Review: Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee

Introduction
Club International Seattle
Lufthansa Business Class Seattle to Frankfurt
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Frankfurt to Nice
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee
Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez
Park Hyatt Zurich
Swiss Senator Lounge Zurich
Austrian Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Business Class Vienna to Tokyo Narita
EVA Air Business Class Tokyo Narita to Taipei
Le Meridien Taipei
W Taipei
EVA Air Infinity Lounge Taipei
EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Taipei to San Francisco
Thoughts on Nice, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Zurich, and Taipei


Earlier this year Hyatt announced that four hotels in France would be rebranded as Hyatts, which I was really excited about. I love when independent hotels rebrand as chain hotels, since you get the consistency and benefits you get through a global loyalty program, while getting something other than the typical “cookie cutter” experience.

Of the four French hotels being rebranded as Hyatts, two were in Paris, one was in Nice, and one was in Cannes.

We decided to first do two nights at the one in Nice, which is a category five Gold Passport property, making it 18,000 points per night. For the nights we were staying, the nightly rate was 349EUR+ per night, so using points was a no brainer.

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There are a couple of things worth noting about booking stays at this hotel, though. First of all, as I uncovered after my stay, this hotel accepts “Choice” level Hyatt Stay Certificates, which can be purchased for $152.22 per night.  As I note in that post, though, there are capacity controls to stay certificates, but if you can find availability it’s an absolute bargain.

Also, if you’re booking a revenue stay here, it’s worth noting that this hotel belongs to both American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and Virtuoso. So if you book through either program you’ll get added benefits for your stay while paying just the Hyatt Daily Rate. In the off season rates here are very reasonable, often under 200EUR per night, so combined with the below benefits it can turn into quite a bargain.

For American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts the added perks are as follows:

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And for Virtuoso the added perks are as follows:

Virtuoso_Benefits

Anyway, upon arrival from Frankfurt we took a taxi to the Hyatt Regency, which is only 3.5 miles from the airport. I was expecting the taxi to be expensive, but was surprised it was 50EUR (I was expecting to pay 30-35EUR based on what I had read, which is still crazy for such a short drive, but I guess those are local prices). That didn’t sound right to me, so I had my friend go inside and get the concierge while I waited outside with the driver. He turned pretty aggressive so rather than getting into too much of a confrontation I paid him and he drove off, which I probably shouldn’t have done in retrospect.

I was impressed by how seriously the concierge took the situation, though. I said “don’t worry about it, it was a learning experience,” and he said “it’s fine if you don’t worry about it, but it bothers me and I want to follow up.”

The exterior of the hotel is pretty darn impressive, and almost feels a bit Greek with the columns.

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Hotel exterior

The lobby is modest by comparison, though still nicely decorated, with lots of wood finishes.

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Lobby

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Lobby

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Lobby

Check-in was prompt, and I was impressed that despite this being a recently rebranded Hyatt they were on top of elite benefits, and informed us of our breakfast benefit, late check-out, and also offered us the choice between the 1,000 points and the welcome amenity.

We were assigned a partial sea view room on the 5th floor, room 517. Our room was about half way down the (cruise-shipy looking) hall on the left.

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Hotel hallway

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Our room

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Floorplan

The room featured a spacious entryway. On the right side was the bathroom and toilet (which were located in separate rooms), and on the left was the minibar and closet.

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Entryway

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Minibar

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Minibar

The room was nicely decorated and fairy large by European standards, with a king bed, a desk under the flat screen TV, and two chairs with a side table by the window.

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King bed

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TV and desk

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Chairs with side table

Then there was a balcony which overlooked the pool (and in the distance the sea). It featured a lounge chair as well as two chairs with a table. The plastic partitions between rooms seemed a bit cheap, though, since you could look straight through them.

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Balcony

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Balcony

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View from the balcony

As far as the bathroom goes, it featured a sink, tub, and walk-in shower.

