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Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many

Regent Carlton Cannes Review: Paradise in the South of France

Do you ever get the feeling that you have made a grave mistake? That the wheels of good fortune have suddenly stopped turning in your favour? For me, this very realisation came at about 3:30 in the afternoon last Wednesday, when I was standing on the balcony of my hotel room, overlooking the French Riviera’s La Croisette Boulevard. Somewhere amid the sea of Prosecco that flowed downstream from the fabled region itself, across the sun-drenched cobblestones and up through the lobby of the Regent Carlton Cannes, where I presently found myself, a realisation had dawned.

I should never have come here, for the sole reason that everything that I have ever done, or ever hope to do, could not possibly live up to the three glorious days I spent in the salty shadows of the Côte d’Azur. Like a petulant child spoiled from too much candy, I have been ruined, and I blame the breakfast buffet.

French actress Michèle Morgan outside the Carlton in 1955 | Image: Gammo Rapho/Getty Images
French actress Michèle Morgan outside the Carlton in 1955 | Image: Gammo Rapho/Getty Images

A Little History

Admittedly, saying that the Carlton Cannes is a tremendous hotel is hardly a bold statement. For over a century, the seaside outpost has played host to the world’s most revered celebrities, formed the backdrop of a series of iconic films, and it remains the property of choice for the president of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival. To that end, film is very much part of the Carlton Cannes story.

The first-ever Cannes Film Festival took place at the fabled property in 1946, and just a few years later, seminal filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock would film To Catch a Thief on its footsteps. A destination etched in history, the Carlton Cannes was the very hotel where a young Grace Kelly would meet Prince Rainier of Monaco, and Elton John would launch his iconic 1980s comeback with “I’m Still Standing”. A stunning ode to French opulence in the sun, the Regent Carlton Cannes is every bit a celebrity in its own right, but in recent years, it has been on a comeback trail.

Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many

Restoration & Design

Just five short months ago, the iconic property, which is now part of the IHG Hotels & Resorts family/brand, emerged from an extended slumber, revitalising a Riviera that had for two years gone without its crown jewel. Interior designer Tristan Auer, famous for his work with Cartier, spent countless hours reshaping the heritage building’s beating heart, aiming to restore the property to its provincial best.

From the moment I cast my eyes across the Belle Époque property’s twin domes, which were allegedly inspired by the breasts of the Spanish-Greek courtesan known as La Belle Otero, it was obvious that Auer had nailed the brief. Oceans of marble flow through the open spaces, broken only by the towering columns that support their structure, while Murano glass chandeliers hang delicately from the ceiling, refracting a blaze of sunlight that bounces off the neighbouring sea.

C Club Fitness and Spa | Image: Supplied
C Club Fitness and Spa | Image: Supplied

C Club Fitness and Spa

The expansion, which cost an undisclosed sum, has seen the introduction of a multitude of fittingly extravagant amenities, including the city’s first boxing ring, a Mediterranean infinity pool, and the C Club Fitness and Spa. It’s here that true indulgence is best observed.

During my stay, I managed to book in for a 60-minute deep tissue massage which was unlike any I had ever experienced before. Back home in Sydney, I’m used to a slap-dash kind of process, whereby my arms are tugged in opposing directions, seemingly against the very logic of human design. More often than not, I come out feeling more broken than when I entered, but this was certainly not the case at C Club.

After being greeted at the entrance to the spa, I was guided through an extensive treatment that included selecting my own oil (I opted for vanilla and Rose quartz), a dulcet soundtrack and an impromptu nap that proved unavoidable once I was on the soft, plush massage table.

Once finished, I made my way directly to the fitness area, for a quick workout, but more importantly, a sauna session. One key point here is that the C Club Fitness area is definitely not your regular hotel gym. Replete with Technogym equipment, a full free weights section and a boxing gym, you’d scarcely find a dedicated gym with this much equipment anywhere in the world. Once finished in the steam room, I made my way up to my room, which I can honestly say, is the most incredible place I’ve been lucky enough to stay in.

Bedroom at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
Bedroom at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many


The hotel boasts a stellar 332 rooms and suites, some of which feature multiple bedrooms and private dining terraces. For the true high-rollers, many of whom venture down from the neighbouring Monte Carlo, there is also a 1,000-metre-square penthouse that comes complete with its own landscaped rooftop garden.

A setting generally reserved for royalty, quite literally, the accommodation has played host to any number of remarkable celebrity weddings and birthdays, however, cinephiles are best recommended to look elsewhere for a celebrity experience.

Living room at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
Living room at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many

The aptly-named corner 623 Alfred Hitchcock suite is the exact location where the master of suspense filmed To Catch a Thief in 1954, with the suite providing the setting for Cary Grant and Grace Kelly’s iconic smooch. I still remember watching that scene as a kid and thinking about the sheer lunacy of their characters’ whirlwind romance, however, after spending time in Cannes, I can see how easy it would be to fall in love here.

For the duration of my stay, I found myself in room 540, a provincial suite in the western breast that featured three separate lounge areas and a panoramic view of Cannes. In fact, the wonderful staff member who showed me to my room was not reticent in revealing that I had inadvertently stumbled across ‘the best view in Cannes’. Staring out at the ocean, awash with superyachts, tall ships and sailing boats, it was hard to argue with her.

Throughout the hotel’s main areas and rooms, you’ll find a consistent yellow-gold and ivory colour motif, which plays flawlessly against the picturesque blue ocean in front. All things considered, it’s a suitably opulent combination.

Chateau Miraval’s exclusive Carlton rosé | Image: Man of Many

I entered my room and was met with a charming handwritten note from the hotel manager, alongside a platter of fresh seasonal fruit, branded macarons and a bottle of Chateau Miraval’s exclusive Carlton rosé. Say what you will about the lost art of hospitality, but the French certainly know how to do it right.

