Saturday, January 1, 2011

Nights at the Negresco

If I insisted that the whole world shared my taste then I'd never leave the house. The Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice is a palace of kitsch. But why not, what else should it be? Just another Sonesta snooze? It was snowing and our flight to Paris was canceled and predictions were for worse weather to come. So what do you do if you have to get to Paris or else? You drive three hours to Nice, put up at the Negresco and take the TGV in the morning. N'est ce pas?

A hotel with an art collection to make your eyeballs spin in your face! But it's a hotel with a history. In 1893, the young Romanian, Henri Negrescu (1868-1920), son of an innkeeper and gypsy violinist, arrived in Monte-Carlo. He started off in the catering trade and quickly worked his way up to become director of the restaurants at the Municipal Casino of Nice. There, he met the celebrated Edouard Niermans (1859-1928), architect of the "Café Society," and with that meeting his dream of building a great hotel was born. Nothing was left to chance in order to make hotel history on the French Riviera, so Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) was chosen to construct the framework of one of Europe’s most beautiful glass domes—the pride of the hotel's Salon Royal. On January 8th, 1913 the Negresco opened its doors and the dazzling white façade and its pink dome have watched over the Bay of Angels ever since.

If you're lucky enough to stay in the Chambre de la Reine you wash up before bed in these solid gold bathroom fixtures. There are times when only the best is good enough!

The colorful Jeanne Augier, current owner of the hotel, ammased most of the art collection, which now adorns the halls and lobby. Like it or love it or hate it, it features, for the most part, French art of the Pop era. But there are also some excellent antique portraits of French royalty and some other fine classic paintings scattered about here and there.
And when you wake up in the morning the sunrise is yours and you know you're in one of the world's most distinguished hotels and on the French Riviera to boot—there's no mistaking it. Oh she's a grande dame, the Negresco. I wish her a Happy New Year 2011!

1 comment:

Concrete Jungle said...

Ah a wonderful smile for the New Year! Thank you.