Sitting majestically on the Promenade de la Croisette, between diamond-clad movie stars, jeroboams of Moët & Chandon, and the breath-stealing Esterel mountains and twinkling Côte d'Azur, bathed in a dazzling spectacle of color and music, one thing became profoundly clear. After a two-year hiatus, Carlton Cannes, a Regent Hotel is back in the most laser-sharp of ways.
Of all the places to watch the Cannes glitz and glamour spool out, this hotel has always been the most coveted. From Alfred Hitchcock filming To Catch a Thief with Grace Kelly in the 1950s to Sophia Loren hanging out of her room’s balcony, Brigitte Bardot splashing about at the beach club and Elton John starring in his I’m Still Standing music video, there’s not much this grand dame hasn’t seen. Now, after a whopping renovation the original dowager duchess has sprung into the 21st century and what better way to announce itself back on the scene than with a rip-roaring party during Cannes Film Festival?
This renovation has catapulted the hotel onto the hurly-burly of Riviera glamour. Carlton Cannes, a Regent Hotel is a flagship property within the IHG Hotels & Resorts luxury and lifestyle portfolio, with sprawling new studios, a 200,000-square-foot penthouse, a serene courtyard garden that was once the hotel’s carpark, and the largest infinity pool in Cannes. There are new and re-discovered design elements everywhere that manage to somehow surprise and delight–petal pink Venini chandeliers, turn-of-the-century painted frescoes lining the domes in the lobby that was discovered during the refurb alongside the gold-leaf on the elegant staircases, with swathes of burnt-sienna, creamy vanilla, gleaming gold, and light seeping in every corner that it can, all masterminded by French interior designer Tristan Auer and architect Richard Lavalle. Yes, this place still hums with old-school glamour but it’s fresher and better than ever.
Of course, that’s the reason I’m here—to celebrate its facelift during the glitziest week in town. As I’m picked up by the VIP concierge from Nice airport, past hordes of photographers hoping to snap Hollywood royalty (sorry), through the hotel’s famous revolving doors and staff all chicly dressed in floaty pleated skirts and handkerchiefs in their hair, I realized this place, with its pitch-perfect service and film star fabulous facade, makes even a duckling feel like a swan.