Friday, October 11, 2013


A surprise. A secret.  This boutique hotel clings to a cliffside, like a Provencal hideaway, with lemon trees, terracotta tiles and garden courtyards - only 20 minutes from Nice airport on the far end of the beach promenade.

From its position high up, La Pérouse has blissful views of the blue and turquoise bay from almost every one of its intimate, light filled rooms. From the terrace of our room 501 we could even see the beach and avenue sweeping round the Bay of Angels.  

Meditational views with boats, canoes, and sails fluttering by

A clear and sparkling pool way down below by Le Patio

You could  hear the slap of waves on the beach, and the sound of birds on the cliffside, not the traffic.* The key to this secret is a row of terraced houses way below, that act as an attractive and effective sound barrier.

The sound barrier

 The hotel entrance lies in one of those houses on a continuation of Promenade des Anglais, Quai Rauba Capeu.

Modest entrance...
It is indeed a modest hotel lobby down there on that busy road. And from that a tiny lift goes up through 5 storeys of flats (without a stop), like a kind of magic machine that takes you from the city of Nice to Provence.
Indeed there are many rustic features in a hotel clinging to a Cliffside. Not for the aged and infirm. To get to our room we took two different lifts, negotiated two short flights of stairs, and a crooked passage.
But it was worth every step. The mood is warm and intimate. We ate a great lunch at the patio restaurant, having driven from St Tropez without a stop.

Parma ham and melon; mozarello, tomato and basil;
a fabulous pesto on toast; and green salad
It is a cosy patio with lemon trees, adjoining a sparkling heated pool under the soaring cliff. Here is a sauna, and fences draped with morning glory. No view at this level – just upwards…

Le Patio

Sparkling pool, flowers and warm October sunshine
Up on the top floor is a spacious garden courtyard with great views. Here too lies the small but high tech gym (3 machines), and a Jacuzzi.

From the raised jacuzzi a view over the roof garden to the sea
Breakfast is on the patio – which also has a heated and covered area. Buffet breakfast including pancakes, cold cuts, cheese, fresh bread, cereals, yoghurt (including the essential natural yoghurt). The request for café latte brought  various results at different meals, depending on whether they interpreted that as café crème, cappuccino, Americaine, café au lait, or latte macchiato.


There are 52 rooms and 8 suites.
Lowest category is classic room – basically garden view rooms, all with balconies most with a partial seaview as bonus.

Garden view room balconies with lovely partial seaview

Next comes superior seaview rooms – all with seaview balconies:

And then deluxe seaview rooms which are a little larger, gaining a sense of space from the expansive balcony or patio and view:

Great place to catch up on your mail in the early evening
And get dreamy at night

Junior suites (7 of them) are different sizes. Our favourite was 612, the one way up on the rooftop garden/sundeck. It is bright and spacious and has two balconies, plus what feels like your own Jacuzzi as this is the only room on that level. People come back to this suite year after year.

With the ambience of a rustic Provencal villa, this rooftop
junior suite has two balconies amidst greenery

Junior suite 612 tucked away on the rooftop - near the Jacuzzi

We inspected a 2-bedroom suite with gigantic sundeck overlooking that fabulous sweep of beach and sea. It is about to be refurbished and rebuilt:

Vast terrace in the generous suite  - great for families
Because it is an old hotel all the rooms are different, even within one room type. So when booking its important to say: seaview and  terrace with sunbed, if that is what you want…rather than to name a  room type.
To show our deluxe room 501, here is a simple iPhone film of arrival in room 501.


Art is a good reason to come to Nice, especially if you lean towards impressionists. And dining is the final big positive. If you feel like getting out, the hotel gives you a list of restaurants so you can steer away from any hasslers. Even on a Monday night some of these excellent spots (good food, well priced) were full – so its good to book.

Click for a closer view of the colourful promanade and
the flower market behind
The promenade and the old city around the flower market is strung like a necklace with restaurants. But even better, the next night we walked the other way – just 350 metres to the port. Here it feels quieter and more local, less tourists. 

* Just a note. For a short period due to wind direction planes were coming in from our side of the bay to land at Nice airport  - visible as a flat peninsula on the far side of the bay. But for the rest of the time we found that rustic beachside  peace prevailed and the sound of the gulls and waves. 

The sea cliff in front of La Perouse at the end of the
beaches along Promenade des Anglais

Miraculous tranquility and yet lots to do. Perfect for a short break in the South of France.

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