Sea Bass at Riviera | Image: Man of Many
Turbot at Riviera | Image: Man of Many

Food and Dining

If you are anything like me, a funny thing happens when you cross the French border. For months or even years prior, you’re completely in control of your eating and dietary habits, but as soon as the smell of fresh Palmier and Brioche enters your nostrils, all sensibility leaves. During my stay at the Regent Carlton Cannes, I essentially became best friends with the effortlessly well-dressed attendants helming the breakfast buffet, but that wasn’t all.

An artichoke I wasn't quite sure how to eat | Image: Man of Many
An artichoke I wasn’t quite sure how to eat | Image: Man of Many

Riviera Restaurant

One of the more casual eateries on the premises, Riviera is an ode to the seasonal produce that has long made the seaside setting popular. Described as a Mediterranean brasserie, Riviera is essentially split into sections, the first being an open terrace that looks out onto the after, while the second is an indoor escape in plain view of the chef Laurent Bunel’s table.

The Normandy native has worked tirelessly with the staff of Riviera to craft an immersive menu of fresh and seasonal dishes, each imparting a uniquely Mediterranean vibe. Here, you’ll find sun-drenched dishes, comprised of fresh-caught fish and seafood, alongside more homely favourites.

Make no mistake, Riviera is far from cheap, but the experience is well worth it, particularly when you throw in the incredible service of the wait staff. An attentive bunch that differs greatly from their Parisien counterparts, Cannes hospitality is warm and inviting, and no one does it quite like the team at Carlton.

When I dined here, curiosity certainly got the best of me. I knew that I had to try local seafood, but before I did, I settled on an appetiser of Camus artichoke, which admittedly I selected solely for the literary novelty. When the ball of ferns and leaves arrived at my table, I had absolutely no idea how to eat it and to this day, I’m still not entirely sure. Nevertheless, it was an experience, but it was merely a precursor for the main course.

A freshly caught turbot fished straight from the calming waters in front of me made for a perfect evening meal. The delicate flesh of the fish contrasting flawlessly against Bunel’s tomato and olive condiment reminded me of an upscale deconstructed puttanesca, although to describe it as such would surely be a disservice to the chef who lovingly prepared it. For an evening dinner in an incredible setting, Rivieria is a must-try.

Carlton Beach Club | Image: Supplied
Carlton Beach Club | Image: Supplied

Beach Club

In the more than 100 years since the Carlton Cannes birthed the iconic beach club, no property on Earth has managed to better it. When you walk down the perfectly manicured streets of La Croisette, there are near endless numbers of private beaches, each offering its own unique take on waterfront dining, but to me, the original is always the best.

Since 1930, Carlton Beach Club has staked its claim for luxury supremacy in Cannes, complete with white deckchairs, a central pontoon and a bar stocked with practically anything you could ask for. Make no mistake, if you visit Cannes, you simply have to stop in and check out the venue.

Nicoise Salad at the Carlton Beach Club | Image: Man of Many
Nicoise Salad at the Carlton Beach Club | Image: Man of Many

Again, Bunel has curated a seasonal menu, this time also tapping Alexandra Delamare, that comprises fresh salad, seafood and zesty favourites. The food is straightforward and uncomplicated, happy to play second-fiddle to the real star of the show, the Cannes waterfront.

From your seat in the restaurant, you have the perfect vista of the stunning scenery around you, whether that be the water itself or merely the remarkable people who occupy it. Cannes is, after all, an ideal place for people-watching. A glass of wine in hand, I could think of no better way to wind down a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The Verdict

As I’ve already mentioned, the quality of a 5-star luxury hotel with the pedigree of the Regent Carlton Cannes is hardly up for debate, but what struck me the most about my stay was just how impressive it was. I’ve been on countless trips where the expectation of luxury greatly outweighs the actual experience, a product of my own imagination rather than a disappointing sojourn, but this was nothing of the sort.

Every element, every minute detail was carefully considered and approached with such a degree of attention that I could simply not find fault, even if I tried. The restoration of the building speaks to the esteemed respect that IHG and the operators have for the historic property, with no adornment feeling too modern or out of place. Everywhere you look, there are nods not only to the illustrious people who have graced the halls but also to those who were responsible for keeping them.

So, gushing response aside, the question remains – is it worth the AUD$900 per night off-peak price? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes’. Put simply, there is no equal, only imitations and homages.

Disclaimer: The author of this article, Nick Hall, was invited to stay at Regent Carlton Cannes as a guest of IHG Hotels & Resorts for the purposes of this review.

Regent Carlton Cannes Key Information

  • Hotel address: 58 Boulevard de la Croisette, Cannes
  • Rating: 5-star
  • Phone: +33 4 93 06 40 06
  • Price: From about AUD$900 per night
View from the bedroom at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
View from the bedroom at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
Bathroom at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
Bathroom at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
Bathroom at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
Bathroom at Regent Carlton Cannes | Image: Man of Many
A little French treat | Image: Man of Many
A little French treat | Image: Man of Many

Regent Carlton Cannes FAQs

Is the Regent Carlton Cannes accessible for those with mobility impairments?

Yes, the Regent Carlton Cannes is highly accessible for those with mobility impairments. There are elevators that travel to each floor and a total of nine fully-wheelchair accessible rooms, including a luxury residence, and a suite.

What is the closest airport to the Carlton Cannes?

The Regent Carlton Cannes is located 30 minutes from Nice Airport via car.

Is the Carlton Hotel in Cannes closed?

The Carlton Cannes reopened in March 2023, following a five-year restoration project. It is currently open for bookings.

Who owns the Carlton Cannes?

The Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel, is part of IHG Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio, and owned by Katara Hospitality.