My cousin and I were planning on spending one night in Nice, France at the end of our 8-day cruise from Istanbul so wanted to make sure we got a really great hotel that was central to the old town and with a view of that famous, yet surprisingly stony, shoreline.
Tada! I found the perfect spot. Hotel La Perouse is perched on the cliffs at the end of Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) with dramatic sweeping views down the French Riviera and a 5-minute walk to town.
We had docked by 8am just around the corner at the port, but by the time our disembarkation colour was called it was nearer 10am as we were not one of the many transferring to the airport. We shared a taxi with 2 of our fellow passengers who just happened to staying at the hotel next door. Literally, take the door on the left and you’d enter the wrong property.
Being a cliff-face hotel, reception is the only thing on this floor, as I discovered when following the delightful receptionist through a labyrinth of hallways, staircases and hidden elevators down to the breakfast room where we had coffee, flipped open our laptops to clear emails and studied the map of the area to plan our day.
Our room wasn’t ready, which was fine by me, as we were keen to explore so we wandered off along that azure blue ocean front. The Cote d’azur in fact. People wearing all sorts of bathing fashion lay on towels on the uncomfortably rocky beach while the brave ones jumped about in the water. (Tip: wear river shoes on these stones.) Couples walked dogs, fit things jogged and roller bladed past in a blur and tourists wandered in their own little world toward the market. I was in the latter group, camera attached to my face, strolling past bistros and bars edging the fresh produce and flower market where massive piles of olives and cheeses were more than a little tempting.
Galeries Lafayette is the main department store and the streets around it house fashion boutiques and eateries. But we also loved pottering through alleyways and finding boutiques selling art or fabric or second hand books.
Back at the hotel, I met Magdalena for a site inspection of the property and to be shown our room. Up and around and across and up we went, looking in several rooms which were available, past the pool and working our way to the top of this cliffside hotel. Most rooms have balconies and sea views (unless you stay in a garden room). On the top floor is a teeny gym with 3 pieces of fitness equipment but opening onto an amazing rooftop verandah and breathtaking ocean views which would make a great rendezvous area for meeting friends before you head out for dinner.
This 56-room boutique hotel is part of Small Luxury Hotels and when I got to our room and saw our patio I realised we must hurriedly arrange for our cruising friends next door to pop in for a drink before we all poodled into town to one of the many outdoor pizzerias for dinner. Sitting on our garden furniture with the bottle of French wine we’d bought from our walk around the old town, we watched our ship depart with the next passengers bound for Barcelona. This is the life!
If you’re planning a visit to Nice, you really can’t go wrong with Hotel La Perouse for its proximity to town, the beach and the best views on the coast.