Some kind of magic happens when everything is easier than expected and better than you hoped. That’s what I experienced whilst staying at the Hotel Nice Excelsior. It’s an easy hop from the Nice airport (even on public transport) and less than a 2-minute walk from the train station. Which should leave enough Euros in your wallet for a fresh fish dinner along the Promenade des Anglais.
The Hotel Nice Excelsior
Arriving with my carry-on in tow, the Hotel Nice Excelsior had me at bon jour with its gorgeous Belle Epoch facade and an inviting modern entrance that had me thinking, ” I’m really going to like this.”
A Welcoming Entrance
Its 42 rooms are light, bright and brimming with French chic while each floor is themed with old world travel glamour. I found all the modern comforts I appreciate today, like an actually powerful hair dyer, which in France and Europe in general, is quite a rarity. And a bathrobe that actually fit, rather than the ridiculously enormous ones I trip over.
The Ground Floor
It’s the details that count and there is so much to appreciate at the Hotel Nice Excelsior. The rooms are spacious and filled with light. Balconies overlook a lovely courtyard. The beds are amazing, no stiff neck in the morning. And the bathroom looked brand new. Which isn’t always the case in Europe, even at four star hotels. I’ve often opened doors to rooms that felt more like a dark cave r hallway and slept in lumpy beds that creaked all night. But not here at the Hotel Nice Excelsior. There wasn’t one sore thumb sticking out. Not one oddity.
Perhaps their exceptional attention to detail is due to “atmospherist” Sandrine Alouf and her part in the hotel’s recent top-to-bottom renovation. She encompassed all the charm of the bygone Belle Epoch era that travelers still long for with everything you need for a comfortable stay. As her title suggests, it’s all about atmosphere. And dare I say, emotion. Every hotel makes me feel a certain way and that’s what I remember. The Hotel Nice Excelsior made me feel… well, French. And I loved it.
Each of the Hotel Nice Excelsior’s 4 floors is artistically themed with a different mode of transportation: plane, train, car and boat to invoke the fun of travel. Chic yet whimsical wallpaper with stylistic postcards and sketches by illustrator and graphic designer Frédéric Arnold adorn the walls to give the hotel a fresh and fun throwback retro feel.
My room featured a postcard written by the infamous R. Nietzsche from Nice in 1885. Whether is was an actual postcard or a artistic representation is a mystery to me. It added to the charm and fun of staying at the hotel because I actually enjoyed staying in my room.
Room with Postcards from Nietzsche
Even the staircase was part of charm of Hotel Nice Excelsior. Yes, there’s an elevator. But taking the stairs was much more fun.
There are two areas to relax. One was the courtyard with modern patio furniture where you could appreciate the architecture and facade of this classic building with vines climbing up the wall. The other was a comfy reading room and common area with a computer for guests to use.
Comfy Common Area for Guests
Breakfast was a treat with speciality French butters, artisanal jams, chestnut flower honey, delicious cheeses, charcuterie, fresh baked breads, juices and… actually great coffee. As much as I love France, finding a good cup of coffee here isn’t easy.
There isn’t a restaurant in the hotel. But, no matter. I just walked outside and was minutes away from Vieux Nice and the Promenade des Anglais lined with fresh fish restaurants featuring Nicoise specialities. After a charming night in Old Nice dining on a slanted table, where the wine was in danger of sliding off (and it did!), I actually looked forward to returning to the hotel, flop down on the perfect bed, don my bathrobe and relax. I wanted a night in and to enjoy the room. After all, there was a really nice bottle of French rosé waiting for me in the minibar.
Hotel Nice Excelsior ****
19 Avenue Durante – 06000 NICE FRANCE
+33 (0)4 93 88 18 05
I was a guest of the Hotel Nice Excelsior. This review is a true representation of my experience at the hotel.
Author, journalist and publishing consultant, Donna Sozio has been featured in 200+ media outlets including the Tyra Banks Show, Early Show, Fox News, Good Day LA, Seventeen Magazine, Yahoo! Personals, Match.com, Lavalife.com, WeBlogtheWorld.com, EcoSalon.com, OrganicAuthority.com and many more.
Her books The Man Whisperer (Adams Media) and Never Trust a Man in Alligator Loafers (Kensington) were Amazon.com bestsellers, had TV/Film options and were translated into German, Portuguese and Czech.