Overlooking the bay and beaches, with a pretty little port and the 17th century fort Saint Louis in the foreground, La Corniche must enjoy the loveliest location in Toulon.
This is, somewhat incredibly given Toulon's long coastline, the city's only hotel on the seafront, at least it was when we visited the city in 2014.
In the traditional Le Mourillon quarter on the edge of town, La Corniche is perfectly placed for the local beaches, street market, bars and restaurants.
Technically part of the Best Western hotel franchise, La Corniche is really closer in spirit to an independent boutique hotel. In the same family, the Sueres, since 1987 it is run by a dynamic young brother-and-sister team, Jérôme Suere and Laura Grandval, who have taken over the reins from their parents.
A substantial refurbishment and renovation project has pulled La Corniche smartly upmarket from a three- to a four-star rating, which it earned in 2014. The previous year the duo acquired a second hotel, the sailing-themed Les Voiles, a little further out of town.
La Corniche offers a high-end concierge service (private beach and boat hire, arrangement of golfing facilities and so on) and appears to be gearing itself as much at business clients as at tourists. It has the locals covered too, with weekend brunches for non-residents in the off-season.
The hotel has modest (and easy-to-miss) street frontage, pictured top left, but, after entering the front gate, you pass through a lovely patio full of flowering sub-tropical shrubs and palm trees, pictured below, to reach the main lobby and a small but attractive indoor bar area.
There are 30 bedrooms, including three large suites, of which half overlook the patio and the sea (those who go to bed early should note that there's sometimes live music in the garden on summer evenings). Rooms at the back have a less exciting "city view" on to a quiet cul de sac, medical clinic and apartment block. One suite is set up for disabled access.
The upper floor corridors are painted in dark and rather gloomy crimson and black (intentionally or not, this is the Toulon Rugby Club livery). But our bedroom itself was tastefully designed in warm, bright, earthy colours, with high quality bedding and furnishings (the two decorative cardboard storage boxes which served as bedside tables were presumably a temporary fixture during the ongoing refurbishment).
This room was not large, but the space was well used, with a sliding door to the bathroom and a super outdoor terrace looking over the Corniche, Port Saint Louis and patio. Pictured: the view from our terrace.
Coffee and tea making equipment was a welcome plus, as was free bottled water. There's a 24 hour bar and room service (cold meat and cheese plates). Free wi-fi comes as standard and a wellness centre is open in the high season.
The breakfast / function room also has a great sea view. Breakfast itself is, as so often in French hotels, not included in the room rate and a bit pricey.
But it was a high-quality and very varied buffet spread for a hotel of this size, with, among other things, yoghurt, pastries, fresh fruit, cheeses, home-made cakes, a little hot food for those who need a proper English / American breakfast, and good, unlimited coffee.
Like all the buildings along this part of the coast, La Corniche is separated from the sea and beaches by a busy main road.
If arriving by car, be prepared: there are two allocated short-stay parking spaces on the other side of the road, but nowhere to pull up immediately in front of the hotel.
It's probably more convenient to drop off your passengers and luggage by the back entrance in the rue Belvédère.
La Corniche offers several options for your car during your stay there: free parking on the street, the car-park opposite, or a paid-for lock-up garage (reserve ahead, as there is only a handful of these). We found easy and secure on-street parking in mid-October but it could be an issue in summer.
Visited October 2014
Where: Best Western Plus La Corniche, 17 littoral Frédéric Mistral, 83000 Toulon. Tel: (+33) 4 94 41 35 12 Book a room at La Corniche in Toulon