During my 3-day vacation in Nice, France last April 2012, I stayed at the Clarion Grand Hotel Aston. Check out my adventure in Nice here. It was my first time to stay in this hotel and I must say: This is probably in my top 3 favorite hotels out of probably around 10 hotels I’ve stayed in Europe for the past 2 years! My purpose of travelling to Nice was to have a relaxing, stress-free, 3 days. Therefore, it was really important for me to have good hotel.
The Clarion Grand Hotel Aston is located at 12 Avenue Felix Faure. From the airport, I took the bus N°98 (I paid something like 4 or 5 Euros but the card gives you a one-day pass to all Ligne d’azur transportations) and got off at the Albert 1er stop. I walked further up the street where I got off then turned right at the corner. I continued walking towards Place Massena, passing by a statue w/ fountain. Avenue Felix Faure is the street parallel to Blvd Jean Jaures – I crossed the tram line and the beautiful park. Total walking time from the Albert 1er bus stop is probably 5 – 8 minutes. Going to the airport from the hotel, I just walked half a block to get the bus N°98.
Aside from its accessibility, the Hotel has the perfect location as well. It is just a block and a half away from Place Massena, 1-minute walk to the bus station where you get the Cannes and Monaco busses, and 2-minute walk to the nearest tram station (Opera Vieille Ville) and the Old Town.
Rooms and Facilities (3.5/5)
I had a superior room with a double bed. One thing about hotels in Europe is that they are normally small. This is why I loved my room because it was generally big compared to what is considered a normal hotel room in Europe. The pillows are okay while the bed and the sheets are comfortable for me. The only thing though was the air conditioning didn’t work (I guess since it was still pretty cold that the heater was still turned on) so I had to open my windows which I didn’t mind at all. The only downside of opening the windows was I could hear the sounds from the outside. The bathroom was pretty spacious as well – again, in European standards.
Another favorite of mine about this hotel is their restaurant, L’Horloge! I had dinner in in L’Horloge and everything was fantastic! It is also noteworthy that I had the best macaroon, so far, here. Also, the Hotel has a nice bar, Le Seven Blue Bar, which is perfect if you feel like grabbing a drink but not really interested in stepping outside.
Other facilities include wifi, pool (although I didn’t exactly see it), a really nice business area, elevators (although they were quite slow), etc.
TIPS: 1) When booking a room, request for a room overlooking the Old Town. From my room, I could see the tower clock and the Castle Hill. The park looks pretty at night as well 2) Dining at L’Horloge is a must!
Staff and Services (4.5/5)
The staff are friendly and very helpful. This hotel is one of my top two best staff services I’ve had, so far, in Europe.
As someone who works in a safety and security unit and gives security travel advice to my organization’s female staff members from time to time, I can’t help but also include a safety and security review. I travel alone mostly so I am pretty much conscious about safety and security, regardless if I’m in a safest place in Europe.
I could have given a 5/5 if it weren’t for 2 things:
1) The Le Seven Blue Bar is at the 6th Floor or some upper floor – this concerned me a bit as this gives non-hotel guests access to the floors.
2) One of the things that I would always tell a female staff member seeking a travel advice is when checking in, if the receptionist tells you your room number out loud, ask them to change your room and tell them not to announce the room out loud. Yes, this is hotel security 101. However, this is something that all the hotels I’ve stayed at in Europe do – there’s only 1 hotel in Europe that I’ve stayed in whose receptionist didn’t announce my room when I was checking in. Maybe because they’re in a part of “Europe” where there is relatively low crime rate. But then again, as a female solo traveler, I am conscious about these things. However, I let it go since it was only me and a family at the reception lobby when I was checking in.
I got my room for two nights at EUR 319 which was more than 50% off its original price! It was indeed a happy birthday to me!
TIP: Try booking a reservation at the Hotel’s website at least 3 weeks in advance. You might score a big discount.
Total : 4.4/5 – The Clarion Grand Aston Hotel will definitely be my official hotel in Nice, France from now on. I’ve been recommending it to my friends and colleagues.