When Carlton Cannes, a Regent Hotel opened in 1913, it became an instant classic, luring chic travelers to the decadent palace at the heart of the Cannes Croisette. The grande dame hotel and its private beach club have been the site of debaucherous parties and wild scandals for over 100 years—but the party’s just getting started.
It’s no surprise that the hotel, as the go-to spot for the jet set during the Cannes Film Festival, has been seen on the silver screen throughout the years, including starring roles in French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline and To Catch a Thief with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. (Fun fact: Grace Kelly met her future husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, at the Carlton Cannes during the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.) The accommodations were also the target of some real-life jewelry heists, including a $137 million robbery in broad daylight in 2013.
But perhaps the most notorious event to ever take place at the Carlton Cannes is the filming for Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” music video (the most delightfully zany thing you’ll see this week), along with the subsequent party that resulted in a trashed hotel room. The hotel even has a cameo in the 2019 Rocketman biopic.
Now, the hotel is set to enter a new chapter as it unveils a complete renovation by interior designer Tristan Auer and architect Richard Lavelle this week. This new iteration of the hotel will see updates to its 332 rooms (starting at roughly $1,285 per night) along with 37 brand-new residences (for longer term stays) and a courtyard featuring the largest infinity pool in Cannes, lined with chic cabanas and sunbathing decks.
“It is a canvas on which the exceptional service and tailored experiences of a Regent hotel can truly shine,” says Tom Rowntree, vice president of luxury brands for IHG Hotels & Resorts, which houses the Carlton Cannes under its vast hospitality portfolio.
The interior public spaces have undergone a complete refresh, but the craftspeople and artisans (some of the same people who have worked on the Palace of Versailles) were careful not to tamper with the original character of the building. You’ll find new public spaces, including the lounge, “a great example where heritage contrasts with contemporary furnishings in a moment of unexpected harmony,” says Rowntree. “It is one of the light-filled spaces where the historical architectural detailing remains as an impressive yet subtle backdrop to Art Deco pendants in bronze and milk glass and beautiful modern wood and rattan sofas.”
Throughout the hotel, you’ll also find areas that Rowntree refers to as “personal havens,” relaxing nooks and crannies where one or two people can get together to take in the coastal scenery or cozy up with one of the sea-themed books from the hotel library.
“They are places that allow guests to relax, indulge, or enjoy inspiring views, adding a layer of extravagance to that moment,” says Rowntree.
But it’s the resort’s new restaurant that will be its splashiest spot come film festival season. Opening in May, Rüya will mix Anatolian cuisine with “Turkish hospitality.” It’s also the first Anatolian restaurant to open on the French Riviera.
There’s also a pétanque court (that comes with its own rosé menu) and the deck at the Carlton Beach Club (called the pontoon), where you can nab a seat for sunset cocktails.
Meanwhile, the city of Cannes is undergoing a renovation of its own following a 1.3 million euro investment. The plan is to completely overhaul the Cannes Croisette and turn the beachfront promenade into a flâneur’s paradise.
“The return of Carlton Cannes embodies the ambition of the city to reinvent itself for the next century,” says Rowntree.