This trip has had its share of contrasts. We’ve gone from beachside bungalow to high-rise hotel room. From urban tourist destination to remote family farm. Spacious suburban home to teeny tiny campervan. But perhaps the most striking of these was the one-two punch of Schweiben, Switzerland and Nice, France. Because beyond beautiful views (and let’s be clear, the views in both spots are spectacular), the destinations themselves—and our experiences there—couldn’t have been more different.
In Schweiben, there are a few intrepid folks living in a handful of cabins sprinkled across a remote stretch of mountain. In Nice, there are swarms of people on streets packed with hotels, restaurants, clothing stores, tourist shops, bars and casinos. In Schweiben, the dress code is hiking boots and fleece jackets. In Nice, it’s bathing suits by day and high-end clubwear by night. Nice is clogged with cars and crawling with high rollers. Schweiben is home to two donkeys and a pony. You get the idea.
But perhaps the biggest contrast was in our accommodations. Our friends’ place in Schweiben is lovely and welcoming and cozy, but definitely… rustic. It’s the kind of place where you can hear the animals in the walls and where, in the winter, the pipes freeze and you have to flush the toilet with a bucket. But of course, you’re there to be outside, so the indoor space is almost beside the point. (Also, home renovations are a huge pain even in the best of circumstances; imagine if all your building materials had to come in via cable car or helicopter.) Anyway, if our Schweiben digs were rustic, our Nice lodgings were… let me think of a properly French phrase to describe them: HELLA FANCY.
Nice was sort of a random stop on the way to our next destination in France and, as such, we had no expectations or must-do plans. So we decided to make our stay the thing, pooled a whole bunch of hotel points and booked the most ridiculous suite we could get. And friends, our sea-view suite at the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée was indeed ridiculous. We’re talking 1200-square-feet-and-a-big-ol’-terrace-with-a-view ridiculous.
We had a looooooong day of driving all the way from Switzerland (through Italy! Where we sadly didn’t stay long but did have some pasta for lunch at a charming but way-more-off-the-beaten-path-than-expected osteria), after which we had to battle some pretty stressful city traffic in Nice.
But then. Then! We checked in and things got pretty stinking luxurious. Our hotel suite was comically gigantic. We all kept losing each other in it. There were two bathrooms (one with a robotic toilet) and two bookshelves and a dining room and a crazy-gorgeous view. I unpacked our stuff into a closet larger than my bedroom at home while Dan and Fi checked out the pool. And then we proceeded to enjoy 42 hours of… not much at all.
We ate dinner by the pool and watched the sun set on the beach. The next day we got coffee and pastries in town in the morning and had dinner at a little bistro around the corner in the evening. In between those two outings, we couldn’t be bothered to leave the hotel, so we just hung out in and around the pool and ate room service lunch on our terrace. Then, on our last morning, we stayed as late as we could, ordering yet more room service for breakfast (a lifetime record) and lounging around in our hotel bathrobes until checkout. It was all incredibly silly and indulgent and very, very awesome.
So, we didn’t go to any of Nice’s many museums or churches or do any real touristing at all. And there certainly weren’t any altitude-busting, leg-day-worthy hikes. Instead, we lapped up every last bit of our stay in the lap of luxury—enjoying the heck out of perhaps the most opulent hotel room we’ll ever be in, recharging our social batteries between visits with friends and ooh-la-la-loving every minute.