Hotel Suisse (Lodging)
Address and Website: 15 quai Rauba Capeu, Promenade des Anglais, 06300 Nice; www.hotel-nice-suisse.com/uk/
Location: I found the hotel to be well-located for the most part, but a little far from the airport bus stop. We took the airport bus (#98, 4 euros each way, pay the driver) in and out of the city to avoid the expensive taxis, but the nearest stop was definitely a bit of a walk from the hotel (flat the whole way, though). The bus drops you off on the side of Albert 1er Park on the way in, and you can catch it back to the airport in from of the Le Meridien in from of the Casino (huge sign for the hotel you can see from almost anywhere along the waterfront). From the drop-off, it was a straight walk down the waterfront (on the main blvd, when facing the water, just turn left and walk to where the waterfront path starts to curve right), the hotel will be in front of you next to the elevator to Castle Hill). The hotel is situated sort of between town and the harborfront which we liked. Old town and the main pedestrian walkway through it was very close by and we walked through there a few times a day (on Monday mornings there is a flea market there, and other morning there is a regular market, in the afternoons there is outdoor café seating, and in the evenings the place comes alive with outdoor diners everywhere and a nice ambiance for walking—crowded, though). We liked walking the waterfront promenade at night, too. It was also nice to walk down along the harborfront in the evening (turn left out of hotel) and stare at the HUGE yachts. Also, definitely recommend going up on Castle Hill—can take the elevator, but we just took the stairs); great views, we wandered around a bit up there through the park area.
Overall: Overall, this was a good hotel. For Nice in high season, it was nice, but anywhere else it would have been a bit overpriced for what it was. I don’t have any major complaints about it (thus the 4); it was a great choice in a good location.
Hotel Staff: The staff didn’t go out of their way to be overly helpful, but no one was rude, either. If I asked them a question about the area, they provided me an answer. Don’t get too excited about the “welcome drink” they publicize when you make your reservation, though. We had to ask for it 3 times (they said there needed to be 2 people at the desk in order to give you it even though the bar was next to the desk—maybe it’s some kind of regulation?), and they didn’t have anything too exciting. Also, don’t think the bar is somewhere you are going to hang out at night, it isn’t staffed regularly or used really from what we could tell. These are really all nit-picky things, though.
Room: Our room was fine. The carpet had some stains, but nothing terrible. The bed wasn’t insanely comfortable, but it was definitely not the worst I’ve slept in (and the elevator was definitely the smallest I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t fit in it with more than one bag by myself), but the highlight to me was the sea view. We had a balcony (paid for that and the sea view), and that was nice to sit out on and relax and the view was just gorgeous. However, (and this goes for any hotel in Nice), you are going to be on a main road if you have a sea view, so the balcony was very noisy with traffic below us (we were on the 1st floor—which is really the 2nd floor to a person from the USA). When we closed the door to the balcony, though, we could not hear that in the room at all, and we still had the view. The hotel had free wireless, but it only really worked from the lobby. Our reservation was for a “privilege room, panoramic sea view with balcony, a welcome drink at the bar will be offered with this reservation, room size from 19 to 19 m².”
Ma Nolan’s Irish Pub (Bar)
Address and Website: 2 Locations: Ma Nolan’s Nice Port at 5 Quai Deux Emmanuel, 06300 Nice (Harbor) and Ma Nolan’s Vieux at 2 Rue Saint François De Paule, 06300 Nice (Downtown); www.ma-nolans.com
Location: The one we frequented was located along the harborfront on the water (on the east side). There is also an additional location on the main drag in town. Both have indoor and outdoor seating and a fun atmosphere.
Overall: The harbor pub sat along the water with both outside and inside seating. We found it to have a great happy hour and reasonable prices for the location. English was also a welcome break (the menu, the signs, and the servers). They apparently also had trivia some nights which I’m sure could be fun a good way to meet other travelers. Unfortunately, I cannot speak to the food. What I saw looked good, but we didn’t eat anything here. I’ve never been a huge fan of Irish cuisine, but the menu did have burgers and the basic staples of most bars anywhere. If you’re tired of French (and Italian which is even more popular in Nice), the food looked like a tasty break. Regardless, it was definitely a great place for a drink (especially a beer) and unwinding at the end of the day.
Atmosphere: We enjoyed the harbor views, breeze, and general on-the-water atmosphere of the location we frequented. The Irish pub decor and feel were both very prevalent and enjoyable, as well. We felt like we were on a little vacation from our vacation.