This luxury hotel opened its doors in November 1904 under the name of the « Panorama Palace ». At that time, it had 150 rooms with bathrooms (a great luxury in those days), a tennis court and a boat-house where six open crafts were kept for sea-trips. Some have it that it was here that Paris Singer « Lord of the Manor » of Saint Jean, fell under the spell of the famous American dancer Isadora Duncan. In 1908, the Russian composer, Prokofiev, was to be seen here.
In 1914, while the other palaces in the area were fitted out as hospitals for victims of the War, the « Panorama Palace » was requisitioned to serve as a school for war orphans and allied Serb refugees, fleeing from the combined troops of Austria and Germany. In 1921 the hotel was renamed « Hotel Bedford » by its new owners.
Originally intended to provide a résidence hôtelière, a time-share for the British aristocracy, the hotel was purchased in the 1980s by Monsieur De Bruyn, a Belgian, who closed the hotel in 1988 for an extensive overhaul. In 1998, the property changed hands and Grace Leo was appointed as management consultant in January 1999. Her objective was to create a new identity and style in keeping with the Royal-Riviera’s Grande Dame status, as well as providing the latest modern conveniences and comforts for its clientele.
Closely supervised by Grace Leo, the renovation of the Hotel Royal-Riviera’s 78 rooms and suites was undertaken by a design team which included Nye Basham, an up-and-coming designer whom Mrs Leo discovered whilst he was working as Artistic Director to Ralph Lauren. The design team was briefed to completely renovate the public areas of the hotel, to include the main entrance, lobby and reception area, as well as The Cap Bar. This project, completed over a period of four months, included selecting the furniture, furnishings and accessories, as well as devising the design plan itself.
Choosing to break away from the old Belle Epoque style for which the hotel had become synonymous, if not typecast in recent years, Grace Leo and her team of designers introduced a neo-Hellenistic style and theme to the ground floor areas. With a palette of olive-green, amber and Sienna brown, the design team sought to emphasize the Hotel Royal-Riviera’s Mediterranean character, the desired effect being that guests should feel that they are staying in a luxury villa. The overriding sensation is one of stepping into the boudoir of a private collector, colonial grandeur contrasting with informal elegance.
The Royal-Riviera Hotel commands centre-stage in this exclusive resort. A modern classic, this luxurious hotel provides all the intimacy of a private Mediterranean villa with the luxury and glamour of a palace.