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Sink

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Tub

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Walk-in shower

All the toiletries were Annick Goutal branded.

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Toiletries

Then the toilet was located in a separate room closer to the door.

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Toilet

On the whole the room was lovely, and again, I just love staying at non-cookie cutter chain hotels. Wifi at the hotel was free for all guests, though unfortunately was S-L-O-W. Like, unacceptably slow. I find that incredibly frustrating, though my hope is that they’ll upgrade the internet now that they’re a part of Hyatt (I assume there have to be some standards, no?).

Breakfast was served daily in the restaurant, which was probably one of my favorite aspects of the hotel. You could either eat inside or outside on the terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and Promenade des Anglais. The weather was perfect the entire time we were in Nice, so it was amazing to sit outside every morning, enjoy the fresh air, and have breakfast.

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Terrace

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Terrace

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View from terrace

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Restaurant

The service in the restaurant was spectacular, perhaps comically so. The first morning we were given a “tour” of the buffet. As we walked towards the buffet I asked the server “so it’s just a buffet and not a la carte, yes?” He responded with “no, no, no, no, no, it is not a buffet… it is the buffet. Come, let me show you how fresh everything is.”

While it’s a nice buffet this isn’t the Le Meridien Bangkok or St. Regis Abu Dhabi in terms of the spread, so I really don’t think a Disney-style tour was necessary. But it was hilarious, because the server placed so much emphasis on everything. The buffet didn’t have bread… it had “the most amazing fresh bread you will ever have.” He mentioned no fewer than a handful of times that “the buffet has a lot, but if you want anything else — anything at all — let me know.” I was almost tempted to test the limits on that one…

Anyway, the buffet was quite good. Nothing over the top in terms of quantity, though the quality was excellent.

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

In addition to the buffet they had made to order crepes, pancakes waffles, etc. Mmmm…

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Crepes

In terms of the hotel’s other amenities, there was a combined indoor/outdoor pool, which was quite nice.

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Pool

The hotel also had a small gym with modern equipment. It was filled mostly by Russian men having conversations on their cell phones and checking themselves out in the mirror.

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Gym

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Gym

Then the hotel has a beach right across the street.

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Promenade des Anglais (right outside the hotel)

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Promenade des Anglais (right outside the hotel)

I don’t think it’s actually the hotel’s beach, but they have an arrangement with the company that runs it, and for 25EUR you can get a sunbed and umbrella set up for the day in the Hyatt “section.”

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Beach

After our two night stay in Nice we took the train to Cannes for two days, but before flying to Zurich we decided to spend one more night at the Hyatt Regency Nice on points, given that we loved Nice so much. This time around we got upgraded to a Regency Suite on the 4th floor, room 409. Basically the bedroom was more or less identical to the previous room we had.

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Entryway

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Bed

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TV and desk

The difference was that there was a separate living room. It actually appeared to just be a second connecting guest room converted into a suite.

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Living room

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Living room

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Living room

The bathroom in this room was identical to the bathroom in the first one. For our second stay we did select the Diamond amenity in place of the 1,000 points, and it consisted of a bottle of red wine and some crackers with spread.

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Diamond welcome amenity

In a separate installment I’ll be writing about my time in Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo, and Zurich, for anyone that’s interested in reading about that.

Anyway, I really loved this hotel. While it wasn’t “grand” or over the top (like the Grand Hyatt Cannes), I found the employees to be consistently friendly, and I really liked the facilities. More than anything else I loved the city of Nice, though, and found it much more interesting than Cannes. When I was originally planning this trip I was just going to go straight to Cannes and just fly into Nice, though I’m so happy I decided to spend a couple of days there.

Congrats, Hyatt, this is an awesome addition to your portfolio!

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About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Nice report this will definitely give a good idea for a future weekend trip with my girlfriend. Since I live in Europe I have more flexibility in find a good rate to visit this awesome property!

