Le Negresco isn’t the only graceful hotel in the French Riviera, of course, cooking class in Besançon but it may be its most fascinating. The property’s enthralling backstory — the 1913-constructed hotel was the idea of Henri Negresco, a charismatic casino owner, but it didn’t blossom into the elegant address we know today until it was purchased by Madame Jeanne Augier in the late 1950s — sets the tone for a visit.
Still, it’s Augier’s opulent (if not a bit eccentric) eye for mink bedspreads or dapperly attired doormen that have made the pink-domed hotel a must-visit for royals, Hollywood’s elite and well-heeled globetrotters.
But the 117-room jewel box isn’t content with merely being a showroom of gilded furnishings and lavish chandeliers, and it proudly demonstrates this by equipping rooms with flat-screen TVs and other up-to-the-second technological treats.
It doesn’t matter if you’re more intrigued with the new or the old, you’ll agree that Le Negresco’s position along the Mediterranean Sea is an absolute thing of beauty. Bask in the views from your water-facing room or at your table at the posh Le Chantecler Restaurant.
In between camera snaps, though, be sure to check your surroundings for a famous face because you never know who Augier is having over for the night.
With the feel of a vintage carousel ride, the La Rotonde brasserie is decorated in a colorful hodgepodge of wooden horses, puppets, a circus tent and pink velvet sofas. The surreal hall gives the appearance as if the room could start spinning at any moment.
Unlike your traditional fair where you’d find a funnel cake or corn dog, La Rotonde’s prized treat is the bergamot and hazelnut king’s cake, a crispy puff pastry filled with Sicilian bergamot frangipane and slivers of roasted hazelnut.
At heralded Le Chantecler, expect romanticism, elegance and a savory display of French gastro delights on chef Jean-Denis Rieubland’s menu every night.