Riviera Renaissance: Report From Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel

The rooftop of the new Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel is buzzing from breakfast to the wee hours. Croissants and café crèmes roll into long lunches followed by creative cocktails at the bar and a lively dinner scene. From the terrace—suspended above the Place Masséna in the heart of Nice—the panoramas extend 360 degrees to encompass the mountains, the Albert 1er ardens, the Promenade des Anglais and the Mediterranean.

All this is the crowning pinnacle of a four-year restoration of the beloved Hotel Plaza, which opened in 1848 and where Russian and British aristocrats—drawn by the sunshine and mild climate—held court during the winter season.

The top-to-toe overhaul was overseen by three interior architects, including the David Collins Studio. The room inventory was reduced from 175 to 151 and includes 38 suites. Nice Touches: The local products in the minibar, espresso machines by Monaco-based Green Coffee and the custom scents for the bath products created by an Aix-en-Provence perfumer. Booking Tips: Rooms on the fifth floor have balconies with sea views. Comprising 580 square feet, the Baie des Anges Signature Suite comes with a kitchenette and living area. The crème de la crème is the two-bedroom Presidential Suite; its terrace is perfect for private parties. For VIP bookings, reach out to Sandrine Fatoux ([email protected]), director of sales and marketing.

Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel
The Historic Building has a Belle Epoque façade. It was inaugurated in 1848 and has been completely renovated by three interior architects, including the David Collins Studio. (Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel)

The restoration project coincides with the renaissance of Nice itself. With the country’s second busiest airport, the city has long been a jumping off point for travelers and cruise passengers on the Côte d’Azur. Yet new accolades and enticements are drawing visitors to linger longer. In 2021, Nice was classified by UNESCO as a “winter resort town of the Riviera,” the architectural charms of the Old Town set against a dazzling Mediterranean backdrop. It’s the secrets of the destination that the Anantara concierge team looks to unlock for guests. The Bangkok-based hotel brand champions cultural immersion with an array of insider experiences.

An example for foodies is a guided tour with local expert Dorothée Nakache, who introduces Niçois specialties as you shop in the Cours Saleya flower market and banter with the merchants. She also stops at local restaurants and boutiques (don’t miss the candied fruits at Maison Auer and infused olive oils at A l’Olivier) while admiring the Italianate architecture of Vieux Nice.

Les Colonnades
Les Colonnades has an exquisite tasting menu of caviar, oysters and Champagne; it also serves an afternoon tea with freshly baked pastries. (Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel)

Want to embrace the Riviera’s next-level hedonism? A private yacht awaits. Love art? Explore the region’s world-class museums or follow in the footsteps of Pablo Picasso in Antibes. Keen to learn about local wine? Situated in the hills above Nice, the Château de Cremat winery produces Bellet, the only French appellation located within a city. Bellet dates to France’s earliest vineyard cultivation, introduced by the Phoenicians. The chateau—the former stomping grounds of Coco Chanel and the inspiration behind her famous monogram—produced an exclusive vintage for the Anantara Plaza. For more local inspiration, reach out to Mike Wolf ([email protected]), the deputy chef concierge.

Return to the hotel to channel the heady days of the Belle Époque with Afternoon Tea at Les Colonnades. Head pastry chef Guillaume Bousquet honed his culinary skills at top addresses in Paris, including Four Seasons Hotel George V, Lasserre and Le Meurice, and his custom creations are works of art. Fifteen savory and sweet delights are presented on a centerpiece that’s a replica of the Nice Ferris Wheel. Among the cornucopia: Creative takes on the salade niçoise, pissalidière tart, and classic French desserts like the tarte tropézienne and la religieuse. The menu changes seasonally but one treat we hope sticks around: the galet de Nice, inspired by the famous pebbles on the city’s beach. (The chef even used a real stone as a mold for his creation.) Pair these delicacies with an aromatic, tea-like infusion by Green Coffee.

Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel
At Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel, the room inventory has been reduced from 175 to 151, which includes 38 suites. (Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel)

Another hotel standout is the Anantara Spa, a calm retreat with five treatment rooms on the lower level next to the gym. The wellness area—offering a hammam, sauna and relaxation room—can be privatized for individual use. The treatments incorporate top-of-the-line products: organic essential oils by CHO Nature, high-performance marine cosmetics by Brittany-based Thalion, pedicures by Bastien Gonzalez. The signature? The 90-minute “Hydra-Mineral Facial and Signature Body Massage” with marine magnesium. Also popular: the 60-minute “Energy & Radiance Facial” which utilizes vitamin-rich “super seaweeds” to erase the signs of fatigue. The comprehensive menu runs the gamut from bespoke massages to the “Pure Detox for Men;" if you have questions, reach out to Spa Manager Christelle Rajoie ([email protected]).

When it’s time for sunset, head for the rooftop to toast with a travel-inspired cocktail. “Le Voyage Anantara” is an array of signature drinks representing each international city that’s home to an Anantara hotel. For example, the Bangkok “Fleur d’Orient” is infused with Asian floral spices, while the Rome “Carbonara Flip” is a liquid version of the classic Italian dish. Instead of a standard cocktail menu listing drink ingredients, guests are encouraged to talk to the bartender about their taste preferences.

The Presidential Suite is perched on the top of the hotel. Spread over 807 square feet, the suite also has a private terrace with views of the sea. (Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel)

Don’t miss dinner at SEEN by Oliver. The rooftop restaurant is helmed by Portuguese chef Olivier da Costa, whose trendy venues in Sao Paulo and Bangkok draw the cool crowd. The dinner menu is wonderfully varied: sushi, wagyu cheeseburgers, truffled lobster salad, confit lamb shoulder, beef daube ravioli, black cod with miso. Bon appétit.

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