Hôtel du Couvent

1 Rue Honoré Ugo
06300 Nice

+33 4 12 05 55 61



Profile of the Hôtel du Couvent in the Financial Times

chapter 1


Nestled in the heart of Nice, the convent was built by the Order of Saint Clare in 1604, then occupied by the Visitandines from 1803 to the early 1980s. The Visitation Convent was a place of tranquillity and reflection but it was also where individuals and families, from all backgrounds and destinations, crossed paths, came for herbalist treatments or bought fresh bread. While the nun’s habit has now become the hotelier’s uniform, the building maintains its core vocation: to offer a calm and tranquil haven, but also a place to stay and exchange, where people are welcomed with kindness and a smile.

The nuns constructed the building themselves in the 17th century using local expertise and resources, notably lime whitewash, stone, tiles and wood from a neighbouring chateau.

Four centuries later, in a project that has taken 10 years, the three buildings of this sanctuary have been lovingly restored, stone by stone, piece by piece, under the keen eye of Perseus founder Valéry Grégo. In collaboration with Studio Mumbai and Studio Méditerranée for the architecture, and Festen Architecture for the interior design, the teams have restored the windows, floors and wooden features to their former glory. In addition, wood, hemp and lime were used to create a fourth building, just like we imagined the nuns would have built it: with architecture that stands the test of time.

chapter 2


In the old Nice, nestled in the north Italian part of Provence, lies a convent with a luxurious garden. A picture of light and simplicity.

Once past the porch, visitors follow the Provençal stone path until they find themselves in the heart of this secular place steeped in history. The limewash floors on which many have walked before them and the dry-stone walls are silent witnesses of the past, holding its memory. Then comes a profusion of colour: wisteria and linden, orange trees in the courtyard, accompanied by the smell of coffee and the comforting warmth of madeleine just out of the oven. An experience that stirs the senses from the smell of the cloister to the sound of water trickling down the hill of the chateau.

At the Hôtel du Couvent, time is passed by reading in the shade of a fig tree, indulging in a few lengths of the pool or chatting with the next table at the Guinguette café. You can take time to meditate at the Movement Studio, seek advice at the herbalist in the cloister or enjoy a thermal treatment at the Roman baths, before stepping out into the hustle and bustl of the centre of Nice, where you could take a dip in the Mediterranean, dine in town, or go to the opera.

chapter 3


The convent offers a wide range of accommodation: from monastic-type cells, to rooms with a balcony with a garden, city or the Mediterranean view, or with a private garden, apartments up to 166m² with a large kitchen, La Cornue range cooker and dining room.

There are 88 rooms in total, with an average size of 45m², designed to adapt to the needs of everyone. 

chapter 4


At the Hôtel du Couvent, cooking is a unique, secular ritual, passed down through history. This tradition is perpetuated with the cloister restaurant, the Guinguette café and the bistro on the Rue des Serruriers. Perfect products, perfectly cooked, natural wines, understated service, far from the ceremony often associated with gourmet cuisine. Choose from delicacies such as raw amberjack, Barbajuans de la Roya (regional speciality), pistou gnocchi and lemon tart.

Fruit, vegetables and eggs from the hotel farm in Touët-sur-Var, bread freshly made at the hotel bakery, understated but beautifully executed dishes, herbs from the garden, the convent’s homemade preserves.

Each product is carefully sourced to ensure the hotel has a positive impact on its environment and the local community.

chapter 5


The 2.5 acres of this garden are almost completely hidden from the outside. It hosts olive trees, 36 persimmons, apricot trees, lemon trees, thyme, savour and more. More than 300 species naturally scent the air. Take a moment to meditate while a little further away, someone dives into the pool. In the distance the rooftops of Nice and the Mediterranean stretch out towards the horizon. The calm of this luxuriant garden is punctuated by the sound of water trickling down the hill to the Roman baths. Just like in the past the garden remains a vital place for the hotel. A place for listening, meditating, relaxing, a sanctuary for tending to medicinal plants, herbs, and even a place of ceremony. A place to dream and play, a place of sustenance, with orchards and vegetable gardens to meet the needs of everyone.

On Saturday mornings, the Hôtel du Couvent adopts a village square atmosphere as it opens its courtyard to the local market, where the public can buy local products from producers and farmers from the Nice region.

chapter 6


As a tribute to the remains of the Roman bath on the hill in Cimiez, Nice, the Hôtel du Couvent has a thermal bath circuit. True to ancient Roman bathing tradition, guests can enjoy three successive baths; the tepidarium (temperate), the caldarium (hot) and the frigidarium (cold) before relaxing in the unctuarium, or anointment room, which offers a range of natural treatments and manual techniques as part of a personalised treatment programme in partnership with selected brands and specialists.

In addition to the open-air swimming pool in the baths, the hotel has a 20-metre pool in the garden, another smaller plunge pool adjacent to the Guinguette café and the Movement Studio, a place dedicated to dance, functional workouts, gym, yoga and other ground-based exercise.

chapter 7


Northern Italy in Provence: wherever we look, wherever we go, we get a sense that this is not just Provence. Northern Italy can be felt in the blues and pinks of the buildings surrounding us, on the limewash of the walls, like bright flashes of history.

Neither entirely French nor entirely Italian, Nice has a very unique history. Placed under the protection of the Duchy of Savoy for centuries, the county of Nice was only ceded to France in 1860. It was then occupied by the Italian army during World War II. Its architecture, cuisine and culture are testimony to its eventful past. It was named Nikaia after Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.

chapter 8


‘Places with a strong neighbourhood feel, hotels where you may just stop for coffee or holiday for weeks at a time, choose to be on your own or experience a vibrant community. Places with history and stories to tell, which take care of me and others. Those are the kinds of hotel I love.’ – Valéry Grégo

Our ambition is to help redefine the concept of travel, to create the luxury hotel of the future and bring a modern mindset to the very essence of hospitality. To create a better, enhanced, and more mindful experience which is more in tune with today’s expectations. An art of travelling.

‘Today people travel everywhere, work anywhere. They form communities wherever they are, looking for ways to live, work and travel. They also want to share and engage more. They want more inspiration and wonder, but at the same time are mindful of their impact on the world and aim to re-evaluate the purpose and environmental footprint of their travel. I think that hotels need to help us travel better and create wonder.’ – Valéry Grégo

chapter 9


Valéry Grégo has lived in London for the last twenty years and came into the hospitality business like one would stumble into an old bookshop; by chance. Born in the Parisian suburbs to two aerospace researchers, he initially studied literature and humanities in Paris, then went on to study finance. After a  stint as an entrepreneur in finance, his literary background and sense of adventure led him to create Perseus in 2010, with the aim of shaking up the concept of travel. Le Pigalle, which opened in 2015, enabled him to express this modern, deep-rooted and mindful hospitality which adapts to a fast-moving world.

Valéry Grégo went on to revive several mountain resorts and coastal establishments, including Les Roches Rouges in Saint-Raphaël and Les 3 Vallées in Courchevel 1850, under the brand Hôtels d’en Haut, which he sold in 2019 to focus his attention on the Hôtel du Couvent, the last in this generation of places which aim to help set the standards for the luxury hotels of the future.