An insider look at the best hotels in Old Nice, both on and off the beaten path, from five-star chic to some surprising budget hotel options…
There are just three hotels actually in the heart of Vieux Nice…
Villa La Tour Located in a medieval convent, this charming family run 2-star hotel is surrounded by local color, not to mention colorful characters. The 14 rooms are cozy but well appointed, and have a flowery country-French feel. The hotel features a delicious little restaurant with terrace dining, and there is quirky family-run wine bar just across. Regular rooms are under 50-100€, large superior rooms from 100-150€.
Hotel Rossetti, in the true heart of Old Nice, is a hidden gem that most locals don’t even know is there. Dwarfed by the grand Cathedral, their small grey door with the tiny sign completely camouflages the elegant designer boutique hotel inside. Their photos don’t do it justice: the 7 rooms are surprisingly spacious, wonderfully silent, and with a view of either the colorful streetscape or the flowery interior courtyard, which is where breakfast is served.
Palais Saleya Apartments and Suites , just off the Palais du Justice, is the latest entry to the old town, with its unique hybrid of apartments but with hotel amenities, like a 24-hour front desk and daily maid service. The apartments are large, elegant, and modern, and all feature well-appointed bathrooms, dishwashers and washing machines.
A future 5-star: The ancient Convent of the Visitation in the heart of old Nice, which used to be a pretty uncomfortable home for pious nuns, is being reborn into a chic luxury 5-star hotel: the 88-room Hotel du Couvent. Even though the convent has long been empty and boarded up, the locals fought tooth-and-nail to keep the posh posers out, fearing (correctly) that the moneyed marauders would forever change the gritty authenticity of the old town. London-based Perseus Hotels ultimately scaled down their request and committed to incorporate a more traditional aesthetic (blah blah blah….and invest around 50 mil), and now it’s a go. Construction to start in 2021 for a 2023 opening.
On the edges of Old Nice there is a hotel for every taste, style, and budget…
Hotel Au Picardy The family-run Au Picardy Hotel on the edge of Old Nice has been catering to backpackers and budget travelers for 3 generations. The 12 rooms are very basic but also very cheap: Double rooms are 35-55€ in low season, with just a tiny mark ups of 5€ more/night in high season. Located right above Multari bakery, you will wake up to the wafting smells of fresh baked croissants, coupled with the sounds of the circling seagulls eyeing the nearby morning fish market. 1-star.
The Hotel Aston La Scala is just across the Promenade de Paillon gardens from Old Nice, giving it the optimal vantage point for a stunning panoramic view spanning the Chateau, the jumble of red tile roofs of the Old Town, the gardens and fountains of the Promenade de Paillon, and the azur Mediterranean Sea in the distance. You get the view from your room, at breakfast, from the fantastic rooftop swimming pool, and especially at sunset from the terrace bar. 4-stars.
Old Nice hotels on the seaside…
Hotel La Perouse You think that’s Hotel La Perouse built into the cliff overlooking the Bay? I did for all these years, but in fact, that’s just the lobby, the hotel itself is hidden up on the Chateau, with absolute peace and tranquility to match its luxurious suites and sweeping sea views. It’s the perfect counter-point to the hustle and bustle of the Old Town… when you’ve had enough, your own private 4-star oasis with pool is just steps away.
Hotel Suisse Next to glamorous La Perouse is the more moderate Hotel Suisse, a truly terrific 3-star boutique hotel which actually is built into the cliff overlooking the Bay of Angels, and boasts the best breakfast room view, which then becomes the best sunset view for cocktails. Comfortable rooms, superb location, unbeatable views, and view rooms starting at 125€… what’s not to love?
The Hotel Beau Rivage is where Matisse stayed in 1917 when he first came to Nice to cure his bronchitis. It rained the whole month, so he sadly painted the interior of his room over and over. On the final day the sun came out and when he saw the light he was hooked: he stayed the rest of his life. The hotel is now a modern 4-star hotel; the rooms are nice but don’t have a great sense-of-place, but the bar certainly does with furniture made to look like the stones from the beach! The rooms have great views and the hotel has an outstanding location: beach on one side and Old Nice on the other. Seaview rooms starting at 250€.
The Mercure hotel chain is kind of budget-minded, but amazingly they have a hotel in Old Nice right on the Promenade, the Mercure Marche aux Fleurs. If the other seaside hotels are booked up, you can often score a seaview room here for 150-200€, or an Opera or Old Nice view room for 130-150€. 4-stars.
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