Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Hôtel Le Negresco


The only place to stay in Nice

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Hôtel Le Negresco
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Hôtel Le Negresco


Directly overlooking La Promenade des Anglais.

Travel Information

Less than 15 mins from Nice Côte d'Azur Airport by car or, preferably, limousine.

Top Tips

Book a sea view suite or one of the three 'exceptional suites' if the budget allows.

5-Star X-Factors

The views! The art! The Suites! The cuisine!

A cultural cut above the rest

Less than fifteen minutes from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, Hôtel Le Negresco occupies pole position on the Promenade des Anglais overlooking La Baie des Anges (the Bay of Angels). It’s a ten-minute walk from central Place Masséna and a few strides to a private beach club across the way.

The Negresco blends modernism and classicism with spades of 'savoir-vivre’. It is home to old masters and contemporary objets d’art, while the suites and rooms benefit from a recent renovation with a seemingly open chequebook, including all the latest techno necessities. It’s a veritable palace with a quirky spirit and an almost mythical legacy.

A Nice landmark with haut Côte d’Azur allure

Its white stucco, neo-gothic façade is an imposing landmark on this famous promenade, not least because of its pink roof and standout pink dome, allegedly a reference to the breasts of the architect’s mistress. However, if the outside is imposing then the inside is even more so. But, this is not a stuffy, nor elitist, luxury palace hotel; it has a modern air with a patrician heir(ess), who still resides on the top floor.

The hotel opened its doors in January 1913 at the hands of a young Romanian named Henri Negrescu, who named it Negresco and added architecturally stunning features along the way. This included the staggering glass and steel dome, built by Edouard-Jean Niermans, which crowns the hotel’s Salon Royal. Previously a ballroom, this salon is now classified as a historic monument.

Prominent figures including: Kings and Queens, the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilt’s, Hollywood stars and politicians from around the world were soon gracing the suites and reception rooms of the hotel, in order to enjoy its unparalleled haute Côte d’Azur allure and spectacular location. However, after surviving two World Wars, it fell into disrepair until, 56 years ago, it was revived by its current owner, Jeanne Augier, who saw its renaissance as her life’s ambition.

An eclectic hotel for aesthetes

Today, after years of curating the finest antiques, objet d’art, museum-worthy paintings and sculptures, the hotel now showcases its eclectic collection for art lovers and aesthetes. Art is at the soul of this hotel, more so than any other we have stayed in, with works by Moretti, Dali, Niki de Saint Phalle, Klimt, Chagall, Picasso, in fact it spans over 400 years of exceptional French treasures. This priceless collection is featured throughout the building, enveloping your every turn.

But there is more. A cascading Folies Bérgère chandelier hangs from the centre of the dome, with its twin residing in the Kremlin. The doorman and voituriers are dressed in red breeches, black tights, blue tailcoats and fez hats complete with tassels. This Belle Époque theatre is one of the many idiosyncratic dramas directed by Jeanne Augier, who bought the hotel inn 1957, and sadly died in 2018. On our recent visit, we took our youngest, aged 8, and she felt, unsurprisingly, like a latter-day princess.

Our divine sea-facing suite

Our Suite 212 was on the second floor, facing the sea and overlooking the soaring palms of the Promenade des Anglais. The suite flowed from an elegant sitting room with French windows onto a private balcony into the main boudoir. There were two marble-clad bathrooms and an interconnecting door to another bedroom, which would have been perfect had we brought more of the family.

The knockout delight, beyond the lavish finishes in silks and velvets, is the view, which lingers long after you leave. Combine the two and you would be hard pushed to find a suite on this stretch of the Côte d’Azur with more seductive appeal. I was, however, not a fan of the gold glitter Hugh Heffner-style tub in one of the bathrooms. But, who knows, perhaps he stayed here, too?

A round table on the white pillared balcony was dressed with chilled champagne, a fragrant bouquet of roses and a little black Chanel bag filled with samples of perfume, lipstick, manicure set; Marilyn must-haves. She loved it here, apparently. On the coffee table in front of the mint velvet sofa was a tray laid with fresh fruit and hand-spun chocolate truffles: something for all us.

The lunchtime sky in powder blue above the even bluer azure of the Med was so enchanting it was hard to leave the balcony. The palms were swaying lightly in the sea breeze and the young at heart were frolicking in the water on jet skis and speedboats. A large smiling yellow ‘emoji-face’ parachute shuffled adrenalin-junkies back and forth into the sea, while onlookers sipped drinks from loungers on the pebbly beach.

Sundown and gastronomy

By dusk the sea becomes a different playground, playing host to twinkling luxury yachts, while Nice takes on its evening identity. Cocktails are shaken, DJs start spinning, and sneakers turn into heels or elegant mules. It’s fun to dress up here, but you don’t have to. What’s so relaxing about Le Negresco is that it attracts such a wide range of luxe-trotters, from the trendy to the not-so-bendy, which means anything goes; from classic Tods and Ferragamos to ankle-breaking Manolos.

As the horizon streaked all the dreamy shades of dusky pink and dove grey, it was time to enjoy our star-studded Grand Menu Signature at the legendary 2-Michelin star Chantecler restaurant. However, first we enjoyed excellent cocktails beside the beautifully bulbous mosaic statue of Miles Davis, by Niki de Saint Phalle, on the popular champagne terrace beside the Promenade. The dreadlocked DJ sampled jazz and funk while the sky turned a deep sapphire blue – a perfect backdrop for the incandescent façade.

That night we dined like kings in Chantecler on the grandest menu for miles, in fact, a little too grand for me as the portions are far from meagre. The room is eye-catching, though decoratively not to everyone’s taste. Grand Regency era meets flower power 70’s, with panelled walnut walls adorned with impressive portraits; fuchsia pink armchairs surround starched white cloths above a psychedelic-patterned carpet with chandeliers hanging here, there and everywhere. The cuisine, however, surpasses all this eccentricity and the focus thereafter is on the explosion of flavours that consume your taste buds.

Virginie Basselot is in the vanguard of the new generation of French gastronomy and has created taste sensations with an artistry in keeping with the masters that throng the walls, hallways and corners of the hotel. The food is not too rich with Provençal roots, but the ingredients are bold and classically influenced; lobster, foie gras, crab, turbot, sweetbread, prawns, beef and so it continues, supremely seasoned and perfectly prepared. I skipped the foie gras: it was a block too far. The wine list is a match for the cuisine, with exquisite classics alongside more local choices from Bandol and Côtes de Provence. An experience to be repeated.

Before I finish, I must also mention that the service at the Negresco is consistently excellent, making it inconceivable to stay anywhere else in Nice. I would even go as far as to say they make you feel truly at home.

If only…

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer