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Palais de la Mediterranee

Nice, France - Hotel Review

An Art Deco Classic by the Sea

by André Gayot

Art Deco meets Neoclassicism at Palais de la Mediterranee
Art Deco meets Neoclassicism

When this refreshing property first opened in 1929 as a casino, it instantly became the gambling house on the Côte d'Azur. The glamorous and avant-garde Josephine Baker — accompanied by her little pink pig, attended the opening — and the English language Cannes News declared it "probably the most luxurious building the world has ever known." Built by American millionaire and railroad robber baron, Frank Jay Gould, it initially housed a gaming room with sweeping Mediterranean views and an art gallery displaying works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Rodin.

Almost three decades of abandonment, beginning in the 1970s, could not spoil the beautiful blend of Art Déco and neoclassical design that fronts this building, situated on the Promenade des Anglais overlooking the Baie des Anges. For this reason, when the Société du Louvre (a subsidiary of the Tony Taittinger group) partnered with the Partouche gaming group to restore it, meticulous attention was paid to the columned exterior and its bas reliefs of mythical horses flanked by muses rising from the sea.

Modern and inviting guest rooms at Palais de la Mediterranee Lush colors set moods at Palais de la Mediterranee
Modern and inviting style
Lush colors set moods

While the façade is old-fashioned and grandiose, the interior has been completely refashioned to exude a carefree, contemporary spirit. There's nothing stuffy in here. The style is sleek and modern, as is the staff. Young and congenial, they are right at home in this modern setting. The 188 chic and cozy bedrooms and suites are the product of Sybille de Margerie, the designer who crafted the new interiors at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris and La Palme d'Or restaurant at L'Hôtel Martinez in Cannes. The décor relies heavily on color to set moods, and hues range from sensuous reds set off with exotic saffron accents to cheerful blues and yellows that feel inspired by the sun and sea of the Mediterranean. Most of the rooms have large balconies with views of the bay, hills or interior garden. Up-to-date amenities include air-conditioning, flat screen TVs and direct Internet and Wi-Fi access.

Colorful business areas at Palais de la Mediterranee The pool at Palais de la Mediterranee
Colorful business areas

Considered the heart of the hotel, the third floor features an outdoor swimming pool that makes dramatic use of the original façade. Enormous windows once flanked by columns have been removed, leaving the pool open to fresh sea breezes — you feel as if you're right on the beach (which is just a stone's throw away), but without the crowds. On this floor you will also find La Pingala bar, a boudoir-ish looking lounge whose sexy colors were inspired by the silks and spice markets of India, and whose mutenye wood bar is capped by an over-stone of green enameled lava.

Naturally — given the property's rich history — there is a casino, which is located adjacent to the hotel. Along with a stylish, sea-view gaming room offering high stakes English and French roulette, stud poker, blackjack and more, it also houses a ballroom (the hotel is fully equipped for meetings and conferences) and two additional restaurants: Restaurant des Jeux Traditionnels and Brasserie La Fregate, whose décor is an ode to Matisse. Whether you're soaking up rays at the pool or tempting Lady Luck, you will experience the graciousness of the past in a fashionable, 21st-century setting.

Palais de la Méditerranée
13, Promenade des Anglais
BP 1655
Nice, Côte d'Azur, France 06000
+33 (0)4 92 14 77 00 | Reserve with for the best rate!


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(Updated: 11/18/13 CT)

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