Q&A with… Francois Gelly, Hôtel Belles Rives

LATTE chats with iconic French luxury hotel's Director of Sales and Marketing

This week LATTE chats with Francois Gelly, Director of Sales at the historic Hôtel Belles Rives on the French Riviera. A partner property of global luxury travel networks, Virtuoso and Serandipians, and a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the independent, waterfront hotel is represented in Australia by La Collection’s Co-Founders Lea Seguier and Craig Farrell.

1. François, thank you for your time. Can you please set the scene? Whereabouts in France is Belles Rives, and what is the drawcard to the region? What makes the region so unique?

The Belles Rives is in the middle of the French Riviera – one of the most desired destinations for European summer holidays. Being in Antibes is a great access point to visit what French Riviera has best to offer, not only for the coast but including the countryside with some magnificent villages such as Eze or St Paul de Vence. Our region is very well connected.

Nice International Airport (20km from the Belles Rives) is the largest French Airport after Paris offering 110 direct destinations including long-haul to the Middle East (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Doha); great options for our Australian guests including a range of European destination for a multi-destination trip.

Francois Gelly, Director of Sales & Marketing, Hôtel Belles Rives

By train, there is the French Speed Train TGV. Antibes train station is 5 minute’s drive from the hotel. The journey to Paris is 5 hours and 2.5 hours to reach Provence

By car, the Italian border is 60km away. Milan is 3 hours 30 minutes, and Lake Como 4 hours drive.

Breakfast terrace, Hôtel Belles Rives

2. Speaking of unique, can you tell us a bit about Hôtel Belles Rives? The property’s location and historical significance.

The Belles Rives is a family story.  Opened in 1929, the Belles Rives belongs to the same family since the beginning. Back in the 1920’s, it was a villa – Villa St Louis – the residence of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. While the American author was living here, he wrote Tender is the Nights and The Great Gatsby.

In front of the Belles Rives you can see the Green Light where F. Scott took the inspiration for his masterpiece.

In 1929, the Villa St Louis was transformed to be a hotel – at this time, the Belles Rives was the one and only hotel offering a waterfront experience – direct access to the water.

In 1932, water skiing was created right in front of us. It is another legacy we are proud to carry on.

3. How many rooms and suites and what is the theme/period of the decor through the property?

Offering 43 rooms and suites, the Belles Rives shares an Art Deco reference. Many pieces of furniture are historic and were personally chosen by our owner.

4. What facilities, activities, restaurants and experiences are available for guests staying at Belles Rives?

Nowadays the Belles Rives is offering a large range of services: 43 rooms and suites, beach club, water sports club, Michelin Star Restaurant, a Piano Bar, a Valmont Beauty Room and soon an exclusive residential program.

5. Typically, how many nights do guests stay at Belles Rives – plus, how many would you recommend to first-time visitors to the region?

The average length of stay is 4 to 5 nights: a few days to explore the region and few days to enjoy our beach club.

6. Why should Australian travel advisors be recommending Belles Rives and this region of the world to their affluent clients?

The history and ambiance of the hotel will ensure an unforgettable experience, and the attentive service from our exceptional team will make your clients want to return again and again!

Hôtel Belles Rives' sandy beach

7. Can you tell me about Belles Rives’ partnership with La Collection? Why have you chosen to have ‘feet on the ground’ in the Australian market, and in particular, enlisted Lea and Craig as your representative?

A stay at the Hôtel Belles Rives is all about personal service for our mutual clients, so it’s important for the hotel to be represented in this way all over the world. With Lea and Craig we can be sure that our valued travel advisors are receiving the best information and a very fast turnaround of inquiries. This is difficult to maintain without a sales team in the local time zone. They have both spent time at the Hotel so have first-hand knowledge of its charm.

For Hôtel Belles Rives booking enquiries, contact Craig Farrell, Director of Sales at La Collection – craig@leaseguier.com

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