NICE NEGRESCO - HOTEL FOR DOGS
Posted on Thursday, 23 July 2009
|The pretty, green tipped pink dome of the Negresco Hotel has long since been one of the defining landmarks of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice and indeed of Nice itself. A former palace, it has always had a steady stream of some of the world's most illustrious visitors; Gustav Eiffel, Nikita Khrushev, Shah of Iran, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Michael Jackson and Gina Lollobrigida.|
Visitors from all walks of life, from Kings and Queens to Politicians, from rock stars and artists to Hollywood stars and designers but could all this be about to change in the latest twist of fate that will befall this grand old lady of Nice? It was revealed this week that, this last privately owned great hotel, will be bequeathed to an animal shelter charity on the death of the owner.
Will the beautiful Belle Epoch halls of the charming Negresco echo with the din of a thousand barking dogs, the dining hall serve nothing but doggie chow and cat nibbles and the elegant Louis XVI furnishings be chewed to rags by excitable four legged guests? For fans of the Hollywood movie 'Hotel for Dogs', one can think of a worse fate for this luxurious residence and it would certainly continue to draw as many curious visitors and animal lovers to it's decorative porticoes but it is not quite how the story unfolds.
The current owner of the Negresco is one Jeanne Augier, widow of the late Paul Augier a prominent lawyer and Minister in the PACA region. The Negresco was built in 1912 by Henri Negresco but was bought by Madame Augier's father in 1957 in a somewhat diminished state than it had originally been conceived.
An avid supporter of the arts and with impeccable sense of style and taste, Madame Augier set out to not only restore the hotel to former glory but to develop the site as a living museum to art and 'joie de vivre', joy of life. The hotel boast an incredible collection of important works that spans five centuries including a chandelier by famed architect Gustav Eiffel, Royal portraits of Louis XIV and contemporary works by Moretti and Dali to mention just a few.
The Augiers remained a childless couple and the grand old lady of the Negresco has devoted her life to her family as she calls the long term hotel staff and her home which is the Negresco itself. At 86 years old Madame decided that she must protect her lifelong legacy after she has gone and look after 'her family's' fortune too.
The last privately owned hotel in France Mme. Augier has resisted many attempts and offers from a long line of prospective owners desperate to get their corporate mitts on this Promenade jewel. She has no intention of letting her life's work to be "sacrificed on the altar of profit, it is my house and the staff are my children."
So a foundation has been established that will see the Negresco and her remaining property portfolio bequeathed to the benefit of homeless and unwanted animals and people. Not only will it serve a greater good but the authenticity and soul of the hotel will remain intact and, more importantly for Madame Augier, French.
So, although four legged friends are already welcomed in this five star hotel, it will not quite become solely a 'Hotel for Dogs', but the most vulnerable and needy of our adored pet pooches will benefit greatly from the continued patronage of the world most illustrious guests.
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