How to manage a hotel in Cannes, and welcome celebrities?

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The general manager of the iconic Martinez Hotel, which has hosted Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Naomi Campbell and many more, shows us. PS: It has Chennai connection

The general manager of the iconic Martinez Hotel, which has hosted Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Naomi Campbell and many more, shows us. PS: It has Chennai connection

It’s a blur of Vuitton, Valentino and Chopard at the iconic Hotel Martinez — In the Unbound Collection by the Hyatt, in Cannes.

As lavishly couture-draped celebrities enter and leave the hotel, ferried in beautiful cars, housekeeping staff, kitchen staff and concierge are on high alert. The same goes for A-list watchers, for a variety of reasons of course.

Julia Roberts at the hotel

Julia Roberts at the hotel | Photo credit: special arrangement

It involves hours of hard work, in every department. The laundry that serves the Martinez hotel is in permanent operation: net curtains, lace and silk, it easily washes 100 designer dresses a day. A crease on a Zuhair Murad? Quiver! Never!

View from the terrace of the Penthouse Suite

View from the Penthouse Suite terrace | Photo credit: special arrangement

The sprawling Art Deco property (44,000 square meters), which has stood proudly on the Promenade de la Croisette for 93 years, is a hot spot during the ongoing Cannes Film Festival.

It hosted the official opening dinner for 600 guests in its new ballroom and several gala dinners.

The ballroom that hosted the official opening dinner

The ballroom that hosted the official opening dinner | Photo credit: special arrangement

Despite the frenetic pace of this world famous festival, Yann Gillet, the dapper General Manager of the Hotel Martinez, says: “I love this time of year, this positive and glamorous energy… and I feel quite relaxed .

Gillet, who was the general manager of the Park Hyatt in Chennai until 2013, has a suitably glamorous Instagram feed. Over the past 10 days it has become a patchwork of photos featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Naomi Campbell…all guests staying at the hotel.

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway | Photo credit: special arrangement

Deepika Padukone was their guest for a jury dinner at La Palme d’Or, the hotel’s two-star Michelin restaurant where chef Christian Sinicropi sends dishes that look more like Monet’s canvas than food.

Chef Christian Sinicropi's menu

Chef Christian Sinicropi’s menu | Photo credit: special arrangement

As everything runs like clockwork, the planning is intense.

“Preparations for this year began as soon as the last edition of the film festival closed,” Gillet said in a video call from Cannes.

Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone | Photo credit: special arrangement

With the pandemic easing a bit, this year’s festivities are huge, he says. During peak season, which begins in May with the Cannes Film Festival, the hotel deploys 700 staff for that period alone through September. Otherwise, its 350 employees take care of the guests. “Everyone works a lot now, but we try to ensure that there is no more than 20% overtime,” says Gillet, adding that he understands the importance of work-life balance professional and private life.

The Martinez has recently had a makeover. Among the new features, the Oasis Du Martinez, a space dedicated to well-being. This even has a garden with wooden decks to catch up on rest, relaxation and yoga after the nightly revelry, which is the norm in this season.

A view of the Prestige Sea View Suite where Aishwarya checked in

A view of the Prestige Sea View Suite where Aishwarya checked in | Photo credit: special arrangement

Occupancy is full at the 410-room hotel, and the Premium Sea-Facing Rooms seem to be the favorite. “Aishwarya stayed in the Prestige Sea View Suite,” says Gillet.

Prestige Suite sea view

Prestige Suite sea view | Photo credit: special arrangement

With such frills, one wonders what the wallet damage looks like if you plan to check in next year and bask in luxury.

“Several tens of thousands of euros for the two Penthouse Apartments,” smiles Gillet. “These are the most expensive rooms in the hotel.”

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