A decadent family friendly stay in Nice at the palatial Le Negresco
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
Our Spring 2019 trip to the French Riviera encompassed a stay in Nice, Cannes, Antibes and Saint Jean Cap-Ferrat, 4 idyllic yet vastly different locations along the South of France's immaculate coastline. As my first stay at the Le Negresco in Nice, I was delighted and excited to experience the glamour and decadence of the famed & iconic Le Negresco, a palatial Leading Hotel of the World with art from Louis XIII to this day.
When visiting the French Riviera, staying in Nice is a British & American family favourite. Its easy to see why this city has such a draw as a South of France retreat. It took us a mere 20 minutes to get to our hotel from Nice International Airport after a 2 hour flight from London. Occupying a prominent position on the Promenade des Anglais, the palatial style hotel is located right next door to the Museum Massena, yet a few minutes walk from Nice old town and short walk from many family friendly activities such as Parc Phoenix and Promenade du Paillon.
We were welcomed by the warm and friendly smiles from adorned doormen wearing red frocked coats and feathered hats at this gorgeous national historic building. The exterior of the hotel is historic icon and a vivid landmark in Nice, with sculptures from the art deco era situated in the hotel's outside garden/patio. As soon as you enter, you encounter a glamorous chandelier and beautiful sculptures and paintings from the 17th and 18th century. It's clear that why the Le Negresco is known as the the hotel of choice for many famous actors, royalty and musicians. The hotel is over 100 years old and has played 'home' to impressive names such as the painter 'Dali', Princess Grace of Monaco, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong and Elton John to name a few famous names.
French Art de Vivre
With over 6000 references, the hotel houses artwork and antiques from the 17th century till today and came across to us like an family accessible museum. It's clear that a stay at the Le Negresco will reinvigorate my knowledge of the French art de vivre. Each room or suite in the hotel is unique and novel, holding a different theme and decked in antiques & artifacts collected by the hotel's latest proprietor, Madame Jeanne Augier, who sadly passed away in early 2019. The palace is a repository of artwork spanning over 5 centuries from the Louis VIII era to modern art. It is a feast of unique contemporary and antique artwork, including the carpets, all inspired by the different periods of French art. You might think this makes the hotel 'delicate' and inaccessible, but this is not the case, and it proved to provide a perfect artistic experience and education to us and our toddler son. Even for the non-art lover, it will thrill and transform you to another era.
Some images courtesy of Hotel Le Negresco
Rooms & Suites
We were greeted with the turquoise ocean, palmtrees and the most beautiful antique furniture from the Louis XV era in our junior sea-view facing suite. Beyond the beauty, view and history, our suite was decked for comfort and ease with amazing armchairs in a lounge-like space, a beautiful desk and chair, and had more than enough room to house an extra child bed or cot (as ours did).
Tea and coffee making facilities, including a nespresso machine, was available. We were astounded by the comfiest and most beautifully hand crafted antique gold bed.
The large marble bathroom had a huge modern bathtub and rain forest shower for two, plus allowed plenty of space for my son to play. Adorned with Collection Lalique toiletries, I could tell that we would spend lots of time relaxing here. Beyond this, we also had a separate dressing room and wardrobes.
What was exceptional was the Baie des Anges views from the two balconies in our suite and the enormous amount of space we had, which made the almost 600 square foot suite feel more like an apartment.
Hotel rooms are rejuvanated and refurbished regularly but found we found remarkable was that it never disturbs hotel guests, as there is a distinct approach with how this is done, so that no major disturbances occur. Some of the newer suites are below.
We had the pleasure of having a buffet breakfast in the Royal Lounge, the most iconic marbled domed shaped room which has in the middle a famous 16309 crystal Baccarat chandelier hanging from the most beautiful glass ceiling, commissioned by Czar Nicholas II, the second of its kind found in the Kremlin. The spread was delicious and the pastries especially, just delectable! One morning we also chose to have breakfast in our room, which was magnificent as you get the views of the Promenade des Anglais and the turqouise mediterranean sea too.