    About the wifi, well apart from my country(NL) the majority of the countries in Europe still lack good broadband connections. So it heavily depends on the region you’re at if your lucky the broadband infrastructure is up to (our) standings, but you’re more likely to have shitty infrastructure together with heavy load ( big hotels, etc in the area) effect the overall bandwith 🙁

    When it comes to taxi’s well in countries like Spain, France, England, the Netherlands, Switzerland and even Germany the costs of a taxi ride can be rather expensive. Also bear in mind that it is very common in Europe that governments allow taxis to charge per zone and or airport/bus terminals etc. this can really drive up the price of a short taxi ride unfortunately.

    Can’t wait to see more of this trip looks awesome. Especially Taipei!

  2. Your waiter is probably crying after seeing you simply labeled all your breakfast photos “buffet” and left off all his superlatives. 🙂

  3. Wow, beautiful. The rooms themselves look perfectly fine, but the sun, the beach, the breakfast… since I haven’t been to the other hotel breakfast buffets you listed, I definitely wouldn’t mind being give a tour of this one. maybe not over the top, but looks solidly delicious. Too bad you can’t fly directly to Nice from the US (or more specifically my home airport of ORD). We are planning a weekend away, and Nice looks beautiful, but I want to fly to somewhere in Europe we can get to nonstop to maximize our time.

  4. I wonder why it was branded as a Regency and not a Grand. It looks better than most Regency level hotels.

    You should have stood your ground with the taxi driver who ripped you off. The hotel could have called in a complaint and backed you up.

  5. @ Jamie — For what it’s worth there is nonstop service on Delta from JFK, though sadly they almost never release saver level award space.

  6. @ Carl — That’s actually what impressed me, they did call the taxi company. The following day when I went to the concierge desk they still had a note about the incident on the desk.

  7. @ Nic — It really depends on the destination. In the Maldives, 24 hours, in cities a lot less. 😉

    The thing is when I’m traveling I’m not “on vacation” in the same way that someone might be if they were taking their two weeks of vacation per year. So I still usually have to work 6-8 hours a day or so.

    I’d say on average at a city hotel I probably work till about noon, then go outside from noon till 5PM or so, then work for a bit more at 5PM, and go to dinner at around 8PM. And then work a bit more when I get back.

    So it really does vary, but I do spend a lot of time at hotels.

  8. So glad you liked Nice > Cannes. Nice is wonderful, and I hear Cannes is very shallow with not much to do

  9. Very Nice review! I love Nice; have you stayed at the Le Meriden, and if so, how do the rooms compare?

  10. @ beachfan — I only walked by the Le Meridien, and have to say it didn’t look very nice. The rooms looked small and the entire hotel looked like it could use a refresh.

  11. Having grown up in Nice, it’s great to see a report about the hotel and hear that you enjoyed your time there. It’s definitely a nice city, and honestly, a lot nicer during the off season when there’s less traffic and tourists.

    A tip for the future: the airport bus runs right along the Promenade des Anglais and drops off more or less anywhere along the route, before heading into the center of Nice. For the cost of a day pass (I believe it’s 6.50 euros), you’re able to get into Nice quickly and efficiently and then continue to use the public transit for the day. There are plans in the future to build out the tramway to the airport, but that’s probably many years away.

    The hotel actually took a look time to be constructed: prior to it opening, it was just the facade and a large empty area for many years as I believe the developer never had the money to finish the construction. It’s nice to see that the hotel that did finally open is of quality.

  12. How was the view from your Suite on the Regency floor? … compared to the partial ocean view room?
    Thanks

  13. @ christo — The views were actually more or less identical — they both faced the pool/”courtyard” and then in the distance you could see the Mediterranean.

  14. Nice looks awesome and this report has added to my desire to visit the South of France in the future…perhaps using my future BA Companion Pass? What other options other than the ridiculous US Asia via Europe option would you recommend for making the most of a trip that includes Europe and possibly Asia?

