As we approach Nice Airport at the end of a very comfortable flight from London we are greeted by the beautiful deep blue Mediterranean Sea which immediately relaxes the senses and puts you in a holiday mood. You might even say this is somewhat of a heart stopping experience, with surely one of the most visually pleasing panoramic views to be enjoyed from an aeroplane anywhere in the worlds.
The pebbled beach of Nice starts very close to the airport and curves around the Bay called the Bay of Angels, composed of smooth pebbles, ideal for those not too keen on sandy beaches. But there is more to be found in Nice of that smooth quality as the city has undergone rejuvenation in recent times under stern leadership of the present mayor, proudly featuring a state of the art transport system and exceptionally beautiful public spaces. Located in the Côte d'Azur area on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and the second-largest city in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region after Marseille.
The natural beauty of the Nice area and its mild Mediterranean climate came to the attention of the English upper classes in the second half of the 18th century, when an increasing number of aristocratic families took to spending their winter there. The city's main seaside promenade, the Promenade des Anglais ("Walkway of the English') owes its name to visitors to the resort. For decades now, the picturesque Nicean surroundings have attracted not only those in search of relaxation, but also those seeking inspiration. The clear air and soft light have particularly appealed to some of Western culture's most outstanding painters, such as Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse. Their work is commemorated in many of the city's museums, including Musée Marc Chagall, Musée Matisse and Musée des Beaux-Arts.
Testifying to the city’s seductive powers is the fact that Nice has the second largest hotel capacity in the country and it is one of its most visited cities, receiving 4 million tourists every year. It also has the third busiest airport in France, after the two Parisian hubs.
Shortly we spot our destination towering over the Bay of Angels and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the charming 5 star Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée hotel, ideally located on the prestigious Promenade des Anglais in the heart of Nice. Not only does this striking luxury hotel enjoy seafront views of Nice, it is also located within a short walk of the city’s key attractions and conveniently located for air travellers.
Walking along the Promenade you have a sense of tranquil harmony you would hope to come across wherever your travels may carry you. Young and old alike enjoy their recreational activities of varying intensity, the most energetic ones and not necessarily the youngest being carried by their elastic and often victorious Nike shoes. But there is also a sense of profound history evident from the archaeological site Terra Amata within the city which displays evidence of a very early use of fire. Around 350 BC, Greeks of Marseille founded a permanent settlement and called it Nikaia, after Nike, the goddess of victory. Through the ages, the town has changed hands many times. Its strategic location and port significantly contributed to its maritime strength. For centuries it was a dominion of Savoy, and was then part of France between 1792 and 1815, when it was returned to Piedmont-Sardinia until its reannexation by France in 1860. The Italian flair is never far away in Nice or Nizza as you would recognise it on the road signs arriving by car from Italy.
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée features luxurious and spacious accommodation including 178 guestrooms and 9 elegantly furnished suites. Contemporary guestrooms range in size from 25 to 117 square metres with balconies or terraces offering guests spectacular views overlooking either the Mediterranean Sea or the city of Nice. Needless to say all five star luxury hotel suites meet the latest contemporary requirements of today’s business and leisure traveller. Guests and local residents alike can enjoy the hotel’s acclaimed gourmet restaurant, where we dined in the delightful company of the manager, Mr Rolf Osterwalder.
We enjoyed our breakfast on the open terrace where you also can have your lunch and dinner offering panoramic views of the Bay of Angels. However, you might find it worthwhile to stroll down to the old town and explore some of its culinary delights. To mention one, the petite bistro is the work of a former Michelin-starred chef, Dominic Le Stanc and attracts hungry locals and visitors alike who come for the dishes chalked up on a board each day – there is no formal menu.
At the end of the day the sun is setting and the lights on the Promenade are lit and are reminiscent of shining stars, yet in our hearts the sun never sets on the beauty that is called the Bay of Angels.