On Cannes’ most exclusive beachfront strip, La Croisette, the luxury hotel game is high (and competition is rife). But the Hotel Martinez, a property that’s truly dedicated to inclusive travel – part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection of uniquely magical properties worldwide – stands out as a timeless yet forward-looking icon.
Arriving by limo at the rotund entranceway of the Hotel Martinez is following in the footsteps of movie stars, big-name directors, celebrities, dignitaries and the business world’s A-listers. They’ve done this for nearly a century at this palatial art-deco hotel, whether for the glitzy film festival or a slice of French Riviera sun and joie de vivre… or perhaps even for some big-brand shopping (an inevitable outcome, the Boulevard de la Croisette’s magnetic retail offering certainly succeeded in luring us in!).
But then, departing the property to explore the narrow alleyways of old-town Cannes, Le Suquet, by the hotel’s own, slate-grey electric scooters is now also a thing to do here. It’s a testament to how the Hotel Martinez continues to evolve over its century-old lifespan and how the property will never stop surprising and delighting its guests.
Sustainable, as well as inclusive travel, is a clear philosophy here. The Hotel Martinez has long been a Green Globe certified, eco-friendly hotel. And it gives back to the local community in Cannes too, with training and educational opportunities for the underprivileged.
It’s also leading the way in France for diverse and inclusive hospitality. It welcomes and celebrates all OutThere travellers: those from the LGBTQ+ community (it invests in top-down training and education for its team, as well as rallies other travel brands in Cannes to work together to be more inclusive of diverse travellers); and also those with disabilities with accessible suites and public spaces, including its sublime terrace and La Plage, its beach club fronting a ‘private beach’ that’s the talk of the town.
With all this at its heart, we delighted in indulging ourselves in unadulterated luxury hospitality, with stunning design courtesy of Pierre-Yves Rochon. Rochon brought modern-day glamour to the property’s interiors while keeping a keen eye on the hotel’s heritage and art-deco design finesse from the 1920s (not to mention original soft touches, like larger-than-life floral displays), paying respect to the legacy of the hotel’s founder Emmanuel Michel Martinez.
Blue, white and gold touches appear throughout the common areas, rooms and suites: “luxury marine chic” we’d call it, stopping just short of over-egging. The best accommodation obviously comes with silvery sea views – ours was plush, yet light and airy – with a small wrought-iron balcony. But the back-of-house suites are equally charming, albeit facing the hotel’s manicured Mediterranean garden and enclosed lap pool, L’Oasis.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
If you could ever get enough of the glitz and glamour of Cannes, then our tip is to head out on a 15-minute boat trip to Sainte-Marguerite & Saint-Honorat islands. You can either take the ferry from Cannes or have the concierge book you a private charter. Here, you’ll discover the cultural and natural treasures of these two pristine, forested islands by the sea.
The best suites at the Hotel Martinez are undoubtedly its two contemporary, 7th-floor penthouse properties that span over 14,000 square feet (in sq m). They can be opened into one (for the ultimate after-party), but they are very different in theme, one bright and colourful and the other, sophisticated and monochrome. They pay homage to Cannes’ silver-screen pedigree. Top-floor guests can ask for special access onto the hotel’s rooftop, where a Hollywood-esque sign spell out the word ‘Martinez’, for all of Cannes, the Mediterranean and Instagram, of course, to see.
With all this talk of scale, the hotel is a rather large one with 409 rooms. And while it is run like a well-oiled machine, there are times when it was very busy, something to look out for especially during convention and festival season. As such, it may not be for those who would prefer their Riviera charm a bit more boutique. This said, nothing felt too over-the-top to us: grandeur and sense of place seem perfectly balanced at the Martinez. You’ll experience both ends of the scale, from the opulent buffet breakfast to the hotel’s bathroom amenities by a local perfumer, La Maison Fragonard.
Two other features sum up Hotel Martinez’s approach to luxury hospitality well. Its spacious spa in partnership with Carita was ever ready for us, in case we needed a regenerating treatment to ward off jet-lag, or some beautifying before a night out on the town.
There is a dedication to wellness and relaxation throughout the property, that extends out to L’Oasis. You’ll not hear the otherwise ubiquitous popping of champagne corks here, the bar doesn’t serve any alcohol – despite being adults only – revitalising juices are shaken up instead. The other is its top-ranking, star-studded Michelin restaurant, Palme d’Or (has the film-theming sunken in yet?) helmed by executive chef Christian Sinicropi who hails from Cannes.
But what we loved most, was that whatever space of the hotel we were in (perhaps with the exception of the hotel lobby and conference/party spaces during a festival), we felt like we were in our own private sanctuary, that afforded us the best luxury available in hospitality: room to truly relax, knowing we could always be ourselves on holiday.