A place to propose marriage. If she (or he) refuses here, dump them and find someone else.
I’m not going to say that this is my favourite hotel in Nice; that would be offensive to all the others. And I’m not absolutely sure, anyway. I am going to say, however, that it’s a jolly hot contender.
Where to start? The location, of course. It’s the site I would buy if I were Bill Gates and planning a move into the French hotel trade. At the far eastern end of the Promenade des Anglais (which has by then gone through a name change or two), La Pérouse is built along and up the headland which leads to the port. Though only five minutes from the Old Town, the place seems to be withdrawn, in a private stretch of Provence. The rocks and trees which form the backdrop help, of course.
These surroundings exhilarate. The views - west to the city centre, the Prom and the Bay of Angels; south to the unsullied Med - are outstanding. But it’s not just about seeing. The light, the colour, the sounds and aromas constitute a sensual assault, filling the whole person.
I don’t want to get carried away here - but if you need reminding that life holds more than nine-to-five and Britain’s Got Talent, then Nice and the Côte-d’Azur are well-qualified to help. Clearly, you can stay anywhere and get this insight. It’s just that La Pérouse is particularly well-placed to deliver it on a round-the-clock basis.
Sharply-suited young ladies
And the hotel handles its favoured position with considerable aplomb. From the smart little reception area, it’s clear that the hotel has the formality of a four-star (sharply-suited young ladies, guys to park your car) without attendant stiffness. Folk smile and, on occasion, laugh. There is a strong suggestion that things run efficiently, so relaxation is possible.
Beyond reception … well, frankly I haven’t even yet grasped the exact geography of the place. Corridors and stairs curve hither and yon, back towards the rock-face then, apparently, up it. Lifts ease the tension of getting completely lost, before pitching you out towards rooms which are really worth finding.
There are some 60 of them. Six await renovation. I’d ask for one of the others, for they’re smashing. The style is sophisticated Mediterranean, with lots of light and space and just the right combination of colours - greys, blacks, creams, reds - to make the most of it.
King of the world
Décor and furnishing differ from room to room. Some have lovely shag-pile carpeting which I’ve rarely seen in a hotel. There’s a contemporary chaise-longue here, Italian marble there and the satisfying feel of money tastefully-spent everywhere. Bedding, drapes and art on the wall are top class. Most rooms have balconies, and the higher up you book, the better the view.
The best suite of all has a terrace roughly the size of Luxembourg. You may stand on it, survey city and sea and know for certain, if only for a moment, that you are king of the world.
An alluring terrace
Then you might look directly down and see the hotel’s real gem - a quite unsuspected terrace overcome with Mediterranean trees and plants. At one end is the pool and sunning area. At the other, tables and chairs constitute Le Patio bar and restaurant. This is alluring during the day and bewitching by night when, low-lit, it appears to be your own, private Provençal village square. In the circumstances, around 40 euros doesn’t seem grotesquely excessive for a full meal.
People often talk loosely about ‘the magic of the Côte-d’Azur’. The La Pérouse is a good place to discover that it’s not entire nonsense.