This was a tale that started 30 years ago, it was the day a little person arrived into my life in the shape of my baby sister. I was only 4 myself so I only have the sketchiest memory of it all – actually the main thing I remember is that I refused to go to the hospital until I had a new (tacky, cheap) beaded necklace so I could show her and I was most annoyed when the newborn showed zero interest in my snazzy new accessory.
Incidentally, the same cannot be said now and 30 years later, one needs to cast a sideways glance to make sure she’s not made off with my shoes/ handbag/ jewellery. (Delete as necessary). When she turned 21, the sisters went on a little tour of Paris and when she turned 30, it was time to return to la belle France.
I was very excited because the whole thing was a surprise. She had to meet me at the airport with a guideline of what temperatures to pack for and I would reveal all… and once she found out we were going to Nice, we celebrated with a glass of fizz in the lounge.
I didn’t do a lot of research into where to say and in a moment of craziness, I did a ‘mystery’ hotel booking on lastminute.com – and ended up at Villa Otero. It was perfectly fine although a bit of a walk from the old town and it was fine for one night, but what I probably should have done is pick a hotel on the Promenade des Anglais. One quite cute perk of the Villa Otero though is that belongs to the HappyCulture group of hotels, all of which offer some kind of perk that you can jump around and experience all the hotels in the group! So we decided to gatecrash another hotel for some ice cream and coffee… you know, it’d be rude not to!
Once we landed, we dropped off our things and headed straight to lunch for what is basically the best part of the French Riviera – the view over the Cote d’Azur. I’d read that the best view was to be had on the terraces of the hotels there and so I booked le 3e, the balcony restaurant of the Hyatt Regency.
And the sun was smiling upon us and we toasted a wonderful wonderful lunch. I won’t bore with you with the I ate this, she ate this business, but I think you can see that the whole thing was just astounding. The service was impeccable, the food mouthwatering and when you have that view with your sister by your side and a glass of bubbles in your hand, what can go wrong?
When I go back, I’ll be booking into Keisuke, a renowned Japanese restaurant in Nice but with our early start and huge lunch that only ended at 4pm, in hindsight it was sensible to not book us into a big rich dinner. Instead, we opted for a quick snack in between our meanderings around Nice and the next day, I had another surprise up my sleeve with a special lunch reservation.
After another walk around the old town and more selfies, we headed to lunch – Le Rotonde at Hotel Negresco.
Hotel Le Negresco is the grand old dame of Nice, it’s part luxury hotel, part antique treasure cave, part gallery and all amazing. We went in for a quick sneak peek before we stepped into lunch and just look!
But if you thought this was beautiful, then La Rotonde will make your jaw drop. It’s a carousel, a real live carousel built into a restaurant.. or is that the other way around?
Isn’t it breathtaking? Our jaws dropped and we spent a very distracted lunch trying to take photos from every single angle and spotting all the teeny tiny spectacular detail!
Now I’ll have to say that I didn’t think the food was so WOW, I think for the really great food, Michelin starred Le Chantecler is probably a better bet but we were so enamoured by the amazing setting, we didn’t mind so much that we didn’t love the food. Actually, it was possibly just me who didn’t win the lunch lottery, sometimes you make excellent ordering choices, sometimes you just don’t. And when you’re lunching with the birthday girl, you have to let her choose all the good bits 😉
We made one last excursion back into the Old town for some ice cream because you can never have too much sugar and we needed our energy for the flight home, toasting the end to an absolutely excellent weekend.