Hotel Review: Hôtel Belles Rives, Juan-Les-Pins, Cap d'Antibes, France
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TPG Creative Director Adam Daniel Weiss recently traveled to Antibes, France where he stayed at the Hôtel Belles Rives . Read on for his review on the property.
After a few nights in the hustle and bustle of Cannes, I decided it was time to move to a more low key location. The traffic and crowds surrounding the Cannes Film Festival have a hint of opulence and Hollywood glam, but it can be a bit overwhelming! Although it would have been fun to stay at the epicenter of it all, my options were incredibly limited due to the heightened attendance in the city. TPG himself was staying at the glam J.W. Marriott in Cannes using Marriott points, but unfortunately no other rooms were available, and other options such at the Intercontinental, The Grand Hyatt and the Radisson Blu Thalasso were all well over $1000 a night.
So after two nights in Cannes I booked a room on Hotels.com at the stunning Hôtel Belles Rives in Antibes, just a short 25 minute ride up the Cote D'Azur, and by booking on Hotels.com I scored some Welcome Rewards in the process! As it was a very busy time of year (the aforementioned film festival, the Monaco Grand Prix), a Classic Room without a seaview was $583 (€397) a night, though a recent check of the room shows that you can book for as low as $270 (€200). The hotel is closed during the winter season between November and January.
A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the hotel has a beautifully storied history. It was the former residence of Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda in the mid 1920s before it was purchased and converted into a hotel. The large mansion features stunning Art Deco designs, striped awnings and a private beach, which gives it a luxe Mediterranean opulence that harkens back to another era.
Walking into the lobby of the stately building, you are immediately struck by the nuances in the design and decor, from the arched walkways to the stunning iron-gated elevator. Deco-era lights and chairs in the seating area are complimented by stylized wave motifs on the wall and large floral displays.
The lobby opens up to the Piano Bar Fitzgerald, named after the property's most famous resident, as well as to the outdoor restaurant, private beach and pier. The entire property has a very French Riveria beach club vibe, airy and luxe.
After checking in with the front desk staff, I took the old-school wrought-iron elevator up to my room on the fourth floor, next door to my friends whom I was traveling with.
Once upstairs, I walked to the end of a long hallway and used my ridiculously heavy key (shown in the first photo, don't worry, you can leave it with the front desk when you head out for the day and it won't weigh you down) to open the door and I found a beautifully appointed room.
The room was well lit with a comfortable queen bed, tufted headboard and plenty of closet space for my four-night stay. Although there were tons of patterns throughout the room (Stripes! Diamonds! Leopard!), it was not overwhelming as they were all in the same color family, and I found the design aesthetic to be quite pleasing.
My room (like most rooms facing the street) featured two balconies which still allowed for views of the sea when you turned right, and since I was at the end of the hall, my view was still pretty spectacular. Inside the room, I had a simple bathroom with tub, shower and separate toilet.
The bathroom and toilet room were nothing of note, but it did feature bath products by Penhaligons, a personal favorite of mine.
Amenities & Dining
The hotel boasts La Passagère with a menu by Yoric Tieche, formerly of famed Hotel Le Maurice in Paris. The Mediterranean-themed menu, like everything else in Cannes is very pricey with items ranging €24 to €50 for entrees.Although I didn't have a full dinner there, the outdoor terrace served as the perfect setting as my friends and I shared some wine and canapes one evening as we watched the sun set over the bay of Juan-Les-Pins
I did have breakfast in the room one morning and found the typical European breakfast spread of fresh fruits, yogurts, breads and pastries as well as platters of cured meats.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a bar in the hotel as well called Piano-Bar Fitzgerald, and at the beach level, there is also a restaurant appropriately enough called Restaurant Plage Belles Rives, as plage means beach in French. During the day, the private beach has deck chairs for rental as well as the opportunity to rent boats for excursions, participate in water sports, or get a seaside massage, which I did, and still think about to this day! On Thursday nights during the summertime, the beach restaurant turns into "Villa Belles Rives", a disco dance party with live DJ's, fashion shows and more.
The hotel was really lovely, and setting was truly special. The town of Juan-Les-Pins on the Cap d'Antibes is a stunning setting, and the property itself, although nearing it's 100th Birthday looks brand new thanks to a recent renovation. Rooms were a very comfortable size and to have not one, but two private balconies is a lavish extravagance. The staff was lovely, especially lead concierge Luca, and the proximity to Cannes, Nice and Monaco make it a great option for a lush Mediterranean-chic trip away.
I do wish that for that price more was included, such as breakfast or our beach chairs, which we had to rent for pay €16 per day, but it seemed that everything was à la carte.
I really enjoyed my stay at the Hôtel Belles Rives, and I know my friends who were staying there as well felt the same. The staff was helpful and nice and went out of their way to make sure that we had the best stay possible. Small touches, like the maids leaving fresh French macarons on the bed during turndown service to attentive service with seaside canapés as the sun sets, the property is top-notch. Waking up and opening the balcony doors to the blazing French sun, sitting on beach chairs overlooking the sea and enjoying crisp rosé in a stunning setting, well, it's just fantastique!
How To Use Points
The hotel is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World who have their own loyalty program (blandly called "The Club"), however booking through their site seemed to be a much more expensive option, prices are skewed higher, which is why I had opted for Hotesl.com. My best option was to pay for the room using my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, so I got 2x the points on my room and avoided foreign transaction fees. Additionally, since Hotels.com gives 10% back through Welcome Rewards, I gladly booked through that option.
Have you stayed at the Hôtel Belles Rives? If so, we would love to hear what you thought!