What really impressed us about the breakfast room was the array of vintage cars available for children to freely use and roam around the hotel, all found right next to this immaculate room.
Dining options at the hotel are plentiful. All menus including the children's meals, are overseen by chef Virginie Basselot, the only female chef with 2 Michelin stars in France, who renders meals with a tribute to the region. There's the magnificent two Michelin starred Le Chantecler with 18th century decor, open for dinner. La Rotonde is famed for it's carousel theme, which was opening a few days after our arrival and is perfect for family friendly dining as there's much to entertain the kids. Le Pop provides immaculate lunches in Nicoise style. The meals in the Negresco Bar are also overseen by Virginie, which we witnessed when we had a light but superb lunch. The bar itself is also beautiful with its walnut woodwork and was super busy with patrons on the day that we visited. There is often a DJ or live bar on most evenings.
The hotel has a gym and across is access to a private beach, which is perfect especially during Summer when Nice is a popular location for the blissful Mediterannean sea. The hotel does not have a spa or pool, which is a slight downside, but plans for a spa are about to begin. There is also unfortunately no kids club, but the area with the cars and the huge Royal Lounge and corridors, are freely available for children to play.
The Le Negresco is the first hotel on the French Riviera to have an ecolabel with regards to reducing the consumption of energy, water and chemical substances. Being a strong advocate of recycling, I was delighted to find that there was a provision of sorting bins and a choice to change sheets less regularly for longer stay guests.
The Le Negresco is a wonderful choice for your French Riviera trip and especially a stay in Nice. You can't go wrong with the superb rooms, service and wonderful location, being close enough to all the highlights of Nice. The art will impress you whether you are an art lover or not, and provides a perfect educational and fun experience for the juniors in your family too. The hotel also offers special rates to visit the private beach across from the hotel, which makes this the perfect Nice Spring/Summer holiday.
Activities in Nice
There are many child friendly activities in Nice which makes Nice such a family friendly and accessible city to visit.
1) Walks along the Promenade des Anglais. Right across from the hotel you will find the beachfront of Nice, where you can take bike rides, beautiful walks, or a dip in the wonderful sea.
2) Promenade du Paillon is a 2 km stretch of park dividing Nice Old Town and new town. It comprising areas of artwork, fountains, play areas, flower beds and lawns. Kids can spend hours here.
3) Vielle Ville is Nice's old town where you can eat at food markets, view amazing architecture, visit boutiques, cafes or restaurants. It is pedestrianised so is safe for kids to walk and wonder.
4) Parc Phoenix consists of 7 hectares of exotic flowers and plants. An oasis for kids to play in where they can also find crocodiles, tortoises, parrots, monkeys and iguanas.
5) Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is a must do for older kids and is perfect for those rainy days.
6) The Oceanographic Museum in Monaco is not far away and will also bedazzle your kids with a giant fishtank, exhibits and a petting pool.
If you have any further questions on our stay, please feel free to reach out to me.
Much Love Shanti | The Kensington Diary
Disclaimer. This is a balanced and honest review following a hosted stay at the Le Negresco. Images are copyright protected by TheKensingtonDiary and Hotel Le Negresco, according to ownership rights.
Rooms in the Le Negresco start at £150 in low season and £400 in high season. The junior sea view suite that we stayed in ranges from £700 to £1700 per night. Rooms can be booked online on the hotel website.
Hotel Le Negresco
37 Promenade des Anglais Nice, France
Tel. +33 (0) 4 93 16 64 00
Flights to Nice Airport fly from London City, London Heathrow and London Gatwick as the main London airports, and takes 2 hours direct with British Airways.
Transfers from Nice Airport to the hotel take approximately 20 minutes. Local cabs and uber are also available. We hired a car and car seat from Nice Airport, Terminal 2. Valet parking is available at the hotel at a small extra cost.