We booked the Negresco for five nights in February 2013 to coincide with the Nice Festival. Maybe all the poor reports on Tripadvisor helped, as we got a superb rate! Or maybe there just isn't the money about these days.
We were not in a de-luxe room, but the one below, an "Exclusive" room with garden and partial sea view.
In one of the reviews I read, the reviewer commented (both as negatives) that some of the staff were indifferent and the owner resided in the hotel! Personally I found the staff to be very helpful, although, true to say, the concierge didn't have too much of a clue when it came to advising on bus routes to the museums! Not in the least bit condescending, extremely friendly, in fact, just clueless!
As for the reviewer's comment that he found it "creepy" to find that the owner, Madame Jeanne Augier, lived in the hotel - well, what can I say? This hotel belongs to Madame Augier, it's her home, and to be able to wander round the hotel on almost all floors to study her rich collection of art, antique furniture, tapestries, carpets etc was a joy. On the ground floor, The Royal Lounge, on its own, is classified as an Historical Monument, while the Versaille Lounge, just opposite the check-in, is beautiful, with its authentic 18th Century decor and the most incredible fireplace. This beautiful and unique hotel is probably one of the very few 5 star hotels still in private ownership, and long may it continue.
We did bump into the old lady twice and, although she is wheel chair bound, she is still alert, knows exactly what is going on around her, addressed the staff in the restaurant by name, and was extremely well turned out - which is more than can be said for most of the diners!
Let me now turn to the room we eventually chose. Once I have fully described it, you might wonder why I have given the hotel 5 stars. To start with, I should say that when I booked it I mentioned certain things I wanted. A King or Queen size bed, not two singles, a well decorated room with a refurbished and well equipped bathroom. A step in shower, not one over the bath, based on our late middle age!
We arrived before "booking in" time, so sat for a while in the most beautiful bar I have come across in many a year. At some point I went back to the desk to ask about the room that had been allocated to us.
The gentleman at reception read out all the special requests I had made on my booking with Booking.com, and advised that we had a room on the second floor, with everything I had requested, but which gave a sort of view over the gardens, although hardly any sea view. I asked for an alternative room, as close to the Promenade des Anglais as possible,on a higher floor, with good views over the gardens and the sea. He had one available, but not refurbished. He then went on to his computer, disappeared round the back for a few moments, then came back with a complete pack of colour photos of both rooms, both bathrooms and both views. Now let's be fair, that is not indifference is it?
We studied the photos and eventually chose the third floor room, with splendid views, a small balcony, but not refurbished. So I really can't knock any points off for the fact that the loo, whilst immaculately clean, had a seat that would not stay up (more a problem for the men than the ladies), that the toilet rolls were the ones in those little cardboard boxes that come out singly if you are lucky, or all over the floor if you aren't. Apparently, way back, these were considered posher than toilet rolls!
Then there was the shower. This really was a wake up call. Nothing wrong with the mixture of hot and cold, but the step in shower was so small, and the shower head so tiny, and not adjustable, that to get the right mix of hot and cold, you had to open the door and adjust the temperature from outside the shower before stepping in. Then came the wake up call I mentioned - wow, was it strong!
We had no problems with the bed. Extremely comfortable and we slept very well. The quality of the bed linen was excellent and, unlike some of the other reviewers, we experienced no noise at all from the other bedrooms, this despite the fact that the hotel was well occupied. The view was all we hoped it would be from a "partial sea view".
Lying in bed we could see the palm trees on the Promenade, decorated with lights, as well as a great view of the Mediterranean. So, what the hell, was the wake-up shower that important after all? Sure the bedroom was in need of some attention, but it was large, comfortable and excellent value for what we paid. The turndown service was excellent, including towel changes, and all the staff we bumped into during our stay were friendly.
Why a top rating? Well, it was a nigh on perfect stay, despite our choosing not to go for the refurbished room. The hotel itself is Wonderland personified. At least to us.
If you are looking for a top 5 star grand luxe hotel chain, with clean lines, minimalistic decor, an internet service that is beyond criticism, then don't bother with the Negresco. There are loads of alternatives that fit that bill, but believe me, there is only one Negresco.
We did splash out and had dinner in the Chantecler, as well as dinner in La Rotonde. I'm going to review the restaurants separately as otherwise this review will go on forever.
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- Also Known As:
- Negresco Hotel Nice
- Hotel Negresco Nice