Famous mainly for its starring role in the annual Cannes International Film Festival and its twin cupolas, the Carlton International Hotel is now a little faded in glamour having suffered from successive owners who have not invested in it.
The latest proprietors, since June 2014, are Qatar’s Katara Hospitality who plan a rolling renovation and improvement programme. A site to the rear of the property is being kept under wraps and could be a new spa and swimming pool complex.
My 30-square-metre, double-room with a sideways sea view cost €605 (Dh2,489) a night. The 210-centimetre bed was very comfortable, but the 60cm shower was a tight fit, and the L’Occitane amenities only included one bar of soap. If you wanted unlimited movie access that was an extra €35.
Workwise, the large desk was adequate although it only had two continental-sized plugs. For internet, be sure to sign up to the Intercontinental Hotel Group frequent guest programme for free access, otherwise you pay from €25 a day for 2MBps to €200 a day for 20MBps.
At the bottom of the stairs is a compact business centre with two Microsoft terminals and a printer that are free for guests. The buffet breakfast on the Carlton terrace is quite a spot for a business meeting with a panoramic view of the bay, although it is €45 for what is a standard intercontinental breakfast buffet.
Perhaps this hotel is still trading on its formidable reputation.
The now 304-bedroom and 39-suite Carlton was originally built in 1909 by British entrepreneur Henri Ruhl, with the financial backing of the exiled Russian Grand Duke Michael, in elegant Bell Epoque style to serve Russian and English aristocrats.
The League of Nations met here in 1922. This is where Prince Rainier of Monaco met the American film star Grace Kelly and also where the Cannes film festival first took off.
q&a a price for everything
Peter Cooper elaborates on what the Carlton International Hotel has to offer the business traveller:
What other facilities were there in the room?
There is a Nespresso machine but capsules cost €1 each, and no tea-making facilities. You also have a large fruit basket, complementary water and two sugary juices.
What about other services?
A visitor commented that five minutes behind the hotel a local restaurant offered a three-course meal for €27, just €7 more than the price of a milkshake in the hotel. Coke or water from the minibar cost €10 and Pringles €9. From the room service a hamburger and chips was €39 and a sandwich €21. Ironing was not cheap either at €12 for a shirt and €13 for a blouse, and 50 per cent more for express service on the same day.
What about for after hours?
Currently the hotel does not have a swimming pool. But it does have the Mediterranean Sea and its own private beach club opposite, but even hotel guests have to pay an extra €58 a day for a sunbed. Apart from the beach, the airy 24-hour gym was adequate with three running, skiing and cycling machines and a multigym.
What about the meeting rooms?
Throughout the year Cannes hosts many conferences and corporate events. It’s the business capital of the Cote d’Azur. To cater for that, the hotel has 10 meeting and banquet rooms.
* The writer was a guest of the hotel.
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