My girlfriend and I have just returned from a week’s stay at Hotel Princess & Richmond. Would recommend the hotel to any Tripadvisors seeking somewhere in Menton and here’s why:
Staff – Couldn’t be friendlier. We never walked past reception without receiving a friendly smile accompanied by a bonjour. I saw three different front of house bods, each of them were the personification of good customer service. Any questions we asked about bus time tables etc were given their full attention. Cleaners were bubbly too. Only wish I’d left them a bigger tip.
Room – Our budget couldn’t stretch to a sea view, if you’ve fortunate enough to afford such a treat then waking up / reading just before crashing out with that huge ocean and clear sky looking back at you must have been magical. Our room was 4 floors up and looked out onto the busy main road below. Some Tripadvisor reviewers that stayed on this side have complained about the noise; of course when it’s the morning, the (double) patio doors are opened and the French are driving into work there’ll be a din but at night the electric shutter came down and only sound breaking the silence was my snoring.
Fairly bog standard room – large bed & TV (that actually works rather than displays channels obscured by a static snowstorm). The bathroom is small and contains no bath, just a shower. Brown swing doors separate both rooms making me feel like Clint Eastwood staggering into a saloon bar whenever I brushed my teeth. For obvious reasons too crude to explain on a family website - Never forget there’s an absence of a lock! Rooms were cleaned thoroughly daily.
Services – Despite paying a price that should have included all my meals (!) we were on the room-only rate so I’m unable to comment on the breakfast. We just bought a chunky, buttery croissant from a nearby supermarket or treated one another to a petit dejeuner at one of the many nearby cafes. Expect to pay €6 for a croissant, crusty bread with strawberry jam, tea, orange juice and – if you’re particularly luck – a yoghurt.
On the top floor of the hotel there’s a small fitness room. Who on earth goes on holiday and wants to exercise?! Any Daley Thompson types will probably be disappointed with the equipment on offer. There are 3 battered machines – a weights bench, and a cycling machine and some device for those that would rather walk indoors than outside, in the sun, with fantastic views. On this floor you’ll also find a Jacuzzi that provides a refreshing way to conclude several hours spent baking in the sunshine. Not particularly built for parties though; I’d guess there’d be a capacity of 4 people. This floor seemed fairly quite during our stay, the tub was only full once and we NEVER witnessed anybody pumping iron / working through cardio exercises.
Decent sized lobby with a English paper (The Times - Hotel Princess & Richmond obviously believes Sun readers holiday elsewhere…) to read through for those (numerous) evenings spent waiting on your girlfriend to choose which of her various dresses she’ll wear that evening.
Location: Just opposite a small, pebble section of the main beach. This area can squeeze in a dozen sun tan seekers so waking early to place down those mats and towels is advisable. For those sensible many that value a lie-in on their holiday / or any large families, there’s only a 2 min walk to reach a significantly larger section of the beach, one (occasionally!) manned by lifeguards. The beach was clean, the sea water deep blue and – despite the popularity of the place – I was surprised how little I grumbled about noise, especially from excitable Frisbee throwing kids, normally the bane of my beach going experience.
A couple of reviewers here have remarked on the lengthy walk from the Hotel to the hub of the town. It’s just under a half-mile walk and took us – two relatively healthy types – 15 minutes to march in. I had no issues with this, especially when the journey runs alongside a coastline that looked magnificent in the light of the evening sun. The centre of Menton is essentially one street crammed with dozens of restaurants and gift shops and without the relaxing walk in and out of town each evening would have consisted of nothing but a meal and a couple of cursory glances inside a gift shop that we’d already looked round several times. That aside, you know whether a 30-minute walk every night is going to cause issues. I’d probably tell my Mum – a sexagenarian with a dodgy leg - to look for a hotel closer in.
Activities – The Italian border is only a 10-minute train trip away and we popped in twice during our stay. Ventimiglia is the closest Italian town and fairly unremarkable. I do recommend taking a bus (journey time: 20mins) to Dolceaqua though. This is a tiny, medieval village inland with a beautiful old bridge, a fairly tale castle that’s crumbling away that’s reached by wandering through brilliant collection of narrow, stone-pathways. There’s also a restaurant next to the river that serves pizzas larger than the moon.
I also visited Monaco. That’s a 10 minute train journey in the opposite direction. Only €4 return although that sum would probably fail to buy you even a bottle of water at your destination! Monaco likes to show its wealth. Nothing wrong with that; wandering round, marveling at boats bigger than my street was quite fun but and I’m glad I was able to see first hand some of the road bends that F1 drivers tackle each May. Unless you’re Richard Branson though, Monaco as a family day out will break your finances in two.
Restaurants – Whether you’re a foodie or not, I expect that nothing grates more than paying money for a crappy meal. Menton has a good share of terrible places that are happy to exchange your €20 for a lousy 3 course meal and miserable service. I should’ve taken note of these places to warn you all off them. However, I remember that names of two restaurants that I guarantee will fail to disappoint: ‘Al Dente’ and ‘La Cantinella’. The first has superlative views across the Menton harbor so try grab a table by the widow. The second was just brilliant. Don’t be put off by the seemingly surly lady that runs the place. She’s alright and the 3 course meal deal is the best culinary treat you’ll get in many a mile. Just searched for this place on Tripadvisor and found I’m not alone in singing it’s praises: ‘La Cantinella’ has been voted the best restaurant in the town.
Conclusions – Menton is a lovely spot and this hotel is great. I’ve not awarded five stars because of the price we paid to stay there. To be frank, for this money I expect bloody excellence! That said, due to poor planning we booked the final week of the summer holidays, the one with the bank holiday, so perhaps you’ll enjoy a better deal.
I’ve rattled on somewhat here. My girlfriend claims that users of this site are only interested in whether or not the hotel is much cop. Feel free to ‘dislike’ this review if that’s how you feel!
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Princess Richmond
- Princess Richmond Menton