A bronze statue of a voluptuous Goddess encased in granite along the length of the façade is the first thing that grabs one’s attention upon approaching the Marriott’s AC Hotel Nice. It’s as if the giant, regal lady – some say she’s Juno, others Hera, queen of the gods – is playing a game of peek-a-boo with an invisible friend hiding among the other ornate buildings near the famed Promenade des Anglais.
The stunning 26-meter tall sculpture – the work of an artist best known as Sosno (born Alexandre Sosnowsky to a Niçoise mother in Estonia) – is an impressive introduction to this 4-star hotel which was built in 1987 as the Elysée Palace and taken over by the Marriott group two years ago.
Casual comfort pervades the spacious, low-ceilinged lobby with many assorted sofas and armchairs to choose from throughout the room, a bar at one end near the elevators and the reception desk close to the entrance doors. Furnishings are minimalist – books, paintings and white shelves with vases of flowers creating private areas for quiet conversation and reading.
One of the most attractive aspects of the property is its expansive rooftop terrace and bar where you can enjoy cocktails, the swimming pool and panoramic views over the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). The hotel also has a partnership with Florida Beach, several hundred meters away, with discounted rates for guests.
Convenience is a hallmark of the AC Hotel with a direct shuttle from Nice Côte d’Azur Airport five kilometers away leaving guests almost directly in front of it. Picturesque Old Nice is a short 15-minute meander along the broad beachfront promenade (there is also a regular bus service) while the Fine Arts Museum featuring works by Jan Brueghel, Louis-Ernest Barrias and Luc-Olivier Merson is just around the corner.
All 143 rooms and suites include a mini refrigerator and flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a downstairs restaurant serves regional, traditional French and American cuisine. You can also relax outside on seats scattered around a Zen garden, enjoy local art displayed throughout the hotel or simply have a workout in the fitness center. Business clients can avail of three meeting rooms for seminars and cocktails for up to 250 people.
One of the highlights of my stay was the warm, personable service from staff including Marco Bernardini on the reception desk, who within minutes of our arrival had located several live music venues for us, and house-keeping which made all efforts to provide me with a suitable pillow.
Room furnishings are contemporary rather than whimsical – not surprising since it is a chain hotel not an independent boutique one. In shades of grey and cream, each bedroom has large, floor-to-ceiling windows with strong insulation coping well with the sound of outside traffic.
For sheer location close to the beach and promenade as well as its casual sense of comfort, the AC Hotel Nice is a fine choice.