Hotel Méridien

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Address: 1 Promenade des Anglais, Nice, 06000, France

Star rating:
4 star hotel

4.6

If it's good enough for the French president ...

The Méridien has what may be the best position of any top class hotel in Nice. Right at the city-centre start of the Promenade des Anglais, it looks out over gardens, the old town and mountains one way, directly over the Bay of Angels the other.

Indeed, the only thing which blights the prospect round here is the Méridien itself. From the outside, it is a vast and unlovely 1970s confection. Because it has so many balconies with so many railings it looks rather spindly, like a high-rise chicken coop.

Sarkozy

But that’s from the outside. The advantage of staying here is that you’re on the inside and there, things get a whole lot better. French President Sarkozy doubtless came to the same conclusion when he stopped over in May 2010 for some kind of summit conference.

As that suggests, the Méridien is a place from which people – presidents, businessmen, media types – do their work. The huge, first-floor lobby and bar area, all oatmeal and black contemporary furniture like a VIP airport lounge, is just the place for signing contracts or sacking ministers. This, of course, has knock-on benefits for leisure travellers. It ensures that service and standards are at least polite and highly efficient. (In truth, they’re as friendly as can be here.) And, I don’t know about you but I’m just as happy to be surrounded by sharp people in suits as by fat folk in flip-flops when I’m on holiday.

Also, the suits are working and I’m not, which is always gratifying.

Magenta

But the real pleasure of the Méridien is to be found higher up … first, in the 318 rooms. A word of warning here, mind. The Classic (ie, cheapest) rooms are ok, but they’ve not been renovated recently and they look out over an interior courtyard rather than the sea. If you’re going to go for a seaside four-star like this, I’d swallow the expense and spring for a Superior, at least.

These are found down corridors of deep magenta (magenta being the colour of reconciliation and peace, I was once told). They have been re-thought and re-done with a perfectly winning contemporary taste. There’s much black and grey, as you’d expect, but with splashes of red, metal and more magenta. Something of a theme, that.

Beds are huge and sumptuous, and the white leather settees have such high backs that they resemble cartoon furniture for making big people appear small. Bathrooms provide everything required for 21st-century ablutions. It all works splendidly – not least, of course, because of the balconies. Superior rooms have partial sea-views, which means they’re side on to the Med. Deluxe rooms and Junior suites are face on. Beds are positioned so that you may lie there and scan the morning horizons, before tottering to the terrace for a closer look.

Morning mojitos

Then you dress and take the lift down to the first-floor Colonial Café for a “signature breakfast experience” (that seems to refer to innovative juices like orange, carrot and raspberry – mixed together, I mean). Later you might take in the ninth-floor spa, fitness and beauty centre before doing what you really want to do, which is sit by the 10th floor, roof-top pool. Someone pleasant will bring you a mojito and you will stare out to sea until it’s time for lunch at the adjacent, equally roof-topping, restaurant. Given the outstanding views, mild sense of privilege and quite excellent Provençal food, it isn’t too pricey – from around 35€ for a full meal, less for single dishes.

The Méridien is partner of the Ruhl private beach way below. But you might prefer to stay right where you are for the afternoon, on the terrace. This will give you the sense that you’re among the Côte-d’Azur Elite. As indeed you are. Alternatively, you could return to the first floor lounge bar and sack a minister or two. Ask and I’ll give you my suggestions.
 

Location
4.9
90%
Eating/drinking
4.5
90%
Leisure facilities
4.5
90%
Service
4.4
90%
Value for money
4.5
90%
Bedrooms
4.7
90%
Public areas
4.6
90%

Location

Couldn't be lovelier - on the corner of the Promenade des Anglais and the Albert I gardens. This ensures startling views over the sea, the city and the mountains behind.                                                                

Bedrooms

Brilliantly thought-through in a contemporary fashion, many with splendid balconies (as outlined in the text above). Beware, though, of the Classic (ie, cheapest) rooms. They're perfectly acceptable but, unlike the others, haven't been recently refurbished and overlook an inner courtyard, rather than the sea.

Public areas

Spacious, modern and adapted either to serious business people doing things with computers or people like me, doing nothing creatively. Last time I did so, there was an African government minister and his entourage at one lounge table, jolly senior folk with towels over their shoulders at the next one along.

Eating and drinking

On the ground floor, the Colonial Café caters to contemporary tastes. Nine floors higher, the roof-topping La Terrasse affords an astounding panorama and extremely decent Mediterranean fare.                                                                          

Leisure facilities

Spa, fitness and beauty treatments are all provided. I don't use these kinds of things, so can't tell you much about them - but they look pretty top-end.

Service

Smiling and concerned, polite and professional.                                                                               

Who stays there

Many professional people and - earlier this year, during the Franco-African summit - a decent range of world leaders, including President Sarkozy. Conferences are pretty big business, too. But luxury-seeking, hassle-avoiding tourists also fill up many of the rooms. The Méridien handles business or pleasure people with equal aplomb.

Amenities

  • Business Centre
  • Fitness Centre
  • High-Speed Internet
  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restaurant
  • Room Service
  • Swimming Pool

Recommended for

  • Business travellers
  • Culture vultures
  • Foodies
  • Mature travellers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • Escaping the crowds
  • Great views / scenery
  • Relaxation
  • Shopping
  • Sightseeing

Pros & Cons

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