Our morning began with reading the credentials of Le Grand Hotel Cannes before going on a trip to the French Riviera , we were very much looking forward to our stay in an establishment with such an imposing name. On arrival we were struck by its many apparent qualities and during our stay all these were borne out and the slight disparity between the name of the hotel and its more modest appearance was soon to be revealed.
We always find that hotels are the most fascinating of places, full of different people, nationalities and sentiments. Whether your visit is for business or pleasure, staying in one is unquestionably always an exciting prospect, discovering its character, its vibe and features. Le Grand Hotel Cannes is indeed one of those places ready to be discovered and in many ways set apart from other hotels on the famous Croisette seaside boulevard, mainly in placement, style and décor with its minimalist, serene and refined sixties inspired interior and furnitures.
Le Grand Hotel is tucked in behind the only gardens on the Croisette, thus offering a retreat from the hustle and bustle of Cannes. The garden’s palm trees and greenery make a pleasing contrast to the azure colour of the Mediterranean spreading before your eyes from one of the splendid guest rooms making the perfect ingredients for an enjoyable stay. After strolling through this oasis of calm and exploring the reception, which has a sixties design we walk through the corridor adorned with all kind of engaging art and on reaching our suite, which is naturally bright and spacious with views as far as the eye can see, we know that this will be the start of a good weekend.
Apparently this is the oldest and most mythical of the seaside hotels in Cannes, first built in 1863 at the same time as the Croisette. But how can that be? the mystery of the hotel’s origin is revealed as we are talking to our charming host In fact the present building was constructed in 1963 but prior to that this location was for a long time home to the first and only Palace of Cannes, the first luxury hotel of this popular destination. Later in 2006 it was completely renovated to the present ‘sixties’ style and its private refurbished beach renamed "Plage 45". It is the only Hotel on the Croisette with 11 floors, offering breath taking views over the bay of Cannes from the top floor suites.
Although not privileged with such overindulgence we found our room to be in every sense the accommodation a traveller could wish for. Designer light fittings, luxury bedding, elegant furnishings and Bulgari welcome products plunged us into an atmosphere of sweet sensual delight. Orchids freshly cut from the hotel’s greenhouse added that finishing touch of elegance to our room.
One of the more impressing attributes of Le Grand Hotel Cannes is its culinary provision. Sébastien Broda runs the kitchens and in particular the restaurant "Le Park 45", a Michelin star establishment. Never a true representation of the dining experience we refrain from disclosing any of Boda’s delights by revealing our choice for our dinner the first night but his restaurant is well worth a visit even if you don’t stay here. The restaurant extends to the pleasant gardens as does the bar, Le Cercle where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or as in our case a chilled glass of Champagne.
With such culinary excellence at hand you might be tempted not to stray far but the hotel’s most knowledgeable concierge will be happy to guide you to Cannes’ most delightful eateries with a stroll to the old part of town not to be missed. Neither should a walk along the Croisette and the small harbour from which you can depart to the tranquil Îles de Lérins. Only 20 minutes by boat these tranquil islands feel far from the madding crowd. Île Ste-Marguerite, where the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask was incarcerated during the late 17th century, is known for its bone-white beaches, eucalyptus groves and small marine museum.
The smaller Île St-Honorat has been a monastery since the 5th century. Visit the church and small chapels strolling through the monks' vineyards and enjoy their excellent produce. Our way to preserve for the winter sunshine and atmosphere of these pleasant Riviera days was to enjoy their wine on the day and on our return to London. Le Grand Hotel Cannes is a comfortable and a very stylish residence with great attention to details and a good vibe all around and for those seeking the magic of the 1960’s this is the place to find it.