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Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel (IHG One Rewards)

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This is our review of Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel.

Long term readers will know that I don’t accept many hotel review trips – the last one was Andaz Prague in December 2022. I obviously review other hotels but those are generally places I visit with my family (and pay for) or where I am staying as part of a conference or flight review.

I made an exception for Carlton Cannes, however. Not only is it one of the most high profile hotel openings of 2023, but I had never visited a Regent before. I had also stayed at the Carlton just over a decade ago, when it was well into its decline as an InterContinental, and wanted to see what ‘a few hundred million Euro’ had done to the place.

A lot, is the answer. Do go.

Carlton Cannes exterior

The photo above is taken from the hotel’s beach club.

The hotel website is here.

A quick word about Regent Hotels & Resorts

IHG acquired Regent Hotels & Resorts in 2018, see here, paying just $39m for an initial 51%.

Whilst the brand has been around for a long time, it had only six hotels at that point. Whilst high end they were not ultra-luxurious. The only European hotels were in Berlin, where it had taken over the Four Seasons, and Montenegro.

Whilst the Regent Seven Seas cruise line shares the same logo as Regent Hotels & Resorts, there is no longer any connection between the two.

IHG’s first move was to announce that InterContinental Hong Kong would reopen as a Regent after refurbishment, which it did this summer. This was a nod to the history of that property, which originally opened as a Regent before joining IHG.

IHG seems keen to position Regent above InterContinental. I suspect that InterContinental Amstel in Amsterdam (same Qatari ownership) may also swap brands when it is refurbished, and InterContinental Paris Le Grand would seem another obvious target. The snag with this strategy is that if you strip away its best properties, the overall InterContinental brand weakens.

From a loyalty point of view, you can earn and spend IHG One Rewards points at Regent as with any other IHG brand. Regent is NOT part of InterContinental Ambassador which means that Ambassador is diminished every time a top InterContinental hotel is rebranded.

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

The history of Carlton Cannes

The Carlton is the most famous hotel in Cannes, sitting directly in the middle of La Croisette, the beachside promenade. Opened in 1911, and extended to its current frontage in 1913, it has been part of IHG in its various guises since the 1960s.

The freehold was sold in 2006 and is now owned by an arm of the government of Qatar. There were press articles announcing an imminent refurbishment as far back as 2012, but work finally got underway in September 2020. The hotel reopened in March 2023.

Major changes have been made. Additional wings have been added to both sides of the hotel, containing long term ‘residences’ (apparently these may be sold off at some point, retaining access to the hotel facilities). An impressive spa and conference centre was included in the new wings.

The new additions – which are designed to minic the design of the original building – have fully enclosed the space which used to be a car park behind the hotel. This has been transformed into a garden and an outdoor infinity pool.

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

Arrival at Carlton Cannes

Getting to Cannes from Nice Airport is a bit fiddly. The easiest public transport option is the train, which involves wandering through the airport car park and beyond to the nearest suburban stop. I recommend having the hotel pick you up, or taking a taxi. The drive is around 30 minutes in decent traffic.

As I walked into the huge lobby I got a jolt of recognition from my previous visit, but everything was just ….. lovelier. The old layout has been retained except that reception has been pushed back into a new area overlooking the garden, keeping people out of the main lobby area.

Everything looks new, except it’s not. The hotel was keen to show me frescos and other bits of decoration which had been hidden for years and had appeared during the renovation – see the picture above as an example. It will never have looked this good, even on the day it opened in its current form back in 1913.

The dominant theme is white or light. With the Mediterranean just across the road, the designers seem to have decided not to compete with bright colours. It’s going to cost a lot of money to keep everything looking this white, but hopefully the hotel can manage it.

My room

The hotel had given me a top floor suite with a terrace and a partial sea view. I wasn’t going to turn this down, clearly, but I did visit a standard room as you will see below.

I should say that suites are decent value at the Carlton, compared to the cost of a standard room. The cost per square metre was lower for a suite on the dates I checked – which is rare – and the views should be better too. If you are just coming to Cannes to chill at the hotel, splurging for a suite is not a bad option.

Here are some suite pictures. The photos make the white and cream look bland, but in reality the sheer quality of everything shines through.

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

…. and the large living room:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

…. and the huge bathroom:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

The shower and loo are to the left as you look at the picture, with the loo having a door. Toiletries, as the eagle eyed may have spotted, are 75ml bottles of Acqua di Parma products. Standard rooms also have Acqua di Parma but in smaller bottles.

