Le Negresco: Legendary Grand Hotel in Nice on the French Riviera

Le Negresco Hotel in Nice on the French Riviera.

Karen Tina Harrison 

Why Stay at Le Negresco Hotel? (Or, the Legend of Le Negresco)

Le Negresco Hotel, opened in 1912, is a French Riviera legend. This is a grand hotel: the one with all the stories and the hotel name to drop in the South of France. Le Negresco is a unique establishment whose pedigree, elegance, and love of art personify France. This French Riviera hotel:

  • Is historic yet timeless
  • Has rooms with their own individual décor and personalities
  • Is filled with museum-worthy French art
  • Has fantastic dining
  • Welcomes English speakers
  • Offers refined service, outrageously handsome doormen, and prompt wakeup calls

Where Is Le Negresco Hotel?

Le Negresco is a landmark in Nice, a major town of the French Riviera (known in France as la Côte d'Azur). The hotel and its iconic pink dome perch majestically on the famed Promenade des Anglais, Nice's Mediterranean beachfront boulevard.

Le Negresco is set a short walk from the center of town, yet amidst several of Nice's renowned beach clubs. Conveniently, the French Riviera's Nice Côte d'Azur Airport is a mere 15 minutes from Le Negresco. There is no better location in Nice than this landmark hotel.

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What Kinds of Guests (Celebrities or Not) Are Happy at Le Negresco Hotel?

©Elizabeth Billhardt

Le Negresco Hotel on the French Riviera is beloved by passionate repeat guests who wouldn't think of staying anywhere else on la Cote d'Azur. Many of them return every year on schedule, like migratory birds, and stay in "their" room.

Are You the Kind of Traveler Who Stays at Le Negresco Hotel?

Le Negresco's fans have these desires in common. They:

  • Are looking for one-of-a-kind hotels, not branded luxury hotels
  • Like staying in famous grand hotels
  • Prefer vintage, traditional, aristocratic décor to a sleek and modern look
  • Love art and relish a hotel filled with paintings, sculptures, and objets d'art
  • Do not demand a gym or pool in their hotel
  • Do not require kids' facilities and programs
  • Are traveling with their well-groomed little dog and need a pet-friendly hotel

Le Negresco may not be your style if:

  • You prefer international luxury hotel brands with a predictable character
  • You like newer hotels, and do not care for the royal French look
  • You want a hotel that is five-star luxurious, with private butlers, plunge pools, and so on
  • You need a gym in your hotel
  • You're traveling with active kids

Guest Clientele at Le Negresco Hotel

Le Negresco has always attracted the jet-set celebrity crowd. The hotel is filled with glamorous black-and-white photos of bold-faced guests and partiers like Louis Armstrong, Salvador Dali, and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Le Negresco's clientele is global. Many of its guests are French or American. Most staffers speak excellent English.

All the same, Le Negresco is not for everyone. The Mediterranean view is ultimate. But except for a handful of suites, its hotel rooms are not over-the-top deluxe. And the hotel is quirky. Le Negresco is not owned by a hotel corporation, but is independently owned and run by a French grande dame (great lady), Madame Jeanne Augier. The hotel is a member of the Luxury Hotels of the World association.

Travelers who want the predictability of a major hotel brand might not love Le Negresco's one-of-a-kind look and style. But Nice visitors who avoid cookie-cutter hotels love Le Negresco. This French Riviera icon is truly one of a kind, and should be experienced at least once.

Find out the classically French suites are at Le Negresco >>

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Guest Rooms & Suites at Le Negresco Hotel in Nice on the French Riviera

Best room at Le Negresco Hotel in Nice, the Royal Suite.
©Marcel Jolibois

What the Rooms Are Like at Le Negresco Hotel in Nice on the French Riviera

Le Negresco's 96 rooms and 21 suites are all different. Yet every one is unmistakably French, and decorated with French furniture, French flair, and fabulous French artworks. Room styles range from prim chateau-style to Napoleonic to Art Nouveau to Art Deco to Swinging Sixties.

