Embracing l’art de vivre

TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON | PHOTO © DAVID SAUVAL

This historic, family-run hotel in Nice encourages guests to discover their artistic side

“A cool glass of Provence rosé, of course,” says Odile Redolfi-Payen, granddaughter of the original owners of the WindsoR Hotel & Spa Nice – Chambres d’Artistes, when asked its most popular drink.

Happily, the 32-bedroom boutique hotel on Rue Dalpozzo – just five minutes’ walk from the iconic Promenade des Anglais seafront – has been giving visitors an authentic taste of the Cote d’Azur capital for generations.

Owned by the Rodolfi family since 1942, and a hotel since the early 1900s, the WindsoR was once favoured by English and Russian guests who came to escape their countries’ harsh winters for up to six months at a time.

Now, the place attracts a more international clientele, with loved-up couples among the most common guests. Largely because, while it has all the usual services one might expect from a good hotel – including a fashionable spa – its atmosphere is distinctly romantic.

In the summer, guests eat in the tropical-style garden restaurant – choosing from a menu of organic Mediterranean dishes, including the signature seven-hour slow-cooked leg of lamb – all illuminated by the gentle glow of a poolside art installation in the shape of the moon.

Indeed, quirky art is at the heart of the WindsoR philosophy.

Each of the colourful bedrooms has been designed or inspired by an artist, and original works from previous contemporary shows serve as reminders of the hotel’s long history.

“We try to keep souvenirs of the exhibitions, and each piece has its own story,” explains Redolfi-Payen. “We also host and organise art festivals.”

“I love my city, and I’m continuing my family’s tradition,” says Redolfi-Payen. “I want to open window onto the contemporary art world and take our guests on a journey within a journey.”

Rooms at the Hotel WindsoR Nice are available from 92 euros per night.

hotelwindsornice.com/en/