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

I won’t spend too much time talking about the terrace, since only a handful of rooms have them, but as you can see from this photo:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

…. it wasn’t a bad place to hang out, helped by the bottle of wine in an ice bucket helpfully waiting for me on arrival. I saw other rooms get this too – it wasn’t a media perk for me. The terrace also had a sofa which is not shown.

Inside a Premium room

Here are a couple of pictures of a twin bedded Premium room. This is one step up from the very cheapest room category, and a little larger.

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

As you can see, the decor of the room and bathroom is very similar to that of my suite, just obviously on a smaller scale. There is a standalone shower out of shot in the bathroom.

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

The pool and inner courtyard

Here is a view from the 7th floor looking into the courtyard. On the left and right are the new wings with the ‘residences’. Intriguingly, the building at the back directly overlooking the pool is not owned by the hotel – it is primarily full of short term holiday lets which get a great view of the pool and garden but can’t use it!

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

In early September, the pool was in shade until noon, and remained sunny into the early evening.

The grass, as you can just about see in the picture, has yet to fully bed in, presumably not helped by the very hot summer.

The loungers and cabanas around the pool were never full. There is a reason for this – they are not free. The September pricing is €50 for a day and €30 for a half day. This is cheaper than renting a lounger at the beach club as Part 2 will show. The hotel does not make it clear that you need to pay which may lead to some confusion.

Once you’re sat down by the pool, you’re looking at €14 for a diet coke from the cute pool bar:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

The pool is lovely – heated, long enough for laps and rarely busy – and is free.

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

The back of the original wing is a little boring, as you can see, but this is because it was never meant to be seen by guests. This used to be a car park remember!

Regular readers will know that I’m not a gym person, but the amount of equipment available here is impressive. Heck, there is even a boxing ring:

Carlton Cannes hotel gym boxing ring

There is also a small spa in one of the extension wings which I didn’t visit.

It’s the little touches ….

As I went around the hotel I found myself taking photographs of little things that stood out, all of which add to a sense of style.

Here are the interiors of the lifts:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

…. and above the elevators on the ground floor you get these old fashioned indicators:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

The back of the wardrobes have these details:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

My room had this lovely stationery box, should I fancy sending a letter (on Carlton headed paper, of course) or a postcard home:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

The plexiglass wall of the pool is set up to cast shadows of the hotel logo onto the walkway:

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

…. and what can you say about this fully restored staircase?

Review: Carlton Cannes, A Regent Hotel

As with Andaz Prague, the hotel has been careful to ensure that the wall of money behind this project didn’t force out individual ideas and quirks.

Do you realise what you don’t see? There are no Regent logos anywhere. None. At all. There is a small Regent plaque by the entrance and that’s it. Everything else is Carlton branded. If it swapped chains tomorrow the cost of the switch would be €50 for a new brass plate for the entrance!

In Part 2 of my Carlton Cannes review, click here, I’ll look at the beach club, bar and restaurants.

IHG One Rewards update – December 2023:

Get bonus points: Our article on IHG’s current bonus promotion is here. You will receive 2,000 bonus points for every two cash nights you stay until 31st December. Nights do not need to be consecutive. Click here to register.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here.

IHG is offering a 100% bonus (some members may be offered less) when you buy points by 30th December 2023. Click here to buy.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (27)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • LostAntipod says:

    As someone who has been visiting Cannes for years, isnt the aeroport bus from outside the airport terminal in Nice the easiest public transport option ?
    The traffic can be positively diabolical on the A8. I normally allow 45 minutes – and Ive known it to take nearly 2 hours which will land you with a larger taxi bill. The bus fare is now €19 one way – sadly they got rid of the discount return. The last uber i got on a weekday afternoon was €65. Best part about the bus – if a few of you are going the group tickets are much cheaper per person, 4 tix for about €45. The downside of course is you have to schlep your bags to the hotel from the bus stop.

    • RussellH says:

      Having come to the site late today – had to work – I was going to say something similar about the bus – except that on re-reading, I think you are talking about a different bus. Last time we were in Cannes, there was a direct service bus (I do not recall the number) from outside Cannes station to a bus stop on the main road just outside the airport. Cost no more than the ordinary local buses in Nice itself ~€2 as I recall. Not particularly comfortable – there were / are a lot of old boneshakers still in Nice.
      If taking the train I would get the tram into Nice and then the train from there.
      I agree with Rob about not trying to get to one of the local rail stations – nightmare.

      • Justin says:

        This is not quite true. There is a new train station by the airport- an easy 10 minute walk or 1 stop on tram. Most, if not, local services stop there.

        • Andrew J says:

          Agree, the train is very convenient and I would say nearer 5 minutes walk from the terminal.