  15. @ Jeremy — Well generally speaking you’d be best off booking through a Star Alliance airline, since Air Canada Aeroplan, United, and US Airways all allow routings from the US to Asia via Europe, so that’s the way to go, in my opinion.

  16. Lucky you got robbed by the taxi driver. You should have asked for the meter price (usually between 22 and 27 euros, as shown on the Nice airport website). As a french person I find it very annoying because taxi drivers wouldn’t dare trying that with french people and only rely on foreigners to do their scams. ..

  17. I was there in 2010, and it was fresh enough. Got a suite, but I’m not a fan of Le Meridien styling, more form over function. A fairly spacious suite seemed cramped. due to the design. However, the balconies were super (soundproof windows kept down the noise).

    The one drawback I saw from the pictures in the Hyatt was how the columns impeded the view.

  18. Went to Nice and stayed at same hotel. Paid 55 euros for the taxi (by the meter!). Based on post 17 I got ripped off.

    What works well for me in Europe is a mifi device using local sim cards. Way better than paying for hotel wifi where the free is weak and for a strong signal you have to pay up! Bought the GSM mifi device in Singapore…

    Love to read the blog!

  19. Glad you enjoyed it, Lucky – I had a great stay there about 18 months ago before it was a Hyatt. At that time I got a better deal booking a guaranteed partial sea view (same as your room) direct with the hotel than booking via FHR and hoping for an upgrade. Buffet looks pretty reasonable, better than most ones I’ve had in the US recently at least, albeit not on a par with the top ones in Asia!

    I’d never bother with a taxi for a trip like that – it’s only €6 or so to get the bus from the airport and it stops right outside the hotel!

    Also worth a visit in the area is Eze – a small hilltop town on the way to Monaco.

  20. The beach in Nice is not OK, full of cobblestones. I prefer the beaches further west. Antibes, Cannes have much better beaches and St Tropez even better. (Nikki Beach !)

    I am surprised the hotel did not arrange to pick you up ( at your own expense) but usually they do. And indeed there is an airport bus service that goes next to this hotel. Very cheaply. Taxis in Europe are expensive.

  21. We have an apartment in Nice and taxis are expensive! They also adjust the rates to/from the airport depending on the time of day or night. You actually may not have gotten ripped off. It may have been the set price for that particular cab. We’ve paid 35-40 euros in the past, but try to avoid them if we can. But often our flights are earlier than the bus starts so we have to use them! Definitely bus is great and the airport is so close.

  22. Fabulous advice. We were registered for the JW Marriott in Cannes on points – 120,000 for three nights. At lunch, someone mentioned a wonderful stay at the Hotel Martinez – now a Hyatt – in Cannes. Checked Hyatt.com and was able to reserve at the Premier level for $188 per night! And that’s for a room going for 600 EURO per night. Got my points back from Marriott and very much looking forward to our stay. Many thanks for the tip. Funny – I knew about them but back when I used to try to get Diamond status, put them out of my mind since no stay credit for certificate stays. But thanks to your reminder, I got a great deal.

  23. The convenient bus from the airport to town only runs till around 6 or 7pm, and then the route changes to take 45 minutes or more. We learned the hard way when we stayed out by the airport for a few days.

  24. We stayed three nights, 27 – 29 April 2016. We were offered a room with a view of the Promenade des Anglais and pool area which was obstructed by the pillars on the front of the hotel, so we went across the hall and took a “city” facing room on the 5th floor. Lucky’s photos of the room looked like our King bed room. The hotel morning buffet was 1st class which they offered to deliver to our bedroom to allow us to eat on our terrace once we made our breakfast selections. Very nice. Service was very good throughout our stay. Our Mercedes taxi from the airport ran about 20 euros, as per the meter. Take a look at http://www.TripAdvisor.com to find things to do when in Nice, but by all means, take a walk to the Old Town (Vieille Ville): Cours Saleya, Flower Market.

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