“Arty but affordable hotel in central Nice, with weird and wonderful rooms designed by contemporary artists, and a stunning tranquil garden, complete with pool”
There are 4 (rather interestingly named) categories of room Wi Intimacy rooms face the street and have a shower; Wi Creation are more spacious, face either the street or the garden, and have either a bathtub or a shower; Wi Seduction are larger still and face the garden; and Wi Priviledge have the additional bonus of a balcony or Jacuzzi tub. We think these latter 2 categories are well worth the extra, especially if you’re in the hotel for a couple of nights. Beds are either twins or queensize, mattresses supremely comfy, and the linen impeccable. Rooms all come with air con, a mini-fridge, complimentary toiletries and satellite TV.
The obvious highlight are the 30 artists' rooms which straddle these categories. The range of styles and their sheer exuberance is almost overwhelming - though bear in mind that they cannot guarantee a particular room, only the category.
One of our favourites, and where we stayed during our 2014 revisit, is François Morellet’s luminous white room (Wi Privilege), streaked with yellow rays of sun painted on the walls. It's based on a French pun where sunbeams turn into sleep beams (rayons de soleil/sommeil) at dusk. Another winner, and the favourite room of (now retired) owner Bernard Redolfi, is that of Gottfried Honegger (another Wi Privilege room), with its whitewash-and-stone walls, white-draped chairs, warm uplighters and tall French windows. Equally bright is Tunisian artist Samta Beyahia’s room (Wi Intimancy), with deep blue splashed throughout; we loved the stained glass window and bathroom tiles.
One of the wittiest rooms is the small cheery twin by Joel DuCorroy (Wi Intimacy), whose plaque-artist-meets-Warhol décor combines minimalist furnishings with amusingly worded steel street signs hanging everywhere, even over the toilet. An equally amusing - but not so restful - space is the tiny double room designed by Nice’s enfant-terrible, Ben (Wi Creation), whose brilliant-hued graffiti scrawls of witty aphorisms may keep students of French up all night, pondering what the artist had on his mind.
The other rooms are less flamboyant, but hardly dull by normal standards. Some come clad in frescoes by Antoine Beaudoin; others have huge posters plastered across the walls.
Breakfast (extra cost) is a generous buffet of pastries, eggs, sausage and bacon, assorted juices, fresh fruit, muesli, cereal, ham, cheese and yoghurts, served on the sunny dining patio, where you’ll want to linger over refills of café au lait and read the newspaper. We really enjoyed ours, but felt that a stroll into the Old Town or to the promenade for a coffee and croissant would have been on the cards if we’d stayed for longer. In the winter, breakfast is served in the wood-panelled bar.
Dinner is also served outdoors, weather permitting, or in the cosy bar. The limited menu is well worth the price, especially the 3-course option which features ultra-fresh regional specialities. We enjoyed an asparagus and artichoke salad, followed by ricotta and truffle ravioli and a thick fillet steak that was cooked to perfection! We finished with tiramisu and crème brûlée; the waiter sugared and blow-torched the brûlée at the table, a nice touch we thought (and luckily everyone’s eyebrows stayed intact!) Sitting in the garden under the canopy of tropical plants with the sound of the resident parrots chirping away was very relaxing. Note that the restaurant is closed on Sundays, but the bar is open for drinks.
When it comes to eating out, nearby Coco & Rico is a neighbourhood haunt for true French, dishes are simple but delicious. For simpler fare, Nice's Old Town is a labyrinth of small streets with a huge selection of cheap eats like fried courgette-flower fritters and socca (the local speciality, a paper-thin savoury chickpea pancake). There are numerous other restaurants and bars within easy walking distance from the hotel.
All ages are welcome and kids will love the lush garden. Do note that there is original artwork throughout, but this shouldn't be a problem for well-behaved little ones.
Extra beds are only available in Wi Seduction and Wi Privilege rooms, but all categories (except Wi Intimacy) can fit a baby cot. Some rooms can interconnect (request on enquiry).
Babysitting is available on request.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Breakfast is free for kids up to the age of 4, and there is a special kids menu available in the evenings.