Warm designer hospitality, great views and Twiggy in triplicate in the bar.
A belting location – overlooking the Old Port, opposite the Pharo Palace – for a place which takes us deep into contemporary design territory, without forgetting that customers, not concepts, come first. It’s a difficult trick, which not every modern hotel manages. (I cannot be the only person who, when faced – as recently – with “different bedroom lighting ambiances to suit my mood”, finds that only black will do.)
Well, here, I reckon, they get the balance right. Behind a rather imposing 19th-century entrance, the lobby is all white, silver and cool and doesn’t look a bit like cold storage. A glass corridor takes you to the modern main building, where colours are “flashy” (as the French now say) and modern art abundant. In truth, it’s that sort of art which is meant to create a hip, jazz atmosphere rather than be looked at for longer than a nano-second. On those terms, it works well.
Bedrooms, eating and drinking
As do the bedrooms which are, in the circumstances, splendidly restrained. Walk in on the mix of light and shade tones, the ample space and temptingly large bed and you relax at once. The hotel has absolutely understood that no-one needs to be aesthetically challenged by his or her bedroom. If funds allow, insist on a room on the higher floors at the front. These have the most arresting views over the port.
Back downstairs, the pool surrounded by decking for the sipping of long drinks is a delight, among the loveliest in town. It’s edged by the genre of modern bar where you just know that everyone will be drinking mojitos, which is no bad thing. (I do, though, wonder if and when night people will ever tire of purple lighting.)
Eating is in the Victor Café, overseen by a triptych of ‘60s British model, Twiggy. She is, of course, beautiful, but I can't help thinking that Sophia Loren might have been been more encouraging testimony to the benefits of a hearty appetite. Never mind. If nothing else, Twiggy is a practical woman, so I'm sure she'd approve of a four-star hotel where one can eat a two-course menu-of-the-day for €16. I know I do. It's jolly good, too.
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