Each May, the world descends upon the beautiful French seaside city of Cannes for the annual Cannes Film Festival. As one of the most popular events in the world, the festival brings a huge influx of people into Cannes, which has a limited number of hotel rooms. The demand makes prices increase to levels sometimes three and four times the normal room rates. Hotels also sell out months in advance and many have returning regulars who have booked their rooms for years. Some hotels also require a full eleven-night booking, the length of the festival. Here’s a look at three hotel options for the Cannes Film Festival:
InterContinental Carlton Cannes
In Cannes, at the festival, there is simply The Carlton, then everything else. The quasi-official home of the festival, many of the hotel’s suites and rooms are rented out by film companies for meetings. The hotel is so involved with the festival, access to the property is usually limited to those with festival credentials only. This is ornate, beautiful, old-school luxury, renovated and freshened with a modern flair, as InterContinental is so good about doing at many of their properties. Opened in 1911, the palatial hotel was built to serve the same function it does today, to host the world’s wealthiest and most discerning travelers at the level of luxury they expect. The presence of a grand, palatial hotel like The Carlton helped establish Cannes as a resort destination for European royalty and other rich people in the early twentieth century.
Citadines Croisette Cannes
This “aparthotel” as it’s called, has been my home in Cannes for the five years I’ve attended the festival. The property is a ten minute walk from the Palais (where the festival is held), across from the train station on Avenue Carnot. For the price of a regular hotel room, we got a one bedroom apartment with a little kitchen area with a stove, microwave, refrigerator and dishwasher. The hotel has laundry facilities and is like extended-stay properties in the US. A recent renovation makes it a great option for the festival. One thing I really liked was the hotel is in more of a real neighborhood in Cannes, a bit separated from the festival madness. I enjoyed seeing regular people going to work and shopping, to get a taste of life in Cannes during the other fifty weeks a year when the festival is not happening. There are 58 units here, a mix of studios for two and one bedroom apartments for four people. The Citadines even offers guests access to a private beach, almost a necessity during the busy summer months.
Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez
While The Carlton may be the city’s grand hotel, The Hotel Martinez may be the most beautiful. The art deco masterpiece has some amazing spaces, both public and private. This is a hotel of grand staircases perfect for celebrity entrances and multi-room suites overlooking the sea. To me, it epitomizes the French Riviera and is also a monument to its heyday. Guests have their choice of 409 rooms, 27 of those are fantastic suites. There is a private beach, one of the most popular in Cannes, and every other luxury amenity one expects at a five-star property. The Martinez is also a serious foodie destination, with what some consider the best restaurant in Cannes, the two-Michelin-starred La Palme d’Or.
Both the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez and The InterContinental Carlton Cannes are normally filled during the festival, rooms do sometimes become available. Rates for a hillside (not seaview) room at The Carlton are available for the 2014 festival as I write this in early April, at $1,250 per night with a seven night minimum, with similar pricing at The Martinez. The Citadines Croissette Cannes also is normally booked solid for the festival, with rates about $380 per night for the one-bedroom apartment and $280 per night for the studios.
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