available in all languages). The bed was supremely comfortable and we could lie back on it and admire the top of the canopy which was a little picture of cherubs cavorting in what looked like a sea of coffee beans, on the ceiling.
The positives, then? This was a truly memorable experience and one which we will probably repeat at some point. The view from our room was great- we had a sea view as well as looking over the cardens next door- and the service was generally polite, friendly and efficient, if perhaps a little off-hand. A very sociable check-out time of midday was also appreciated.
The niggles? Well, maybe I'm over-expecting here, but in our experience, a lot of the smaller and cheaper hotels in Nice (All Seasons, Holiday Inn etc) offer free shuttle services to and from the airport which are very much appreciated, subject to a small tip for the driver who will turn up in a nice minibus and help you on and off with your bags. On arrival at the airport, and having checked our hire car in, I called the Negresco to ask if a shuttle service was available (we assumed that as one of the more expensive hotels in the City, something might be provided). I was kept on hold for ages, waiting to speak to a Concierge, who eventually told me there was no shuttle and that I should take a number 98 bus or a taxi, before hanging up. Now we didn't pay a huge price for our room but for all the guy on the phone knew, we could have been booked into one of their top suites, we could have been VIPs, whatever, and I felt the service was a bit brusque. I was quite surpised at the lack of any transfer facility.
So we took a taxi in the end as the queue for the number 98 bus was huge, which set us back 35 Euros for a 10-minute drive in a pleasant Merc with an equally pleasant driver. 'Ouch' we thought, but hey, we were on our way to the Negresco and this was Nice, after all. Never mind. Our return to the airport, by the way, cost us even more, organised for us by the Negresco and in a fairly shabby people carrier which smelt very strongly of cigarettes (although the driver was nice). Lesson learned- in the future we make our own transfer arrangements in advance.
On arrival at the hotel- around midday- we enquired at the Reception desk, only to be told our room wouldn't be ready before 3pm and that we would have to go away and come back. They did take our luggage, which was a blessing, but I couldn't help wondering how it would take 3 hours to clean a room. Never mind, off we went to explore the surrounding area and find something to eat and drink.
At 3pm sharp, we returned, having spent a rather warm and sticky three hours in Nice and craving a nice cool room (and a shower to boot!). Only to be told that the room wasn't quite ready and wouldn't be available to us until at least 3.30pm! Again, I found this odd. 3.30 is unusually late and we had somewhere to be at 5pm so we were keen to freshen up and settle in. The Receptionist did at least offer us a complimentary drink each in the bar next door, which was stunning, and the drinks were appreciated although to be honest we felt very scruffy and out of place in our scruffy shorts and vest tops, and we'd certainly have preferred to visit the bar after a good shower and clean-up. To this end, I think the problem was quite well handled, in that we were able to sit and relax, but it was a little disappointing that it took quite so long for our room to be ready.
In short? A fascinating place riddled with history, and which should probably be experienced at least once. Quirky, stylish and very cute. Our room was good value for what we paid (we got a good online deal via a third party site several months in advance) and we'd certainly go back- but with a couple of small reservations, in that we felt the service was perhaps not quite as good as it could have been, our room took far too long to prepare, and we did feel they could at least offer some kind of in-house shuttle service, given the cost of their product. If the cheap hotels can manage an on-call minibus and driver, then perhaps some of the big boys could manage it too. And THAT would have turned this very good experience into an excellent one.
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- Also Known As:
- Negresco Hotel Nice
- Hotel Negresco Nice