      • LostAntipod says:

        Yes thats a local bus. The express only stops once i think, around Le Cannet. Used to be #210 bus but now its like #89 or something. Drops right outside the terminal across the tram tracks.

  • Ikaz says:

    The branding is similar to the (Fairmont) Savoy. I don’t recall any mentions of fairmont at the hotel, only on the emails and invoice. Whereas the Savoy logo was on ~30 items just in in the room, including the TV remote holder…

    • JDB says:

      Seems very wise; The Savoy is still a legendary hotel/name whereas Fairmont is rather haphazard and not really that well known. Like Intercontinentals, there are good ones, OK ones and shockers.

  • executiveclubber says:

    Gorgeous exterior, but oh dear. Those rooms look like they’ve been refurbed on a pretty low budget to me. Quite drab. The mishmash of new and old furnishings just doesn’t work for me (loud new headboard with a Victorian looking bedside table), nor does the pared-back bathroom (wooden sink with silver handles and gold mirrors). I would feel ripped off by paying for the beach club and breakfast on top too.

    • Rob says:

      It looks cheaper in the photos than it is. No cost cutting here. I even had a leather covered coffee machine, RRP £3,200:

      • meta says:

        You can spend a lot of money and it can still look terrible…

      • zxydxdm says:

        does the leather make the coffee better? :/

        • Rob says:

          Only to the extent that you mentally assume it tastes better because the machine cost £3k.

          • executiveclubber says:

            A worse Nespresso machine than in my kitchen, yet 40 times more expensive. Yeah, forgive me but I’m still not impressed…

          • dundj says:

            A Nespresso Pixie machine used to cost £70 on promotion, before they started pushing the Vertuo machines due to the patent on those capsules. For that machine to cost over £3k is absurd, nor would it make any capsules from the original design of capsules taste any better.

          • Rob says:

            I think if you’d just paid £5m for a 3-bed flat (the going rate on my street) you’d find a £3k coffee machine to have pride of place in your kitchen a rounding error.

            There is actually too little stuff for wealthy people, not too much. The market for high end laptops (where you pay more for better design and build quality, not faster chips) is very thin for example. Soft drinks is another – kids are paying £10 for Prime but where is the £5 can of high-end cola?

      • Novelty-Socks says:

        Utterly bananas. £3,200 can buy you a lot better coffee options than this Nespresso rubbish. It’s minor but I wish more places would think imaginatively about their tea and coffee-making facilities. This is like the perfect example of style over substance.

    • jj says:

      @executiveclubber, it’s Art Deco. The hotel was built in 1911, right at the start of the Art Deco period, so the style is entirely appropriate for the building.

      I think it mostly looks great. The thing that looks put of place to my eye is the large sofa in the suite, but that might just be an issue with the camera angle as most other details look spot on.

      • Rob says:

        The living room was actually substantially bigger than it looks in my photo – if I showed you a shot from the doorway the space looks quite empty!

      • meta says:

        It’s rather a contemporary interpretation of art deco. True art deco wouldn’t have that much whiteness. I am also missing mirrors, some striking paintings on the walls (mind you many hotels seem to forget about this!). White and magnolia paint are the cheapest…

        • Rob says:

          There’s nothing cheap here. €500m would be a fair guess at the refurb cost including the new wings. Peninsula London, just opened, is claiming a £1bn total cost.

  • Andrew J says:

    Great to see they haven’t succumbed to the large toiletries bottles yet.

    • Rob says:

      It’s EU law so only a matter of time.

      • meta says:

        I like that some luxury hotels have started giving pouches with single-use toiletries to take home. So you have a bottle to use while in the hotel and also you can take it home.

      • Andrew J says:

        Only a proposal at this stage, not law yet.

  • yorkieflyer says:

    50 euros for a sun lounger…gulp, I’ll stick with Spain and Greece thanks

  • Timbo says:

    Just back from Cote D.Azur, From Nice terminal 1(if you land at 2 free shuttle/tram to 1), walk across tram line then 200metres to promenade des Anglais, cross road on zebra crossing to airport promenade bus stop. Take bus 620(also shows 200) costs 2.5 euro get off at Cannes and walk down to croisette, this works with cabin bags obviously, this bus stops everywhere! takes about 50 mins to cannes depending on time of day, every 15 mins. if you have hold bags take bus from terminal 2 express bus buy tickets at ticket desk, costs 11 euro plus 5 per big bag, runs all day every 40 mins ish.

  • Martyn says:

    I have just been looking at prices in August:

    Crowne Plaza Nice – Grand Arenas

    Rue Costes et Bellonte, Nice, France

    Total Price
    41,660.01 GBP
    Aug 1-6, 2024
    Check in 3 pm

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