Le Negresco rooms and suites all offer LCD TVs; free, strong wifi; a minibar; and ample closet and drawer space. Rooms on the sixth-floor Executive Level enjoy certain enhanced amenities and services, as you would expect from a club floor.

About half Le Negresco's guest rooms face the Mediterranean, and feature balconies. (Superior, Exclusive, and Deluxe-level rooms do not have direct sea views.)

These Negresco room categories enjoy direct sea views:

  • Deluxe Sea View Rooms, which can be small, but have a seating area and petite balconies
  • Sea View Junior Suites, spacious and gracious (about 600 square feet), with a king bed
  • Sea View Deluxe Junior Suites, about 800 square feet, with king beds and roomy balconies overlooking the sea
  • Sea View Deluxe Suites, even larger
  • Imperial Suites, 800 square feet a double bed and Vermilion, gold, and leopard-print decor inspired by Empress Josephine
  • Pompadour Suites, 800 square feet, with a white and gilt palette and a double bed
  • Montserrat Caballé Suite, the Catalan soprano's favorite, nearly 900 square feet, with a canopied double bed and glorious terrace
  • The circular Royal Suite, nearly 1100 square feet, set within Le Negresco's iconic pink dome. This suite is Le Negresco's top digs, with an Art Deco look and breathtaking views of Nice's harbor and the Mediterranean

Are You Ready for Le Negresco's Bathrooms?

Le Negresco's guest-room bathrooms are the farthest thing from same-old. They are all outfitted with haut disco glittery plastic fittings -- counter, shower, bath, and toilet. Can you picture a sparkly gold or red bathroom? That's what you'll have.

In French fashion, there's a Jacuzzi-sized tub with a shower hose, but no separate shower. There's a bidet in addition to the john. Amply-sized toiletries are Le Negresco's own fragrant French label.

Tips for Getting a Great Room at Le Negresco

Not every room or suite will be to every guest's liking. Some rooms make you feel good as soon as you step inside, while others are dowdy and dated, with harvest-gold wall-to-wall carpeting and plain white bedspreads on beds that are on caster wheels. Yet many other rooms are ravishingly elegant.

How to get a Negresco room you will love:

  • Look at Le Negresco's various suites on the hotel's online rooms page before reserving
  • When you book, make sure you get the bed size you want; many rooms have quaint-seeming double beds
  • If you can't find a website photo of the room you're being booked into, ask the hotel to email you a pic or two

Read about the renowned dining at Le Negresco Hotel >>

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Le Chantecler Restaurant & Other Dining Options at Le Negresco Hotel in Nice

Le Negresco's Chantecler Restaurantm with two Michelin stars and Chef Jean-Denis Rieubland.
©Antoine Gauvin

Dining at Le Negresco

Le Negresco offers simply exceptional dining and drinking. The hotel's lobby-set Chantecler Restaurant is rated as the best in Nice. Le Negresco restaurants and bars attract not just guests but other visitors to Nice and local residents.

Le Chantecler Restaurant at Le Negresco

The hotel's Le Chantecler Restaurant is the only dining establishment in Nice to have been awarded two Michelin stars. A dinner here is more than a meal; it's an event. Guests settle in for the entire evening. There is so much to relish at Le Chantecler:

  • Its lavishly art-laden, chandelier-lit French dining room that would seem formal if not for its unusual dusky-pink hue
  • Its finely orchestrated and respectful service
  • Its talented and avidly followed young chef, Jean-Dénis Rieubland, decorated as a "Best Craftsman of France"
  • Chef Rieubland's delicious multi-course meals, showcasing flavorful Mediterranean seafood and produce and delicate French cooking techniques
  • Le Chantecler's magnificent wine cellar, with 15,000 bottles of mainly French vintages, including refreshing rosé wines made a few miles from Nice

La Rotonde Brasserie at Le Negresco

La Rotonde Brasserie is Le Negresco's more casual, indoor-outdoor restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The interior dining area is a charming round room done up like a merry-go-round, with actual wooden carousel horses as decoration. Le Negresco's youngest guests are captivated by this decor. And so are gourmets, who have the chance nightly to order a dish of the day by Le Chantecler's Chef Rieubland.

