47 Promenade des Anglais, Nice, 06000
- Recommended for:
- Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, Great views / scenery, Relaxation, Trendiness
Best for Families - Expert review of Hi Beach
Nice has some 15 private beaches. For a price, they’ll all provide you with a lounger, more or less decent food, cocktails and the sense that you’re being better looked after than the cheapskates on the public beaches. Where, being a cheapskate, I usually go myself.
But, if I’m tempted to throw caution and wallet to the winds, then it’s the Hi Beach that exerts the strongest pull. As an off-shoot of the high design Hi-Hotel (see ‘Nice hotels’), it has dismantled the private beach experience and put it back together in its own image.
Hammocks and yoga
Of course, the Hi has all the stuff you expect (sun-beds, bar, cushions) but that’s barely the start. The beach has organised itself into three different zones – for relaxing, for conviviality and for families to let the kids rip loose. So you can variously sit on sofas and drink with friends, lie about and read provided magazines, watch wide-screen TV, dial up WiFi, loll in a hammock, practise yoga, have a massage, set the nippers loose in a play area and, of course, eat and drink in pretty cool, wood-and-vegetation surroundings.
And all that with huge sea and sky before you.
Naturally, and like all design establishments, the Hi is pretty pleased with itself. Given half a chance, they’ll reel out yards of guff about the concepts involved and how ecological they all are (“No tuna!” cries the menu).
But take no notice. The place is fun. It works, a bit like a play area for both adults and children. If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t mind paying for going on to a beach, I’d give it a go. And if you’re not on the beach, it’s still a pleasantly contemporary place to stop over for lunch or a snack. Not cheap, but pleasant.
The Hi called in a Michelin-starred chef to organise its beach food. Hence, it’s well thought-out, light and good. It’s also pricey. Starters might be gazpacho (12.30 euros) or red quinoa (12.30 euros) risotto. Mains include bream in pesto sauce (27.50 euros), rib-eyed steak (32.50 euros) or a decent selection of pasta dishes (around 19 euros).
No place aspiring to this level of hip could be without sushi (18 pieces, 29 euros), so the Hi has lots. But it can also do you a burger with fries and salad, though the price - 23.50 – might cause Ronald McDonald’s eyes to lose focus.
Drinks are similarly steep – but this is what it costs to be in the coastal vibe.
Oh boy, do places like the Hi adore ambience! They adore it so much that, as mentioned above, they’ve got three different ones. I prefer the family bit, because a beach really needs children. But it’s good to have the choice.
Throughout the day, then, this is a cool, top-end beach experience. From 6pm, they crank the atmosphere and music up a bit, to encourage people to get in the mood for apéritifs and dinner. Here you’ll find some of Nice’s more self-consciously eco-hip elements, and hardly anyone wearing a handkerchief on his head.
But the kids may still run around to their hearts' content. It's a good mix.
Youthful and unexpectedly pleasant.
Bang on the beach.
See ‘Food and Drink” above – and think 50.50 euros for a full meal.
More information on Hi Beach:
- Price guide:
- Bar, Restaurant
- French, Fusion, Japanese, Mediterranean, Modern
- 47 Promenade des Anglais, Nice, 06000
- 04 97 14 00 83
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Essential at peak times
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Al fresco