Still got it: Cannes

[slideshow_deploy id=’6194′]

Playing host to numerous arts festivals held in and around the sun-drenched La Croisette, Cannes has sustained an undisputed reputation as the French Riviera’s most glamorous and popular hotspots. Not surprising then, that Cannes has also relentlessly strived to ensure it achieves the delicate art of accommodating the high end tastes of the rich and famous. So with great expectations of experiencing the “good life”, Glass headed to this alluring part of the Côte d’Azur to test out two of Cannes’ best, but very different hotels, the Five Hotel and Spa and Le Grand Hotel.

Standing out from the crowd is no easy feat for a hotel in Cannes. All the big players can be found there, from the JW Marriot and the Majestic to the Grand Hyatt Martinez and the Intercontinental’s Carleton Cannes, with numerous independent design-led hotels dotted about as well. This includes design boutique hotel Five Hotel and Spa, located a few minutes from the Palais de Festivals and La Croisette in one of the most historical parts of Cannes. Its name derives from the five senses and the five continents and thus an Immobile Voyage is a central theme.


A sumptuous mix of luxury, fine dining and comfort amidst high end design and modest charm make for a good first impression of Five. The view out of the bedroom window will delight architecture lovers (the owner of the hotel is also one such fan) as they will look upon the Notre Dame de Bon Voyage where Napolean once frequented. The bedrooms mesh practicality with intelligent design; notably the spacious bathrooms offer a wall of shutters and blinds to merge or separate with the space of the bedroom.

Details like red leather door knobs, masterful lighting and textural animal skins add touches of luxury, while upstairs on the rooftop, the swimming pool offers a fluid cocoon in which to enjoy the French Riviera’s reliable rays. And there’s always their spa or their yacht (so named Coca VI) for extra financial splurges on the Cannes’ luxury lifestyle.

5. Luxury at Le Grand Hotel

 Luxury at Le Grand Hotel

The contemporary Sea Sens restaurant was also a roof-top pleasure for Glass to experience, amidst a mother of pearl bar and a view over the Old Harbour of Cannes. Decadent cocktails for an evening here are enjoyable, but the food – a remarkable chemistry of intelligently paired flavours – is an absolute must. Chef Arnaud Tabarec concocts the menu and has many a Michelin starred restaurant on his CV.

Aiming to “surprise” guests with the cuisine at Sea Sens, Tabarec launched his self-titled Bistronomie concept here, which combines fresh market foods and spices from the five continents. What’s more, he even jotted down in English, what Glass ate! The slow-cooked organic eggs, artichoke and Summer truffle were faultless and the roasted red mullet and sea bream with “rouille” espuna and bouillabaisse also couldn’t fail to impress. Dessert by the Sea Sens’ expert pastry chef also contributed towards the invincible menu.

The Five Seas Sea Bass

The five Seas Sea Bass

In contrast (though not even five minutes away, further up the stretch of La Crosiette) is Le Grand Hôtel, just as deluxe, but in an entirely different manner. Whereas Five Hotel and Spa is a retreat away from the busier areas of La Croisette, Le Grand Hôtel is bang in the middle. Lazing about on the terrace of a sea-facing suite or Prestige suite, one can take in a perfect view of atypical Cannes in layers: firstly, that of Le Grand Hôtel’s magnificent, entirely unique front garden (avec palms); second, their private beach (aka Plage 45); third, the sun-fuelled navy sea and lastly, the pale blue sky. In short, it’s blissful.

The contemporary Sea Sens restaurant

The contemporary Sea Sens restaurant

Not only that, but Le Grand Hôtel and La Croisette are an inseparable pair – they’ve got history. The hotel was actually built in 1863 at the same time as La Croisette. 100 years later, it was entirely rebuilt and has had a few facelifts since. Decor in the bedrooms is contemporary, with many items of furniture made by British and American independent designers. But nothing beats the view – and the feeling of being right at the very centre of French Riviera culture and lifestyle.

Le Park 45 is arguably one of the best dining spots in Cannes. One need only recognise that this is the case from the elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen that frequent it, both for lunch on the al fresco patio and dinner amid the cork-topped made-to-measure tables in the main restaurant. If there was any hesitation, then knowledge that top chef Sebastien Broda (along with his Michelin star) takes care of the menu ought to make things clearer.

There’s no denying that this is a gastronomical experience at its best in Cannes (and probably beyond). Broda marries Mediterranean flavours and local produce with a complexity that challenges you to consider every flavour, every mouthful. Starters such as Breton lobster come with burrata di buffalo ice cream and cucumber juice, whilst mains include a Ibirean pork sirloin which comes with a pea and mango casserole meshed with bacon juices. It’s a restaurant one can not consider missing out on.

French Riviera views

French Riviera views

by Ruthie Holloway


About The Author

Related Posts