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Le Palais Maeterlinck - Hotel Review

Dinner for Two and a Sea of Blue

Rooms & terraces look out over the sea
Rooms & terraces look out over the sea

Located along the Cap de Nice cliffs, Le Palais Maeterlinck resides just east of the city of Nice. Its grounds have an interesting history. The original owner, Count Miléant, began construction on the property in 1920. He had planned on building an impressive casino but quickly ran out of money. Constructed to hold up the roof of the casino's cabaret, the Ionic columns surrounding the pool are remnants of this foiled plan. In 1930, the Nobel Prize-winning poet Maurice Maeterlinck purchased the property, creating for himself a beautiful home and surrounding it with gardens. After some modifications in the 1980s, the hotel Le Palais Maeterlinck was opened to the public in 1989.

For several years now, the hotel has been renovating and making tweaks here and there during the off-season, upgrading to refine the décor and add such amenities as Wi-Fi access. The result of these efforts is one of the most pleasant hotels in the region. Your French Riviera immersion will most likely start in your room: all accommodations offer terraces with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. Most rooms gaze south toward an unending sea of blue, with Nice to the west and a lighthouse to the east. Many suites come with full kitchens, while two suites even boast personal outdoor Jacuzzis.

"The Wild Beach," below the hotel
Scenic dining
"The Wild Beach," below the hotel
Scenic dining

Although it's relaxing to hang out on your terrace reading a book and watching the ferries to Corsica pass by, try to take advantage of some of the hotel's other pleasures. A steep path down the cliff (a cable car is also available) will take you to the "plage sauvage" or wild beach, where you can enjoy the morning paper and a refreshing drink under a parasol inches from the Mediterranean. If the surf isn't too rough, feel free to jump right in. For those looking to swim in a tamer body of water, the Maeterlinck has a pool, complete with snack bar serving small dishes such as salads and a great croque monsieur. There's even a pétanque field if you're feeling sporty.

Whether for lunch or dinner, make sure to have at least one meal at the hotel's restaurant, Le Mélisande. The creative Mediterranean cuisine of Laurent Broussier, coupled with the view, make this dining venue worthy of special occasions. The interior space has a refined atmosphere, punctuated by a Neapolitan cabinet and numerous Oriental and Flemish paintings. The best tables are on the terrace, where simple wrought-iron furniture and large parasols provide a pleasing contrast to dramatic views of Nice and the sea.

Le Palais Maeterlinck
30, bd Maurice Maeterlinck
06000 Nice, France
+33 (0)4 92 00 72 00

 

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(Updated: 11/27/12 JH)

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