Cannes’ star-studded grand dame
Cannes Film Festival insiders know there's no need to line up with the masses to catch a glimpse of stars walking the red carpet — one of the best places to perch up on Boulevard de la Croisette is from the balcony of the glamorous Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic, across from the famous staircase leading up to the Palais des Festivals. You're sure to spot celebrities wafting in and out of the over-the-top gilded lobby (as well as a few fancy cars parked out front), but if your star-spotting skills are failing you, just glance around and you'll see 2,500 black-and-white photographs of Cannes' most celebrated visitors lining the hotel walls.
When Le Majestic opened its doors in 1926, the hotel had 100 rooms designated just for governesses, chauffeurs and secretaries accompanying the glamorous guests vacationing on the Côte d’Azur. Now it has 350 rooms with 85 suites spread across seven floors. The Art Deco hotel has maintained its sumptuous style — from the 180 tons of red Pyrénées marble lining the floors to the grand staircase crafted from Carrara marble. The sceney pool is made with Murano glass mosaics, and a terrace leads to the Croisette and a private beach just across the boulevard. The hotel's multimillion-dollar West Wing was erected 80 years after the original building, and with it the addition of a spa, the restaurant La Petite Maison de Nicole and a slew of new suites.
Guest rooms range from small and chic to large and sumptuous. They are tastefully decorated with creams and black and an occasional splash of red — it’s classical French all the way here.
Two of the most luxurious penthouses on the Riviera adorn the sixth and seventh floors of the new wing — the 4,843-square-foot Majestic Penthouse, which features 24-hour butler service, a solarium, a home cinema, a private pool and, of course, the best views of the Mediterranean and Lérins Islands. Just one floor down, the Christian Dior Penthouse was designed by the fashion house's interior decorator and is inspired by Dior's Parisian headquarters. It has 180-degree views of the sea from its terrace and is outfitted with replicas of Christian Dior's furniture and pops of color (Dior gray drapes, red sofa cushions) the designer created himself.
Le Majestic has three top-notch spots to dine: Le Fouquet's Cannes, La Petite Maison de Nicole and the beach restaurant. For a taste of tradition, Le Fouquet's is the Riviera's version of the celebrated Parisian brasserie that first opened its doors on the corner of the Champs-Élysées in 1899. Draped in gold and black, the regal restaurant is lined with black-and-white photos of film stars and serves up homestyle French favorites with gourmet flair. At La Petite Maison de Nicole, the Cannes outpost of the Niçois eatery that began 25 years ago in Nice's Old Town, regional flavors dance off the plates in the form of stuffed vegetables and small fried squid. During spring and summer, the Rotonde Louise Pommery Bar in the garden is the place to see-and-be-seen sipping champagne.
Le Majestic's amenities range from a 40-seat cinema to the Spa Diane Barrière by Clarins and a heated outdoor pool, but the real draw to summertime on the Riviera is staking a spot on the private beach, and this one sports 400 lounge chairs and beach beds spread across the shoreline and the iconic jetty — one of the largest on the Croisette. Here, you can spend your days drinking rosé and soaking up the Côte d'Azur sun and your nights dancing to live performances and DJs.