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An Interview with Lionel Servant, GM The Radisson Blu, Nice

Nice, the city whose beauty the Brits have discovered under Queen Victoria over 150 years ago, is still one of the countries favourites during the hot summer months. The eccentric colour of the sea, the warm summer breeze, the scrumptious food, the charming people, everything hints what heaven could be like. The local Radisson Blu Hotel captured this essence with its latest refurbishments and is now more than ever the place to be all year round. We got the chance to speak to General Manager, Lionel Servant, who told us very passionately why the Radisson Blu Nice is so unique and in what ways it perfectly embodies the French Riviera. He told us about the hotel’s on-going efforts in operating sustainable, and how towel recycling helps providing drinking water in struggling countries. An interview that reveals not only the beauty of a stunning Côte d’Azur Hotel but also the mastermind behind the fresh and successful ideas. 

Tell us a little bit about the new interior - who was the mind behind all these fantastic ideas ?
There are two experts behind our renovations, we worked with Jaime Beriestain, who redesigned the lobby, based on three main elements that represent the mediterranean sea. We wanted to capture the senses and colours of the French Riviera, which we achieved with the help of Jaime. He was born in Spain and is usually based in Barcelona, where he always gets inspired by the various designs around the city. Jaime focussed on our whole ground floor including the restaurant 223 and the bar, as well as the meeting rooms. 
Concerning the rooftop terrace and its restaurant we worked with a french architect called, Fabrice Knoll, who also tried to find the best decoration appropriate for the Côte d’Azur. For example we used colours that represent the sea, woods that link to our local olive trees and ropes that remind of the fabulous boats floating around the coast. Our goal was to remind our guests where they are, to give an unique and typically french experience. 
Alongside the ground floor and the roof terrace we tried to use the same concept in our rooms and made them look like an elegant yet modern mediterranean summer residence. This time our inspirations came from the countryside of Côte de Provence, resulting in the colour scheme relating to all the fantastic traits the South of France offers. 

You have your own beach club and a fantastic restaurant on the roof terrace, tell us a little bit about both chefs and their differences?
Our rooftop terrace chef, Maxime Bernard, is originally from Nice, he worked in various properties as well as owns his own restaurant in the old town of our city. Adapting the same approach of our design, we offer dishes unique to Nice using only local products and ingredients. To achieve this we really wanted a chef who has the experience and knows the local food, who can create a menu for our international guests but also for locals that would like to enjoy our astonishing view from the roof terrace. Our food can be describes as Italian-Nicoise-Mediterranean, refreshing and organic ideal for hot summer evenings.  The private Beach Club has a slightly different approach concerning our food offering. It is mainly dedicated for our guests but can also be enjoyed by Nice’s locals. We try to answer that with an offer designed for families as well as for guests on business trips. This means, that you can find international dishes such as freshly made Cesear Salads, and Club Sandwiches as well as a variety of Pizzas, a food that children adore. 

In the rooms I came across your fantastic way of reusing towels in order to provide drinking water for children, tell us a little bit about this project - which organisation you partner up with, which region in the world you help particularly?
We are working together with an organisation called “Just a Drop”, who operate internationally and tries to provide drinking water in countries that struggle with this issue. All our savings by recycling towels in the hotel, we give to Just a Drop, who then can provide drinking water in struggling countries all across the globe. This partnership is not just with Radisson Blu Nice but with all the Hotels in the Radisson Blu group.  

Many Hotels now want to decrease their carbon footprint and be as friendly to the environment as possible - in what way have the renovations made Radisson Blu Nice friendlier to the environment?
First of all our whole renovation was dedicated to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint, however I allow myself to say that being eco-friendly is in our DNA, as we started staff trainings to operate more consciously of or environment back in 2005. We are actively trying to reduce our energy costs by using energy saving light bulbs. Throughout our renovation process we tried to keep features that are still great and don’t need replacing, for example our windows all remained the same. Our efforts certainly do not stop there, being sustainable and reducing our carbon footprint is something we constantly work on. 

Where would you like to see the hotel in 5 years time? 
I would like the Radisson Blu  to be under the top three destinations in Nice. Our guest should be satisfied with our staff, this should be the key reason why they choose Radisson Blu Nice. Our staff receives training in this matter, which is crucial to develop customer loyalty and satisfaction. I would also like to see our profitability increased, due to en excellent customer service. 

Lastly, how would you describe the hotel in three words?
Urban resort , totally renovated, Guest oriented
Words by Constanze-Sophie Pilger

VIEW our Stay at the Radisson Blu, Nice

Radisson Blu Nice  +33 4 9717 7177 offers accommodation on a B&B basis from €284/£248 per room per night.