Hotel Belles Rives

The former home of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, Hotel Belles Rives in Juan-les-Pins, Antibes, is the epitome of old-school glamour on the French Riviera.

A grand dining room in the Hotel Belles Rives.

One of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned and Tender is the Night have become modern classics, the works giving a unique insight into life of the ‘Lost Generation’ (artists and writers such as T.S. Eliot, John Steinbeck and Isadora Duncan who came of age during the First World War).

Extravagant creatives, they often headed to the south of France, and it’s there that the Fitzgeralds came across Villa Saint-Louis on the Cap d’Antibes. It became the go-to place for their friends and contemporaries, throwing wild parties where Champagne and decadence were in abundance. Well, inspiration for The Great Gatsby had to come from somewhere.

An outdoor dining area by the sea at the Hotel Belles Rives.

In 1929, the villa was taken over by Boma and Simone Estène and became Hotel Belles Rives. Today, their granddaughter Marianne Estène-Chauvin owns the hotel, and is still as luxurious as it was all those years ago. An Art Deco mansion, it sits just above the Mediterranean with views out to its private beach and across the coast.

A bedroom in the Hotel Belles Rives.

This is a hotel that’s elegant yet informal. The style of the building and claim to that 1920s fame is reflected in the décor, with Art Deco furniture, features and bold use of colour. References to Pablo Picasso (one of the Fitzgeralds’ guests) can be found in the contemporary artwork throughout the hotel, while the beach and beachfront restaurant – Plage Belle Rives – is pure European chic.

A reception area at the Hotel Belles Rives.

The hotel boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant – La Passagère – where innovative seafood is the mainstay of the menu. Its outdoor Bistrot Terrasse is a more informal option, offering a Mediterranean-inspired menu in one of the best settings on the coast.

For more information about Hotel Belle Rives, go to its website >>

The beach area and sunloungers at the Hotel Belles Rives.

A grand dining room in the Hotel Belles Rives.

An outdoor dining area by the sea at the Hotel Belles Rives.

Words by Angharad Jones. Images property of Hotel Belles Rives.

Angharad Jones

Angharad Jones

Writer and expert