Hôtel Belles Rives, an Art Deco gem that stands above the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean in Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera, announces its new Water Ski Butler located on the bay of Antibes, where water skiing was conceptualized. Celebrating the culture of the Côte d’Azur’s famed sport at its own pontoon, where it was literally invented, the hotel’s Water Ski Butler specializes in prepping beginners to advanced skiers alike for an unforgettable experience from start to finish. Stretching, suiting up and getting the skier psychologically prepared to coast across the surface of the Med are some of the butler’s tasks.
Internationally known as the birthplace of the water skiing, Juan-les-Pins welcomed tourists since 1882. However, it was the summer of 1922 when Gerald and Sara Murphy, the billionaire couple from Boston who, after enjoying their first summer holidays and repeated their stay in Antibes, paved the way for American tourists. It was then that Juan-les-Pins, Antibes’ seaside resort destination made a significant contribution to the legend that is the Côte d’Azur: summer tourism.
Hôtel Belles Rives, the first hotel on the water along the Côte d’Azur was born and offered watersports. Then in 1932, Leo Roman and Emil Petersen further contributed to the development of the watersport by creating the first Water Ski Club and hosting demonstrations on the bay, sponsored by American millionaire Frank Jay Gould and his wife Florence who became the Club’s President. The first worldwide water ski championship occurred in 1949 in Juan-les-Pins, on the historic channel of the hotels Provençal and Belles Rives. The first champions were all French — Peter Goin, Pierre Jourdan-Gassin, and Madeleine Bouteiller.
“Water ski is part of the hotel’s DNA,” says François Gelly, director of sales and marketing at Belles Rives Group which includes Hôtel Juana and Hôtel Belles Rives. “More and more clients are coming to water ski, including clients who are not staying at the hotel. Last year, we celebrated 100 years of summer tourism with a “Breakfast and Water Ski” package which was popular, so it was a natural transition to offer the Water Ski Butler this summer.”
Mr. Gelly also reflects on a moment at the start of the summer season when one of their guests interacted with the Water Ski Butler, “One of our repeated guests wasn’t sure that he was ready to water ski in Antibes as he had only skied on a calm lake in his hometown, so our butler detailed the history of the sport and encouraged him to watch an octogenarian skier every morning. Watching this guest muster the courage to ski following his conversation with our butler epitomizes our commitment to enhance our concierge services and provide our guests, especially the less experienced skiers the comfort to overcome any challenges to truly experience the famed watersport in the Antibes.”
The balance of the Water Ski Butler with the essence of the hotel’s beach club also encourages more guests to embrace the beauty of south of France. The hotel’s private beach also features the Belles Rives Beach Restaurant, the Water Sports Club, and the jetty that’s home to the hotel’s private boat dock. The property, where F. Scott Fitzgerald penned Tender is the Night, is a testament to the breezy extravagance of a bygone era yet reveals a modern design, offering 43 recently renovated rooms and suites. A gastronomic Mediterranean experience awaits at La Passagère, the onsite, one-star Michelin restaurant led by culinary maestro, Aurélien Véquaud. Casual lunches and classic cocktails can be found at the newly renovated Bar Fitzgerald, named for the property’s original resident. Extend that sun kissed, blissed-out feeling with an innovative treatment by luxe Swiss skincare house, Valmont onsite at its namesake beauty corner. In June, the hotel honored Quentin Tarantino with the Prix Fitzgerald, a French literary award created in 2011 by Marianne Estène-Chauvin, President of the Francis Scott Fitzgerald Academy and owner of Belles Rives Group. The long-awaited first work of nonfiction from the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino accepted the prize for Cinema Speculation.