Hailed as one of the most memorable hotels in the whole of France, Hotel Negresco has been going strong for over a century. Nestled on the iconic Promenade des Anglais, the candy whipped ice white and pretty pink building has become synonymous with the French Riviera playground of Nice. Settled in the pages of the history books, these ornate walls boast a billion stories – of celebrity tangled love affairs, antiques seemingly from Louis XIII’s own stash, and even a bar where Richard Burton lingered over his drinks. From Marilyn Monroe to Elton John and Madonna, anyone who is anyone has passed through these doors.
Speaking of doors, the tone is set as soon as you pull up outside of the ornate building. The doormen dressed in frills, breeches and top hats are there to usher you in. Behind these doors sit hundreds of years of French finesse and captivating culture; from the authentic antique treasures to the architecture from Moulin Rouge designer Edouard – Jean Niermans. Everything about the hotel, with its 94 rooms and 31 suites is all pomp and perfection.
Despite the penchant for Marie Antoinette inspired valuables, the Negresco beautifully blends the old world with the new. Technology reigns behind the scenes in this super deluxe palatial place, the rooms even adapt on cue to your personal preferences for bath water temperature, lighting, and other such touches that make you feel completely at home.
The rooms are of course glorious, none more so than the ‘Exceptional’ junior suites. The Marie Antoinette Suite pulls all those golden threads from Versailles, bringing boudoir style beside the sea. Fall into the grace of a Louis XVI bed at the end of the day, and wake up to dreamy terrace views across the Mediterranean. Period furnishings come in shades of dark wood and bronze, contrasting beautifully against the lemon yellows, dark powder blues, and rich cream tones.
If you prefer the taste of Charleston parties and the echo of 1920’s jazz, then the Butterfly Junior Suite is a showdown winner with its art deco furnishings in shades of black, gold and green. The Pompadour Junior Suite captures the charm of King Louis XV, and the Imperial Suite pays homage to Empress Josephine.
The hotel’s proprietor is Mme Augier, the grandest of dames and now in her 90s is every bit as fascinating as her grand hotel. From chatting to Russian countesses in furs to lingering over wall hangings with Picasso and Dali, she has welcomed everyone from the Queen of England to Clint Eastwood through her doors all while throwing the hotel rule book out the window. There is no spa or swimming pool, but when there is this much personality – who cares?
Along with swathes of silky personality, the hotel also boasts a double Michelin starred restaurant – Le Chantecler. In keeping with the theme of utterly enchanting and indulgent, you can dine beneath the palatial glass domed roof on crab with Corsican lemon jelly, veal sweetbreads with liquorice, and sollies figue roasted with earl grey. Of course, the sommelier floats around the room with beautiful bottles of vintage goodness, ensuring every note rises in harmony with the artistry on the plate.
The bar is another jewel in the crown of Negresco, Richard Burton was a patron of Le Relais, where the walnut paneling and love of cocktails makes for an enticing environment, especially as the rich and famous are forever passing through these parts. Sipping a drink at the bar and thinking back over the illustrious history the hotel has lived, you feel as though you have found the beating heart of France herself.