Nice, the capital of the Cote d’Azur has plenty of swish hotels dotting the seafront. But the Hotel Villa Rivoli is full of charm, and exactly what you’d imagine a small, boutique hotel in France would be like, but which so many get wrong.
It helps that the building has authentic Belle Époque roots. It’s located in what was once a private home, built in 1890 by Monsieur Blanchi, an architect renowned for his Belle Époque designs.
Everything inside the hotel is small, yet perfectly formed. Twenty four rooms are spread over two floors (no elevator), and warm beige tones coat the interiors. Shutters open onto tiny terraces, some with a view of an inside courtyard, and delicate sheer voile hangs from the windowpanes.
The Villa Rivoli is perfectly styled, from the mouldings to the lighting fixtures, the furniture (even typically French armoires) to the public spaces. Showers are not for the claustrophobic, but a short dash downstairs to the lovely sitting/breakfast room will cure that. The space feels like an elderly French relative’s home, replete with faded family photos. It is warm and cozy, inviting one to sit and read before climbing the stairs to bed. In warmer temps, take advantage of the small garden just outside, with a covered seating area.
As for practical matters, the hotel is off the Promenade des Anglais, just around the corner from the legendary Hotel Negresco. The number 98 bus stops nearby from the airport, and carries on into the centre of town. The oceanfront is just a five-minute walk, and it’s about a 10-15 minute drive into Old Nice. Parking is essential and it’s best to reserve a spot in advance as there are only a handful of places. There is also free wi-fi.
Breakfast is served for an extra charge and includes the croissants, a couple of kinds of bread, yoghurt, cheese, meats and cereal. A boulangerie is directly opposite on the corner if you prefer to pick your own sinful start to the day.