Apartment rentals are a great option for an economical stay in Nice. Not only are they less expensive per night than conventional hotels, but also you save a lot more as you are no longer obligated to go out for every meal, and having a kitchen allows you take take advantage of the fabulous open-air markets and delectable food finds in Old Nice.
Not to mention that that an apartment rental gives you get a much more authentic experience of life in Nice, especially in the Old Town. Why stay in a generic hotel room when you can stay in one of the most iconic buildings in Old Nice, people watch from your private balcony, or survey the rooftops of Old Nice from a penthouse apartment? AirBnB has hundreds of apartments in Old Nice and although there are some that are pretty basic, there are also many with a terrific sense-of-place that can really set the tone for your stay.
The safest and most popular apartment rental site is AirBnb, with over 200 private apartments for rent in Old Nice alone. Their site is the easiest for choosing an apartment, as you see what’s available on a map, and as you pass your cursor over the various apartments a bubble photo pops up with the price, so you can get a feel for the various apartments right away and don’t have to scroll and click through long lists, like with the other sites.
Whereas you pay the full amount up front when you book (credit card, debit card or paypal), AirBnb holds your funds and doesn’t transfer even a centime to the apartment owner until after you have arrived and been in the apartment for 24 hours, to be sure that everything is exactly as promised. You also rate the apartment at the end of your rental, which is a strong incentive for the owner to make sure that everything is perfect. The owners are vetted, the apartments and rentals are insured, and the system works pretty well. If you decide to use AirBnb, click here for a 30€ discount on your first rental.
HomeAway, Holiday Rentals, VRBO and other similar sites allow you to pay direct to the owner, normally paying 1/3 or 1/2 up front, and the rest when you arrive. Some owners send contracts, some don’t. As there is no middleman, there is no standard insurance… or assurance of quality. Your one ace-in-the-hole is that you can critique and rate the apartment at the end of your stay if things are not as they should be: even one terrible review can tank a rental property. Read all the reviews carefully before booking an apartment on one of these sites.
Alternately, you can rent through a reputable local apartment rental agency like Nice Pebbles, who only deals in quality apartments and maintains a high service standard; their reputation assures you a good experience. Other major local rental agencies in Nice include the very friendly and family-run Go Nice Apartments, and also YNA Your Nice Apartment. With a local rental agency, there is always someone to call, and you are guaranteed a rapid professional response if anything needs fixing.
The worst way to rent a private apartment is through Craig’s List or the local want-ads like Le Bon Coin. You might find cheaper apartments, but there are no reviews, no verification of the owner’s identity, and no vetting to make sure the person placing the ad really owns the apartment, or even that the apartment even really exists. There were several cases in 2014 where renters arrived with their luggage to find that they were scammed and that the apartment didn’t exist, or was not for rent at all!
Nice Hotel Tax
There is a hotel tax in Nice of 1.50€ a night, and starting in 2015 all rental apartments are supposed to collect it and pay it, most don’t. Some unscrupulous property owners try to extract a larger tax saying that the government requires it, but just know that the max tax for you as a renter is 1.90€/night.
By the way, if you arrive early before check-in, or leave long after check-out, there are a couple of luggage storage services available. In the Old Town, park your bag for 8€/day with The Bag Guys just off Place Rossetti (turn at Fenocchio ice cream) or at Friend in France on 9 rue Gubernatis. There is no longer luggage storage at the train station, but you can drop your bags at a couple of nearby hotels that accept non-guest luggage, and the airport does have luggage storage, but now only in Terminal 2. Click here for a page on all your luggage storage options in Nice.
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