Nice International Airport is the second busiest gateway in France so the city isn’t exactly the quiet, idyllic little fishing village that some people imagine it to be. The mile-long beach is jammed with elegant hotels and Louis Vuitton-toting tourists, especially in season.
However, perched on a hillside promontory at the end of the beach, Hôtel la Pérouse feels like a historic private villa with six suites and 54 rooms overlooking the gently scalloped bay.
There’s a maze of tightly curving hallways and stairs winding through the building as you ascend to your guest room. All of the rooms are decorated differently, befitting the nature of a private residence. Some are elegant with rich chocolate, turquoise and violet pillows and throws; others are slightly rustic with deep red French country armoires.
You really want the sea-view rooms where you’re immediately drawn to the spectacular light flooding the balcony and one of the greatest Mediterranean panoramas I’ve seen from a hotel room.
Equally stirring, there’s a lovely pool patio restaurant (above) shaded by lemon trees. It has been a busy rendezvous for mid-day trysts since Onassis squired Jackie back in the day.
“It’s the most popular place in Nice for romantic couples looking for the South of France they’ve seen in the movies,” says manager Murielle Ettori. “People have been falling in love where we’re sitting right now for decades.”