Art Deco glamour on the French Riviera
During the annual Cannes Film Festival the iconic Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez's neon rooftop sign makes an appearance on just as many pages of magazines as the stars themselves. With a rooftop terrace looking over the famous Boulevard de la Croisette below, the Art Deco hotel has gained notoriety as one of the most exclusive spots on the promenade. Not only is it a stunning backdrop in Instagram shots, hundreds of A-Listers call the hotel home during the festival (Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, to name just a few).
The property dates back to the late 1800s, but was opened as its current iteration in 1929 as one of the largest Art Deco palaces on the Riviera. Nowadays, the hotel has just as much charm and allure as it did back then, serving up a modern-day spin on the Roaring Twenties lifestyle with plush rooms, acclaimed restaurants, a private beach and a luxury spa by exclusive beauty brand L. Raphael.
One look at its ivory-hued façade and you might guess that the Art Deco style seeps into guest room décor, too. And it does to varying degrees — each of the room categories has its own look. From large French windows you can catch glimpses of the city, its rolling hills or the Mediterranean.
The Sea View Deluxe King offers a true Riviera experience — have breakfast on a petite balcony overlooking the sea with the Estérel Mountains and Lérins Islands in the distance. The French Riviera hotel's emblem, intertwined initials "H" and "M" dot the carpet, and beds feature satin pearl-white headboards, similar to something you'd imagine existing in The Great Gatsby.
Some of the rooms and suites boast striped wallpaper and flowered curtains, silver leaf and satin, while others feature wall fabric as teal as the Mediterranean, as well as saunas and Turkish-bath-showers.
In the suites, you'll have plenty of room to spread out in spacious sitting areas or on 322-square-foot private terraces where you can look out over the city from a chaise lounge. If you want the ultimate perch over the Boulevard de la Croisette, the 3,229-square-foot, seventh-floor Penthouse Suite sits on the top floor of the luxury hotel — said to be one of the largest in Europe and one of the most expensive in the world — and has a 2,906-square-foot terrace with two Jacuzzis and a garden filled with 200-year-old olive trees.
Accessed by its own private elevator, La Palme d'Or just might be the pièce de résistance at the Martinez — it’s also a favorite among stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015, the renowned restaurant, named after the Cannes Film Festival's top award, also incorporates elements of the festival into its flooring (its symbol weaved into the carpet).
Flavors at the restaurant are seasonal and reflect specific international regions, with dishes like spider crab from the Adriatic and purple asparagus from the Mediterranean.
Executive chef Christian Sinicropi was born in Cannes and adds his personal spin to the presentation of the dishes. Case in point: The chef studied ceramics at the school of Beaux-Arts in Vallauris — the same spot that influenced Picasso's ceramic work — and creates his own plates alongside his wife. Expect creative dishes presented beautifully, plus gorgeous views of the sea.
The Pool and Beach
On the ground floor of the Cannes hotel, the Bar L'Amiral is an ideal place to start the evening, with live music and barmen whipping up craft cocktails with showman-like skill.
Outside and past the terrace at Le Relais, which focuses on Latin fare and products hailing from Provence, lies a heated octagon-shaped swimming pool open year-round. Cross the Croisette and you'll find ZPlage Beach Club, which has more than 400 lounge chairs stretching from a rotunda bar and onto the pontoon. Open from April to October, ZPlage serves fresh-pressed juices, cocktails, local fish and international cuisine, but the beach club really comes to life at nightfall with fireworks and a DJ and concerts on weekends.