Cloudless skies and azure Mediterranean sea. Beautiful
sun-kissed bodies, stylish boutiques and quaint gourmet
stores. Such are the images that arise when I think of
Cannes - a summer playground for the well-heeled and glamorous.
Now add to that list Le Cavendish - a charming hotel
located in the heart of Cannes. Built in 1897 by wealthy
English physician Lord Henry Cavendish, the hotel is
minutes away from the famed Palais des Festivals, lively
La Croisette, restaurants and shopping strip.
To cater to the constant stream of movie stars, the
rich and the famous who head to this Cote D'Azur city
during the annual Cannes Film Festival, owners Guy and
Christine Welter decided to renovate the property after
purchasing it in 2000. Le Cavendish opened its doors
in 2001 after a major face-lift (costing 1.5 millions
Euros) that lasted nine months.
The couple decided to revive the atmosphere that was
typically found in the French Riviera's "démeures"
or luxurious residences at the end of last century.
Besides preserving the building's façade, they
also retained the original lift, dating from 1920, and
the spiral carrera marble staircase which both lend
much character to the interior.
Stepping inside is as exciting as opening a treasure
box full of surprises. And copious amounts of attention
are given to the details. The reception salon is adorned
with original paintings and antiques as well as assorted
Here, the setting changes with the mood of the day
- fresh in the morning, relaxed in the afternoon and
sensuous in the evening. At the crack of dawn, the smell
of hot croissants and home-made strawberry and pear
jams wafts through the lounge bar. At dusk, pretty candles
are lit and custom-made scents of lavender and spices
permeate the entire hotel.
If you're feeling famished, the cosy lounge bar splashed
with warm orange and yellow hues is the place to head
to. Breakfast, for instance, comprises a spread of Viennese
breads, pains au chocolat, orange cake studded with
chocolate chips, ham, apricot and cereal. You can also
take your pick from an assortment of loose leaf teas
- think Earl Grey Imperial, Thé Sur le Nil, Fuji
Yama, Marco Polo and Nil Rouge. Alongside that is the
open bar (free of charge from 7pm to 11pm). Too inviting
to resist after a hot day in the intense summer heat,
are the cocktail concoctions and cool pastis.
Food and setting aside, what really stands out is the
superb service. Having held various managerial posts
within international hotel chains, Guy and Christine
Welter are obviously aware that personalised service
is an essential tool in their business. Their desire
to create the ambience of a private house rather than
a hotel, says it all. They welcome each guest personally
during check-in time and even greet them every morning
Seemingly, taking care of guests' comfort is an absolute
priority to the savvy and friendly staff. Besides unparalleled
service (from the doorman to the receptionist), you
also get excellent dining and sight-seeing recommendations
To add some motherly cosseting, women or rather mothers
from around the neighbourhood have been invited to prepare
breakfast for guests as well as perform housekeeping
This hotel's 40 luxurious bedrooms has been rebuilt
and decorated a la Provençal style. Besides plush
furnishing (including the most comfortable beds in this
side of France), available too are modern amenities
like satellite TV, internal video systems and internet
Spread over four levels, most of the rooms have a balcony
or terrace overlooking the old town of Cannes or the
sea. What is special here are the spacious "rotundas"
or circular guestrooms which revive the charm of old-fashioned
Before bedtime, the chambermaid pops by the guestrooms
for the delightful "turn-down service" - fluffing
the softest pillows ever, lowering the remote-control
shutters, placing a Godiva chocolate on your bed, and
a final touch - sprinkling lavender oil on the sheets
For more details:
Le Cavendish, 11 Boulevard Carnot, 06400 Cannes, France.
Tel: 33(0)4 97 06 26 00. Email : email@example.com
- Walk along the Promenade de la Croisette or sun-bathe
on the beach-front. Stroll to the port and gaze at
the multi-million dollar yachts or swing by the casino
for some evening fun.
- Palais des Festivals by the old harbour offers exhibitions,
shows and concerts all year. In May, brush shoulders
with celebrities at the star-studded Cannes Film Festival.
Check out movie stars' handprints along Allee des
- The Le Suquet (Old Town) located on a hillside
exudes typical Mediterranean charm. Follow the road
winding up towards the old town and discover the many
cafes and restaurants along the narrow cobblestone
streets. When you reach the summit, you will be rewarded
with a stunning sea view.
- Board a ferry which leaves every 20 minutes from
the city to the Isles of Lerins - two beautiful islands
dubbed Sainte Marguerite and Saint Honorat. Here you
can swim and relax or explore the Fort Royal on Sainte
Marguerite and the monastery on Saint Honorat.
- Traditional French Restaurant La Mère Besson
(13 rue des frères Pradignac) serves the most
succulent roast chicken with mushrooms as well as
sweet-and-sour sardines à l'escabèche
(marinated) partnered with ratatouile.
- For a small price, one can purchase a delicious
take-away lunch from Ernest ( 52 & 53 bis, rue
Meynadier et 6, rue Louis Blanc). Besides pastas and
paellas, the quiche lorraine and coffee eclairs are