We were in the balmy French Riviera for a few days after spending some time Chasing Lavenders in Provence. Nice is a perfect place to stay for a few days for a classic South of France experience. You can do day trips to so many different places on the French Rivera from here. We went to Monaco, Antibes and Saint Tropez from here. It is a perfect place to admire super yachts at the port, sip some chilled wine on the terrace or enjoy Al Fresco dining at the old town Cours Salyea. Elegant and glamorous this city is typical French! There are some lovely museums and art galleries few miles or a train ride away like Picasso Museum at Antibes, Matisse’s chapel or Chagall Museum. it helped that the Westminster Hotel was a quick uber or taxi ride to the train station. There are plenty of pebble beaches to relax on or just walk along the Promenade des Anglais which was paved when the Royalty descended to the French Riviera and wanted to enjoy the Riviera without messing up their gown or shoes. Exploring cliff side villages like Eze is also a must while you are here.
The iconic Westminster Hotel in Nice, France
We stayed at the Westminster Hotel… Located in the city center, close to the train station and Nice international airport boasting exceptional view over the Bay of Angels. The Westminster Hotel & Spa is a must when staying on the French Riviera. It is 130 years that the Westminster has watched over the Promenade des Anglais. Its four stars shine on the pediment of the neo-classical pink façade. The recent restoration of the building’s interior has helped to combine the charms of the past with great modernity: Belle Époque molded ceilings and frescoes take pride of place alongside designer furniture. The Westminster has remained loyal to its spirit!
The Westminster Hotel & Spa has close ties with the history of Nice. Inaugurated in 1878, it takes its name from the Duke of Westminster. It is still owned by the Schmitz-Grinda family, entrepreneurs and doctors, very much involved in Nice’s public life. The Westminster Hotel & Spa, a witness to more than a century and a half of the Riviera’s history, is on the front row of the famous Promenade des Anglais with its bandstands, pergolas and no less famous blue chairs.
It holds many treasures, including the extraordinary frescoes in the Grand Hall by an artist from Florence, the gold leaf ironwork on the stairwells; and a unique collection of paintings by Bensa depicting views of Nice prior to 1860. We had a room with a balcony that looks on to the Bay of Angels. We had additional beds added for the kids, the room was big enough to accommodate. We enjoyed our coffee and breakfast in the morning at the Terrace restaurant, where croissants, cheeses, meats and wonderful array of breakfast items were served buffet style.
Westminster had a wonderful Spa that we didn’t get to try. After day trips exploring neighboring towns you can pamper yourself with a visit to the spa, which offers massages, body treatments, and facials. This Art Deco hotel also had babysitting/childcare for a surcharge.
While you are there
The Plage or beach in the French Riviera is pebbly, it is more of a lounging beach. We enjoyed our morning and evening walks along the Promenade des Anglais. Apart from our day trips to near by towns of Antibes, Saint Tropez and Monaco, we enjoyed dinner at Cours Saleya, watched street performers at Place Massena and did some souvenir shopping at Nice’s Old Town. The train station is also walking distance from the hotel but we chose to take a taxi or Uber since we were always running late. It was perfectly safe to walk back at night after some dinner and people watching.
From the hotel follow the Promenade des Anglais along the shoreline until it turns into the Quai des Etats Unis. Go left there, at the end of the Place Massena, and then take the first right. Stop into a couple of souvenir shops and buy a tacky tee-shirt or a lavender sachet. There are also some great shops on the road leading to the Cours Saleya, including a truffle boutique, olive oil-themed shops and wonderful store selling Provençal soaps and gourmet items. You can’t go wrong with any restaurant for dinner in Cours Saleya, we dined here for 3 nights in a row and enjoyed every one of them, make sure to order some Rose.
Nice old town area is jam-packed with historic attractions and it easy to walk around to explore. There is the La Chapelle de la Miséricorde on the Cours Saleya, with a unique architecture. The striking opera house on Rue Saint-François de Paule is worth a visit. If you head to the eastern edge of the Cours Saleya, and then turn left, you’ll be in the heart of Nice’s Old Town. This area of narrow streets features historic attractions, pastry shops and a diverse mix of shopping. Westminster was a perfect hotel to base yourself as you explore the sights around town and make day trips to the different picturesque village in the French Riviera.