Festival de Cannes
If there is one sector in the world that perfectly embodies the excitement and splendor of the art of cinema, it’s undoubtedly the luxury hotel industry. And if there is one city whose name is synonymous with cinema, it’s Cannes. This formerly modest village protected by the Esterel Massif, became a holiday resort for English aristocrats who built magnificent vacation homes here facing the Mediterranean Sea. Cannes’ international reputation increased considerably after World War Two largely thanks to its film festival. Legendary quarters of the city like the Croisette, California, Palm Beach and Super Cannes represent the height of luxury and prestige, and yet in spite of all the glitz, the old city has managed to retain its former charm.
From May 15th to the 26th, the 66th Cannes Film Festival will once again welcome actors, directors, press agents and producers on its 800 meter long Croisette, and to accommodate this international world of cinema, hotels are of course, the order of the day.
And to become part of the legend, why not begin one’s vacation with the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes? This U shape Art Nouveau style building with its two tone false brick facades and its domes overlooking the Croisette has a century of history behind it. Almost all of the 343 rooms have an uninterrupted view of the sea and magnificent living spaces. Ten suites were recently redecorated to strengthen its ties with the cinema. They now bear the names of film stars. In each of them, interior architect Nicolas Papamiltiades’ goal was to the recreate the pure 1950s style of the French Riviera, using precious wood for the parquet floors, classic furniture, marble for the bathrooms and light colored silk or satin curtains.
During the festival, moving and removal at the Hotel Martinez are indispensable since it’s in front of this seven story white ocean liner type structure is where the French TV channel, Canal + sets up shop for its top of the scale programming covering all the festivities. Built in the late 1920s, the Martinez is located on the site of the King of Naples villa, an important spot for high society activities in the early 20th century.
Its Art Deco style of that period is still intact with the addition of contemporary comforts. Renovated in 2003, the hotel’s façade now has an imposing canopy under which international film stars leave their chauffeured limousines and enter the marble hall. The hotel’s 409 rooms are decorated in classical Art Deco style with wood panelling, designer furniture, lithographs by great artists like Dufy and Picasso, paintings and sculptures.
The ochre and ivory tones accentuate the sober but luxurious decorations. The rooms, ranging from 30 to 100 square meters also have a living room space and a marble bathroom. Some have private terraces with a magnificent view of either the Mediterranean or the hills of the old city.
At the end of the festival, when eyes begin to tire after a huge number of screenings of interesting and sometimes off the wall films and an equal number of parties hosted by production companies, visitors can find refuge just a few lengths from the Festival Palace. The 3.14 Hotel, a few hundred meters from the Croisette, offers guests nothing less than a trip around the world. On each floor, Karine Ellena-Partouche and her sister have created a universe representing the five continents. They wanted to make their hotel a unique establishment where all cultures and all ethnic groups blend together and which is totally different from the surrounding palaces with their highly classic decorations. The tone is set at the entrance with a Murano glass garden gnome overlooking a 1950s fountain imported from Venice. On the first floor, we find 1960s America, pop art and kitch mixed with Latin culture and décor that includes vivid colored curtains, Pacific colored walls, and objects in wrought iron, creating a melting pot of styles that highlight the eclecticism of the New World. The second floor takes us to Africa and the gateway to the desert. Curtains decorated with pearls, cushions bordered with ornaments, Moorish windows and finely carved lamps give each room the atmosphere of A Thousand and One Nights. The journey continues on the floors above. Now that the festival is over, there’s time to explore the rest of the world in your hotel!
Some lucky festival goers will have another more unique opportunity of not staying in Cannes during the festival while still taking in all of its atmosphere. Only one address possesses this double criteria of absolute luxury: the Cape Eden Roc Hotel. Originally a residence for crowned heads and statesmen, this jewel in the Oetker collection very quickly became a refuge for international stars in search of peace and quiet. To enjoy the privilege of staying in this Napoleonic building however, it’s imperative to have the concierge’s phone number in your address book…