Terrific - a hotel created by people who have never heard of hotels before ...
Nice’s most extreme design hotel is awash with colour, funk and bonkers ideas. It has rooms like no others you ever saw. The bar is a basket. It is warm and hugely enjoyable even if, like me, you have the design flair of an Austin Allegro.
Naturally, the place comes promoted (in the hotel blurb) by ecologically-sound culturo-babble. That is the French way. What they omit to say is that the Hi is mainly great fun, a sort of adult adventure playground. Off-centre and 200 metres from the sea, the neutral eight-storey block gives no indication of the wackiness within, where walls are like beaten metal and the floor is fuchsia.
To the muted bongs and boings of electro-music, one notices high-backed chairs dotted about in colours not so much primary as primary school. For a luxury hotel, space is a bit tight but configured as a succession of things to discover.
And the bedrooms? Imagine a space designed by someone who’s never heard of bedrooms. Mine had a bed in the middle of decking, not at all screened from the shower by a bank of bushes. A wok-shaped washbasin stood by the green armchair.
It was all genuinely entertaining, as were other rooms which responded to other concepts. On the roof, there’s a solarium, with a little tub. The basement now houses a spa, and snack dining is in a sort of organic canteen. With the nearby bar backed into what looks a basket fallen from a big balloon, it’s wonderfully chummy - and groovy, too, on regular DJ-driven music evenings.
These days, the Hi has its own, equally groovy private beach just moments away. In a bucket-and-spade world, you may have massages, sushi and mood music.