The Majestic Hotel, Cannes
Cannes today may NOT seem to be the magical jewel by the sea it once was. Walk along its narrow sun-baked streets today and you’ll be shocked at the plethora of bizarre-looking Eurotrash that counts as the indigenous population. Ectomorphic spindly old ladies, their skin like a creosoted fence, wearing a flannel that barely covers long south-bound bodies, their claws gripping the leashes of rat-like toy dogs that skit on the baking pavement. Steroid-addled heavies drag painted pouting trophy dolls to another boutique. Shameless restauranteurs, disingenuously smile at passers-by, desperate for local trade that won’t come, since the below par and exorbitantly priced food served is only for festival-attending suckers and they know it.
The general air of usury and ersatz crassness grows every year. Yet for some reason this old and once lovely fishing port still exerts a powerful draw on the worlds of film, advertising, TV and pornography. Yes, even though the porn festival has now been banished to the yachts in the bay, so as to un-sully the Croisette, it still takes place in the season before the Cannes Lion Advertising Festival. Jesus, the French are snobs. The countless hordes of festival liggers that find themselves spilling out from the Gutter Bar next to the Martinez Hotel must be chasing some old form of glamour. They drive to St Paul de Vence to dine on passable food at the beautiful Colombe d’Or. Or shoot along the coast to enjoy the Hotel Du Caps infinity pool and Fitzgeraldesque, white-towelled froideur, whilst ignoring the Eastern European gangsters, emitting a dangerous air as they baste.
Everyone is trying to chase a memory. A mythical setting that maybe never existed. One is inexorably drawn to a world where Grant, Hepburn, Monroe, Bardot, Gable, Pitt, Roberts and Cruise have graced the magically anointing sea of red carpet. They dined in decadence and sipped champagne on yachts and slept in majestic suites. Probably. So what happens when you do find it for real?
Founded in 1926, the Majestic Hotel has seen them all pass through her doors. Changing and updating to match the current trends, yet retaining its status as one of the grandest hotels on the Cote d’Azur.
The crown jewel at the hotels disposal is the newly opened Majestic suite. Located on the 7th floor, this 600 square metre penthouse apartment was decorated by renowned interior designer Pascal Desprez and exudes warmth and elegance. It has unrivalled views of the Riviera, as it overlooks the famous Croisette and the infamous red steps leading up to the Palais des Festivals. All for the small cost of 38,000 euros, per night.
The suite has three bedrooms, each with independent lounges and bathrooms, a dining room and an extraordinary lounge facing the sea. You can also indulge your senses in ultimate relaxation and take advantage of the private fitness area, which comes with spa table and even a hairdresser. Presumably, a fit one. Also available is the experience shower, a sensorial stall that creates ambiences composed of fragrances, sound and light, making scrubbing up a rare moment of escapism. The ambience is programmed by means of a simple control. Press the summer storm sequence and you are immersed in green light, bathed by fine, warm rain, enchanted by the scents of a Mediterranean forest, shaken by thunder before being lulled by bird-song. Luckily, Earth Song by Michael Jackson does not accompany this enriching experience.
I decided to take advantage of the spa session and went for a massage. Lying flat on the bed, my head poking through the circular window, I could only see the vermillion painted toes of the masseuse as the world and all its woes slipped away.
You also have private access to a 130 square metre panorama, with an 11 metre pool. This overlooks Cannes, the Mediterranean, the Lérins Islands and the glowing slopes of the Massif de l’Estrel. You can sit in the pool whilst the world clambers up the red carpet directly below – Zeus looking down from Mount Olympus with a Martini in hand (rather than a thunderbolt).
An exclusive butler service is available for your requests. From needing a freshly pressed shirt, unpacking your bags or bringing you the best bottle of cognac to go with a meal they are at your beck and call.
Another great feature is the home cinema with top-notch audio-visual equipment. The motorised screen coupled with a video-projector boasts, for example, a format 3 metres wide, 2 metres high. You can watch the stars that have adorned the Croisette over the years, projected as big as they ever were, in your own room. Standing over Cannes like a watchful guardian, the Majestic Hotel is regal and resplendent. Old Hollywood glamour with a modern twist. The ultimate money can buy experience. So, just when one is despairing that you’ve been sold a myth or you are enamoured of a long gone past, you find it in the flesh. Are you ready for your close up?