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Hyatt Hotel Brings Updated Looks to the Classic Hôtel Martinez Under New Ownership

Photo Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez

Already a legend within hospitality circles along the glamorous Côtes d’Azur since it opened in 1929, the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez  is set to rise even more as room renovations get underway. New owner, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which took over the property within the last year, has already refurbished some rooms, with the entire hotel to be re-done over the next few years and plans being considered to have less, yet bigger ones and more suites.

hotel martinez
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez

With its brilliant white façade, spacious marble-floored lobby and grand sweeping staircase, one is immediately aware this seven-story, 409-room hotel (including 27 suites) has that something special. This became even more obvious as we gazed out from our French balcony (in a sea-view, 430-square-foot deluxe room on the fifth floor) over onto downtown Cannes. The revered beaches of the Riviera fanned out below and the Esterel Mountains sat in the far distance.

hotel martinez
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen

This five-star property draws its architectural inspiration from the art deco era that first appeared in France after World War I and began flourishing internationally in the 1920s. Wandering around the hotel, with its chic combination of traditional craft motifs, Machine Age imagery, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation, made me think of The Great Gatsby.

hotel martinez
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen

Gazing straight down into the dizzying swirl of the ornate central staircase (protected under French law as a historical monument) is enough to transport one back to the années folles (the crazy years) of social, artistic and cultural dynamism. The lush colors in our room and the hand of opulence in the design of the spacious bed encouraged notions of time travel even more. It comes as little surprise then that the hotel’s vast Penthouse Suite was once billed at $37,500 per night, and thus the fourth most expensive hotel suite in the world by CNN two years ago.

hotel martinez
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen

Of course, the inherent comforts of such a luxury property extend far beyond enticing marble bathtubs and sensuous silk curtains and bed covers. There’s also the discreetly walled 30-degree heated swimming pools and terrace out front on the ground level beside Le Relais restaurant, L’Amiral piano bar and the private Zplage beach a few steps from the main entrance across the double-lane Croisette.

hotel martinez
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez

Not to mention the two Michelin starred La Palme d’Or restaurant. It’s little wonder celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas, Bruce Willis and Nicole Kidman chose to encamp here during the annual famed film festival which takes place at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès a mere ten blocks away.

hotel martinez
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez

In tribute to an earlier celluloid era, you can also browse vintage black and white photographs of Brigitte Bardot, David Niven, Claudia Cardinale and former French heartthrob, Alain Delon while you sip the hotel’s special Cosmopolitan Martinez in L'Admiral. Living up to its high status, glass presentation cases dotted around the hotel’s cream, gold and chocolate brown lobby feature Eres swimwear, Berluti and Mercedeh shoes, as well as Chanel handbags. Svelte bronze sculptures of Aphrodite and Eve by JL Landraud stand side by side in the center, lending an added air of sophistication to the overall ambiance.

Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez

Weather permitting, dining alfresco at Le Relais restaurant where breakfast is also served, is an enjoyable experience. Located near the pool, guests sit among palm and olive trees, at simple square glass tables on whicker chairs. The menu created by head chef Christian Sinicropi reflects a Latin theme, with Picore starters as a series of tapas for two, sourced from either land or sea, guest’s choice. The Picore de la Terre includes vitello tomato yakitori, osso bucco cannelloni, acidulated poultry medallions and beef tartare. The chef’s ravioli are filled with sweet chard, basil and ricotta; and the secreto of Iberico pig is slow-roasted and served with grenailles potatoes.

Service at the Martinez, as expected, is exceptional with eight golden key concierges on staff. The hotel also boasts its own exclusive fragrance for all its toiletries, 73 La Croisette, created in cooperation with Isabelle Bourdel, a Cannes-based perfumer. For scent lovers, the breakdown is verbena as top note; jasmine, rosewood, vetiver and cedar as middle; and patchouli, amber, sandalwood, tobacco and Mediterranean rock rose as base notes.

hotel martinez
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez

The Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel and the town itself owe much credit to English Lord Brougham who—history has it—stopped over on his way from Italy in 1834 when it was merely a tiny fishing village, and raved so much about it back in his homeland that many fellow aristocrats promptly flocked there for the mild winters and fine beaches. Now, with the onward march of modern transport, the hotel is only 30 minutes from Nice-Côte d'Azur international airport and five minutes to Cannes train station.

hotel martinez
Photo Courtesy of Grand Hyatt Hotel Martinez

Aside from leisure guests, the hotel has also developed its convention business offering over 2,500 square yards of conference space including 15 meeting rooms. L'Raphael spa, located on the seventh floor, has nine treatment rooms.

Offering a convenient location to downtown Cannes, attractive art deco ambiance, an illustrious history as well as excellent service, the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez remains a legend along the French Riviera.

Sean Hillen

Sean Hillen has been an international journalist and editor for over 30 years and published author. His contemporary novel, ‘Pretty Ugly’ is an intriguing ride through the murky undercurrent of the lucrative cosmetic industry http://www.seanhillenauthor.com/  Sean’s writing experience spans several continents - in Ireland, for the national daily The Irish Times and in England, as foreig...(Read More)

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