Welcome back

One of our favourite watering (and brunching) holes in Cannes recently re-opened and we couldn’t be more delighted with the result.

The Carlton Cannes has reopened with fresh play things.

The Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes is one of France’s most famous hotels. Built at the turn of 20th century, it has a reputation as legendary as its guests. It’s been the backdrop for films as well as global political events and is still the place to see and be seen in Cannes. If you can get a room here during the Cannes Film Festival, or a window table in the restaurant, you really know you’ve made it.

How it all began

At the turn of 20th century, summer holidays were changing in Europe. Before then, trips to the French Riviera had involved keeping out of the sun and staying up in the hills above Nice and Cannes. Large hotels had been built in 19th century to house the thousands of people who started to holiday on the French Riviera, including Queen Victoria, who stayed in Nice. In 1911, a railway had been built, meaning that people could flock into town at the same time as the flowers in Cannes’ Marché Forville could be sent out. As suntans became fashionable, holidayers started to move from the hills to the coast, and they needed new hotels to accommodate them.

Le Carlton - Cannes - Photo et Tableau - Editions Limitées - Achat / Vente

The hotel is situated on the famous Cannes Croisette, with its own private beach. Businessman Henry Ruhl (who was Swiss at birth but obtained British nationality) built the hotel with his friend, architect Charles Dalmas. The giant domes were designed to celebrate the breasts of Caroline Otero, a famed courtesan pre-World War I. The Carlton also has strong links to the Russian aristocracy – it was part-funded by the Russian imperial family and Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich visited frequently, often taking tea at five o’clock in the hotel bar.

When the hotel opened in 1913, it became an instant classic, luring chic travellers to the decadent palace at the heart of the Cannes Croisette. The grande dame hotel and its private beach club have been the site of debaucherous parties and wild scandals for over 100 years—but the party’s just getting started.

It’s no surprise that the hotel, as the go-to spot for the jet set during the Cannes Film Festival, has been seen on the silver screen throughout the years, including starring roles in French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline and To Catch a Thief with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. (Grace Kelly met her future husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, at the Carlton Cannes during the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.) The accommodations were also the target of some real-life jewelry heists, including a $137 million robbery in broad daylight in 2013.

But perhaps the most notorious event to ever take place at the Carlton Cannes is the filming for Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” music video, along with the subsequent party that resulted in a trashed hotel room. The hotel even has a cameo in the 2019 Rocketman biopic.

Réouverture du Carlton de Cannes : décoration intérieure, du changement dans la continuité.

Nearly 600 artisans have worked since 2016 to completely renovate the legendary hotel on La Croisette under the auspices of architect Richard Lavelle and interior designer Tristan Auer, the latter was responsible for the most recent update to Paris’ Hotel de Crillon.

Les plafonds ont été entièrement rénovés.

If on the outside, few things have changed – the facades have been renovated and the famous inscription Carlton Hotel has been reproduced to copy identically that of the opening in 1913 – it is inside the hotel where most of the work has been done.

Un travail d'orfèvre a été mené pour restaurer l'intérieur de l'hôtel

This new iteration of the hotel showcases updates to its 332 rooms along with 37 brand-new residences and a courtyard featuring the largest infinity pool in Cannes, lined with chic cabanas and sunbathing decks in a splendid garden.

Tristan Auer handled the architecturally-sensitive interior renovation.

It is a canvas on which the exceptional service and tailored experiences of a Regent hotel can truly shine.

So says Tom Rowntree, vice president of luxury brands for IHG Hotels & Resorts, which houses the Carlton Cannes under its vast hospitality portfolio.

Certaines pièces sont restaurées, d’autres sont créées pour infuser de la modernité. Le futur se mélange au passé dans ce lieu chargé d’histoire.

The interior public spaces have undergone a complete refresh, but the craftspeople and artisans (some of the same people who had worked on the Palace of Versailles) were careful not to tamper with the original character of the building. There are new restaurants and public spaces, including the lounge, a great example where heritage contrasts with contemporary furnishings. It is one of the light-filled spaces where the historical architectural detailing remains as an impressive yet subtle backdrop to Art Deco pendants in bronze and milk glass and beautiful modern wood and rattan sofas.

Throughout the hotel, there are areas designated  “personal havens,” relaxing nooks and crannies where one or two people can get together to take in the coastal scenery or cozy up with one of the sea-themed books from the hotel library.

The hotel is making a splash with a massive new infinity pool.

There’s also a pétanque court (that comes with its own rosé menu) and the deck at the Carlton Beach Club (called the pontoon), where you can nab a seat for sunset cocktails.

Meanwhile, the city of Cannes is undergoing a renovation of its own following a 1.3 million euro investment. The plan is to completely overhaul the Cannes Croisette and turn the beachfront promenade into a flâneur’s paradise.

37 Comments on “Welcome back

  1. That refurb must have cost a fair few bob! I don’t envy that bloke doing the ceiling. I remember when I did mine a few years ago – my arms / shoulders are still aching!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Welcome back – bhagtirash

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