Hotel Royal Riviera, sits on the Beaulieu-sur-Mer side of the glamorous St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula on Côte d’Azur in France.
We are regulars at this hotel, and every time I stay, my in-head jukebox starts playing Charles Trénet’s ‘La Mer.’ It’s that kind of place. Step inside the main doors, and you enter a hotel that is exactly what you would expect from a luxury hotel on this enchanting coastline.
Hotel Royal Riviera is just a 30-minute drive from Nice Airport, so it is easy to get to. As you arrive, you may recognize the Casino in Beaulieu-sur-Mer as one of the locations for the 1988 film “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, where Beaulieu-sur-Mer was depicted in the film as Beaumont-sur-Mer. Today, this small town, situated conveniently around the corner from Nice, remains as elegant and stylish as it ever was.
I particularly love the location of Hotel Royal Riviera because it is connected to a little pathway that winds around the waterfront of the St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula. You step down the staircase around the corner from the Hotel Royal Riviera pool, and you can walk for miles and miles, with the sea sloshing to one side of you and luxurious mansions to the other.
If you’re a fan of old movies, this walk takes you right past villa “La Fleur Du Cap,” once owned by the stars Charlie Chaplin and then David Niven. The villa was used in the filming of the 1982 movie Trail of the Pink Panther.
Eventually, you come to the village of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat with its beach, vibrant beachfront, and Marina front cafes. Beyond this, you can continue walking to the end of the peninsula, where a nature park gives away to rockpools and the sea. This has to be one of the most beautiful walks in France.
If you prefer a short walk to local shops, head in the other direction, along the beach promenade and into Beaulieu-sur-Mer, where you can shop in designer stores, pick up snacks in the Casino supermarket, or wander down to the Marina for a bite to eat.
Style & Character
The foyer of the Hotel Royal Riviera is stylish and airy, and glass doors lead out onto the gardens, which offer an inviting tropical paradise.
Beyond days lounging by the pool, one of the biggest joys at this hotel is having breakfast on the vast terrace that overlooks the pool and sea framed by palms and banana trees. You are also right by the sea if you get a seat at the end. This has to be the nicest venue for breakfast in the South of France.
Service & Facilities
It is probably the marvelous pool that is the main attraction of Hotel Royal Riviera, and although there is so much more to the hotel than the pool, the pool is pretty perfect and is definitely a highlight.
The pool is very shallow at one end, which is the perfect depth for children to play in without drowning (perhaps a meter in-depth for at least half of the pool). Yet it remains deep enough for adults to swim lengths, too. Yes, the pool is perfect for children, but it maintains a balance of sophistication and peace, with comfy lounges regularly attended to by the pool man. It’s the perfect destination for adults who want to laze under the warm French sunshine and perhaps enjoy a glass of wine whilst reading a book.
The pool stays open all year round (except 15 Nov – 15 Jan each year when the entire hotel closes for the winter) and is heated to 28°C, so it can be used even in the colder months.
Beyond the pool, the hotel has superb tropical gardens full of scents and flowers, more reminiscent of the Caribbean or Hawaii than Europe. Best of all, unlike most of the luxury hotels on the French Riviera, this one even has its own beach. The superb private beach has sand shipped in each year to cover the more gritty natural beach beneath. There is also a watersports center near the beach if you want to indulge in a spot of jet-skiing.
The main building is a mass of sunset-pink Belle Époque grandeur. All rooms in the main building offer stunning views across the pool and out to the sea beyond. These rooms have an art deco feel with Romeo and Juliette balconies.
We recommend the rooms overlooking the pool to see exactly what is going on, and you can decide where you want to select your lounger before popping down. Although these rooms don’t have direct access to the pool, they are in such close proximity to the pool that they feel like they do!
If you want direct pool access, rooms 10, 11, and 12 are the best rooms. Some other great rooms open right onto the garden with their own patio and loungers. All these rooms are located in the Orangerie building on the far side of the pool. These rooms have views over the pool or over the gardens.
The rooms in the Orangerie have been recently refurbished and have a pallette of oatmeals and natural woods. The rooms in the main building are undergoing refurbishment in 2023 and 2024. Every guest at the hotel is given an orange room or pillow fragrance that smells lovely and is meant to help you sleep, which is a nice touch.
Food & Drink
In the gardens, next to the pool, you will find the Jasmine lounge, a glass building built around the two great palms that frame the hotel. To one side is the alfresco bar area where you can relax on sofas and sip a drink next to the sea. There is also an internal bar area for when the wind gets up.
Inside, you can enjoy a delicious menu of fresh and filling dishes, including excellent curry, lamb, and fish dishes, and dessert parties full of gooey cream that are so good you’ll want five. The staff here try to remember your name and your favorite dishes. They make everyone feel very welcome and help to create a brilliant atmosphere.
Breakfast, which is included for free if you book via our luxury travel concierge, is dreamy. The setting is outside, on the magnificent terrace, and the views from this terrace are over the pool and out to sea. This is the Cote D’Azur as you imagine it and is the perfect place to enjoy a glorious spread of fruit, bread, cold cuts, cake, hot options plus there’s an egg chef who makes delicious omlettes. It’s superb!
The Royal Riviera Hotel could not be more perfect for a weekend break. At around 30 minutes from Nice airport, it is easy to get away for a weekend of sunshine and sophistication.
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