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“Quiet Spring Air”
Review of Hotel de la Darse

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Hotel de la Darse
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 17, 2014

It's what enveloped us weary travelers perched mid-morning on a little balcony. Nearly 11 months later now, I clearly see the two of us drinking in the sight of pleasant yachts bobbing in the marina below our balcony while we sip our coffee, and memories of that cramped trans-Atlantic flight drift out of newly rested muscles.

To talk meaningfully about the hotel, I need first to describe the town, to which these lodgings are so appropriate. Villefranche-sur-mer reposes quietly, unobtrusively, between the obscenely rich Cap Ferrat snaking into the Mediterranean on the east, and lively Nice that warmly bustles to the west, just over that hill. From the front door of Hotel Darse and a walk to the left, past the Italian Pine canopied restaurants, lies the harbor. It encloses moving waves in richly saturated blues. Over there is a single cruise liner (this is only April). Some hardy souls enjoy the arcing beach; one guy actually swims out there. If I were a gigolo, lounging here would be my day-job. Michele and I agree this is what San Diego in Southern California must have been in the 50s. Tasteful, mellow, refreshing.

And the prose you've just read tries to impart the sense of being here in this place. Restaurants/shops/parks are a healthy trudge away (uphill). There's some traffic up there, too. Here by the boat harbor it is peaceful, though, in a clean room we climb up a marble staircase to arrive at. A comfy bed, a spotless bathroom. Light curtains that sway with the breeze that enters from across our balcony. Come here and enjoy. Just keep it a secret, though - that is part of the charm.

Room Tip: Seek after any room with an ocean view; higher may be better, but then there are those stairs to cli...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank James F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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62 - 68 of 231 reviews

Reviewed January 14, 2014

Stayed here in July 2013 for 4 nights. This is a typical 2 star hotel - no lift, in need of a paint and offers a basic breakfast. BUT.... We had a huge, clean double room (free wifi) with doors opening onto a balcony that overlooked the marina and the med. Staff were really friendly and the breakfast was fresh and plentiful (although coffee not great.) It's about a 6 minute walk to the town centre and a 5/10 minute walk up the (steep!) hill takes you to the bus stop where for €1 you can be in the centre of Nice in 15 minutes. Villefranche itself is picturesque and friendly with lots of nice restaurants. If visiting this area again I would definitely stay here - at €95/night for two this is great value and is half the price of the Hotel Welcome.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank SusanLeicester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

we had nothing but great hotels on this trip so it's hard to come up with a favorite but this might be it. I don't need to say much more than what others have already said. The location is great, but it is a hike from the center of town. The price more than makes up for that. The front veranda was a great spot for the breakfast (a good value) or for sitting out at night. We didn't have front balcony rooms so the veranda came in handy. Our rooms were up three flights and with no elevator you need to make sure you travel light. Our rooms faced the garden area in the back and the homes on the hillside. It was a short walk to town and to the train for short hops to Monte Carlo, Nice and the rest of the Riviera. We did break down and had a cab arranged for the early morning train to Italy. The desk staff was very helpful in arranging the cab (which was there on time at 6:30 am) and in helping us figure out our best route for leaving the rental car at the Nice train station. We stayed at the hotel four nights and only had the car there the first night. We lucked out and found a good parking spot but it would be a hassle to try to find a spot every day. We'd say dump the car and take the train.
The town itself is a perfect place to stay. It's small enough to walk around (but does have hills) but large enough that it has dining and shopping options.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank nimbin2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

Nice, clean hotel. Good beds, great bathroom. Pleasant staff. We stayed two nights. We didn't try the breakfast because it was a bit expensive and we're not great breakfast folks. We had the eastern end room on the third floor (No. 31) -- beautiful view of the park below with fantastic flowers (especially the abundant bougainvillea), the harbor, and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat across. Now, their third floor is our (American) fourth floor, and there's no elevator -- just so you know. They have no private parking, but we didn't have much trouble finding free spots on nearby streets. The main commercial port town center is only a couple blocks pleasant walk.
Great place!

Room Tip: For a view, try for Room #31. It has one queen and one twin. The walk up is worth it.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank RomanFF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2013

We stayed here for a week from 12th-19th October and were very pleased with our choice. Our room was #12 on the first floor - just above reception/breakfast area and had a large sunny balcony with a table and four chairs (the balconies are bigger on the first floor than higher floors but the views are probably slightly better higher up..)
We only had breakfast in the hotel on our last morning (it was very good, continental) but we did have several cups of coffee in our room/balcony. It was nice coffee and they only charge €2.80 a cup, which was very inexpensive.
The bathroom was compact with a very good, spacious corner shower, which had plenty of hot water at all times. Toiletries provided were soap, shower gel and shower cap. There was a tube type hairdryer in the bathroom. The bed was firm and very comfortable. Everywhere was spotlessly clean.
My husband had trouble accessing the free Wi-Fi for several days, which irritated him but he got it in the end..
I don't know how efficient the air con would be in very hot weather as we struggled to stay cool in October..
They have a lovely big fluffy ginger & white resident cat - Snookie - who liked to be petted when he was around on the pretty outside terrace at the front of the hotel.
All the staff on the reception desk were very kind and helpful - we would definitely stay here again if we return to Villefranche-sur-Mer. It's a 6-8 minute walk into the main harbour/restaurant area but it's a level, well-lit and pleasant walk along the water's edge.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank maudsters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2013

This hotel is located by the harbour in a tiny French village - and a perfect base for exploring the French Riviera - away from the massive tourist crowds and subsequent extortionate prices normally found on the Riviera. Restaurant and shops are located within walking distance.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Adele H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2013

This simple marina-side Hotel in a fabulous setting overlooking the bay is a great 'find' and so convenient for the whole coastal area, with buses and trains easily accessed. Yes, we kept fit going up to the third floor without a lift (being rather advanced in years now!) but once there we could sit on our balcony and view the whole bay. Recommended to us by Dutch friends, who had enjoyed staying there with young children, this is a hotel we shall definitely return to when in the Nice area. It was a wonderful truly French start to a glorious month in Provence.

Room Tip: Access to the third floor rooms require a degree of fitness!! All rooms have sea views, I think.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank EnglandErica38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel de la Darse

Address: 32 avenue General de Gaulle | Port De Plaisance, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
Location: France > Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur > French Riviera - Cote d'Azur > Villefranche-sur-Mer
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Villefranche-sur-Mer
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Villefranche-sur-Mer
#3 Family Hotel in Villefranche-sur-Mer
#4 Romantic Hotel in Villefranche-sur-Mer
Price Range: $81 - $84 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Hotel de la Darse 2*
Number of rooms: 21
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Also Known As:
Darse Hotel Villefranche Sur Mer

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