Breakfast at La Rotonde is included with room rates. A French buffet includes cheeses, smoked salmon, and a bounty of fresh-baked boulangerie breads.

In warm weather, which means much of the year on the French Riviera, La Rotonde diners may enjoy their meals outdoors under sun umbrellas on the brasserie's front terrace, overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean.

Room service, from La Rotonde, is available 24 hours a day.

Le Relais Bar at Le Negresco

The hotel's bar, Le Relais, features century-old burnished woodwork and a gleaming coffered ceiling. Seating is comfortable and private. The mood is mellow, with an urbane jazz soundtrack.

Le Relais features handcrafted creative cocktails, a vast French wine list (by the glass or bottle), plus a huge selection of Scotches and French cognac, Champagne, Armagnac (French brandy), and liqueurs. The Centenary Cocktail, concocted in celebration of Le Negresco's 100th birthday in 2012, combines Champagne with tropical hints of passionfruit and melon.

Le Negresco's Guest Who Seems to Live at the Bar

Le Relais has its regulars, but one guest in particular seems to be there all the time. Her name is Carmen. Her usual seat is a plush banquette facing the sun, and her customary drink is milk.

  • Carmen is a sociable, confident, ginger tabby cat who was adopted by Le Negresco's owner, Madame Augier (and vice-versa)
  • See a picture of Carmen!

Find out about Le Negresco's museum-quality art collection >>

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Le Negresco Hotel's Museum-Worthy French Art Collection

Rigaud portrait of King Louis XIV of France at Le Negresco Hotel in Nice.
©Karen Tina Harrison

Art at Le Negresco Hotel in Nice

Le Negresco itself is a work of art, with its famed salmon-pink dome and its glorious stained-glass dome in the Grande Salon. And the hotel is hailed throughout la belle France for its spectacular French art collection, numbering in the thousands. This priceless treasure trove was amassed by Le Negresco's owner, Madame Augier, and her husband.

Many of Le Negresco's artworks are on public view in the hotel, in its lobby, corridors, event spaces, Le Chantecler Restaurant, La Rotonde Brasserie, and Le Relais Bar. Guest rooms are also stuffed with art. In some ways, Le Negresco is a museum with hotel rooms.

Artworks date from the 1600s through contemporary times. They include paintings, drawings, numbered prints, sculptures, tapestries, porcelains, and more. Highlights of Le Negresco's art collection include:

  • A priceless portrait of King Louis XIV, the Sun King, by Hyacinthe Rigaud (There are two other versions, one in Versailles and one in the Louvre)
  • The stained-glass dome, designed by Monsieur Eiffel of that tower
  • Suspended from the dome, a massive crystal chandelier made of 16,800 pieces of Baccarat
  • A 17th-century marble bust of the Duke of Berry by Jacques Prou le Jeune
  • A Belgian tapestry woven in honor of a royal wedding in 1683
  • Several portraits by Nicolas de Largilliere
  • A painting by François Boucher
  • A painting by Sonia Delaunay
  • 1960s, Mod-style red carpeting in the corridors, custom designed by Jean-Pierre Yvaral
  • Nana Jaune, a yellow sculpture of a dancing girl, by Niki de Saint-Phalle
  • Drawings and prints by Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, René Gruau, Salvador Dali, and others
  • Many handsome pieces of furniture in the Egyptian revival style popularized by Emperor Napoleon and Empress Josephine

Connect with Le Negresco in Nice >>

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How to Connect with Le Negresco Hotel & Start Planning a Visit

A Mediterranean view to love from Le Negresco Hotel suite terrace.
©Elizabeth Billhardt

Where to Learn More about Le Negresco Hotel and Start Planning a Visit

  • Le Negresco Hotel's website
  • By email
  • On Facebook
  • Le Negresco Hotel
    37, Promenade des Anglais
    06000 Nice, France

As is common in the travel industry, the Expert was provided with a complimentary visit to the hotel for the purpose of describing it. While this arrangement has not influenced her article, About.com believes in editorial transparency. For more info, see our site's Ethics Policy.

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