When considering lodging along the French Riviera one might think of high priced fancy hotels that only the rich and famous can afford. What if there were lodging facilities with more space than the average European hotel room: offering a nice bed, complimentary WiFi, free parking, and free breakfast in a more intimate yet traditional setting? Does having an authentic French experience by staying in a Niçoise home and catching a glimpse of the life of the locals peak your interests?
If this sounds like the experience of your dreams, then strongly consider staying at a bed and breakfast in Nice. Unlike the hotels that line Promenade des Anglais, the major street along the coast of Nice, these properties are found in residential areas. Most of the bed and breakfasts in this region are not located in the city but in the countryside, and many are older homes.
Just 2.5 kilometers outside Nice’s city center exists a secluded and charming estate surrounded by an abundance of aromatic flowers. Le Castel Enchanté, run by Alberto and his family, is an authentic French B&B. It sits high atop a hill at the end of a lengthy, narrow winding private road. The road is just narrow enough to fit one car, a true French experience.
Entering the doorway of Le Castel Enchanté, has the feeling of being welcomed into a private home where your visit is excitedly anticipated. Alberto exclaims, “Bonjour madam,” with a big smile. There is no formal check-in, just a quaint verification of identity and on to tour the estate. The building of Le Castel Enchanté has an old-time feel with modern day amenities as it was built in the 1850’s but restored over time. The establishment was originally built as a hotel and named “Castel Enchanté” meaning enchanted castle. In the 1960’s the hotel, which had its own restaurant, was downsized and later transformed into a smaller bed and breakfast by 1980. The historical facility has been under the current owner Alberto’s care for just over a year and is thriving. Its rustic feel and homely appeal delight visitors from all over the world.
Alberto carries the bags and escorts guests to their assigned accommodation, then gives a quick walk through of the chamber. Each of the five rooms at Le Castel Enchanté has its own personality and name. The room, Nemuphar is a soft salmon color with large windows facilitating great views and natural light. The wood furniture is of a rich hue and appears to be antique. Floor to ceiling french doors open into a second smaller room that has a single bed, full length mirror and ample space. The suite is charming and easily accommodates a family of three.
The suite has all the basic amenities a person would require. The floor of the bathroom is tiled in an ultramarine blue color. The oversized bath towels are plush with high thread count and work well with the overall scheme. Shelving in the bathroom creates ample space to place toiletries, and the temperature of the shower water does not disappoint. Sufficient seating, wardrobe, coffee maker, iron, a mini fridge, and free WiFi bring together the essential necessities ensuring relaxation and comfort. Before leaving, Alberto explains all about breakfast.
The remainder of the establishment is comprised of Alberto’s personal living space and common guest areas. Breakfast is served in a semi-formal dining room in front of a fireplace reminiscent of home and a coziness that ignites emotions of being a member of the family. During the colder months breakfast is served indoors but guests can enjoy cool Mediterranean breezes and views of Nice from the gardens while dining alfresco in the summertime.
Additional outdoor spaces on the property include patios and a swimming pool. Loungers, benches, and chairs are abundant and allow the stunning nature and city views to be relished while relaxing. Many of the herbs and fruits that grow on the grounds make their way to the morning marmalades and juices. Fragrant flowers, towering trees, and creeping vines fashion an illusion that the bed and breakfast is no longer in a residential community but completely cut off and secluded, creating a sanctuary for your retreat.
Le Castel Enchanté is a bed and breakfast for seekers of an authentic French experience in Nice, France. Alberto’s attention to customer service and comfort during a stay at the Castel will be a delightful diversion from the sea of hotels in the touristy city center of Nice.
When visiting Le Castel Enchanté a car is strongly recommended. February to March is a very quiet period. In April there is a Lemon festival. May rings in the Grand Prix race and international tennis matches in Monaco with many people staying in Nice.
~ By Kaylah Burks, an athlete, who enjoys traveling the world while staying health conscious. Follow her on Instagram @jadenlie