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My 1930s-Era Experience at the Hotel Belles Rives

Florence Consul

Florence Consul

As we continue along our road trip, Antibes is the perfect place to settle for a while and visit the surrounding area. There we find the Hotel Belles Rives, a legendary luxury establishment dating back to the Roaring Twenties that has seen plenty of celebrities pass through over the decades. I’m immediately struck by the hotel’s charm; as soon as I walk in, I’m enveloped in an elegant yet relaxed atmosphere.  Learn more about my five-star experience that transported me back to a more festive era.

A History Dating Back to the Roaring Twenties

The building’s history begins in the interwar years. F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda were enchanted by the region and took up residence at the “Villa Saint Louis,” which transformed into a vacation destination for rich Americans. It became a trendy hotspot where the jet set class would gather to relax on the beach, party, and let the champagne flow like water!

In 1929, the villa became the Hotel Belles Rives, with Bonna and Simone Estène succeeding the Fitzgeralds. In 2001, Marianne Estène Chauvin, their granddaughter, took up the reins of the famous establishment. In 2006 she bought up the 5-star Hotel Juana only a stone’s throw away, founding the Belles Rives group. The family history behind the hotel contributes to its character and good reputation.

A 1930s-Era Look, from the Lobby to the 42 Rooms and Suites

The 1930s-era atmosphere at Belles Rives is palpable as soon as you set foot inside; whether it’s in terms of the interior design or the furniture, an effort has clearly been made to remain true to the hotel’s origins. It’s the same for the 42 rooms and suites. Many of them offer a magnificent view of the sea, and each one features a distinct décor: bold colors, geometric motifs… It’s a far cry from Scandinavian minimalism, instead emanating warmth and opulence.

La Passagère, a Michelin-Starred Delight

This 5-star hotel would not be complete without a gourmet restaurant, but that’s covered thanks to “La Passagère.” Awarded one Michelin star, this restaurant features cuisine with an emphasis on Mediterranean produce, created under the direction of chef Aurélien Véquaud. The dining room, renovated in 2016, is the height of chic, with an absolutely splendid Art Deco style. Not only can we watch the sea thanks to the immense glass doors, but we can also admire the large frescoes, mirror effects, and mosaics that adorn the enormous pillars. It’s an explosion of color that won’t fail to impress!

The Fitzgerald Bar: Jazzy Music and Club Chairs

Before or after eating at the gourmet restaurant, don’t forget to visit the Bar Fitzgerald. It’s truly a bar from another era with club chairs, valuable paintings, and oak parquet floors, all complemented by jazz piano music. Perfect for a pre-dinner drink or nightcap!

The Beach at Belles Rives

During the high season, the Hotel Belles Rives’ trump card is its private beach. An enormous floating pier with a landing stage, a solarium with deckchairs, a lounge bar, and a restaurant that serves as a summer kitchen are all available for travelers looking for a place to chill. And for those seeking to indulge in water sports, the Belles Rives Ski Nautique Club can help you discover one of the most popular sports from the Roaring Twenties: water skiing!

Since 2006, the Hotel Juana has been part of the Belles Rives group. It was also established in the 1930s and has its own rich history. You need only enter the lobby to see an impressive wood-paneled elevator that will take you back decades. With its 40 rooms and suites, it’s an excellent alternative to the Belles Rives.

The Verdict

This 5-star hotel is a legendary establishment on the Riviera. Thanks to a careful restoration, visitors are literally transported back to the 1930s, and the hotel’s private beach and floating pier will thrill guests who are looking to take a break. Last but certainly not least, the Michelin-starred cuisine at La Passagère will delight the most demanding foodies. It’s the perfect place to take in the atmosphere of interwar-era France.

Practical Information

Thank you to the Belles Rives for the invitation to explore their establishment. Of course, the content of this blogpost was left entirely up to me!

Florence Consul

About Florence Consul

Editor of Experiences Luxe since 2015, I love discovering new exclusive and authentic experiences all over the world. I left my home country (France) 6 years ago to become a global citizen, traveling 365 days out of the year. I am a foodie person and I make a point of tasting local specialities.