Cannes is a city located in the French Riviera. It is a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival and Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. It features incredible shopping (from Versace to Gucci) and is no wonder that the French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur) was one of the first modern resort areas and is still a popular vacation destination. Located on the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, Cannes is the perfect place for a Girlfriend Getaway.
On the famous Boulevard de La Croisette in the heart of downtown Cannes, next to the beautiful sandy beach is the iconic Hotel Martinez
, which was our luxurious home during our stay. Stars such as Eva Longoria, Benicio del Toro, Tim Burton, Woody Allen, Javier Bardeem, Naomie Watts, Meg Ryan, Lionel Richie, Pharrel Williams and Mila Jovovitch have all stayed at the Hotel Martinez, so (of course) we felt right at home in our suite complete with an outdoor terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
The Hotel's own private beach, Zplage, is just steps across the boulevard from the front door and evokes a laid back atmosphere in the daytime with sun loungers on the pontoon, as well as delicious food and drinks. On summer nights, Zplage turns into a Cannes hot spot with music (focusing on disco and seventies), cocktails and a tapas menu.
After lunch at Zplage's waterfront restaurant,
we enjoyed spa treatments. I chose the one-hour Lancaster Facial Absolute Oxygen Sensation. For most facials, you must chose either moisture or anti-aging. However, with this treatment option, you no longer have to choose. This beauty ritual does it all, responding precisely to what your skin needs with in-depth re-oxygenation and regeneration of the skin. After the spa, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at the Zplage Beach Club with our own sun loungers on the pontoon and a bottle of rose wine. I discovered in the French Riviera, they don't ask you if you want wine, they simply ask you what color wine you want.
Our evening began with champagne at the hotel bar, Bar l'Amiral that features live music and both indoor and outdoor seating, and was followed by dinner at the Bistro Le Relais Restaurant. We all turned in early as we were still trying to adapt to the time change.
The next morning we left the hotel's pontoon, boarded our private boat and made our way to Saint-Honorat Island, which is located off the Bay of Cannes, opposite the Martinez Hotel. In the year 405 on this parcel of land in the middle of the sea, a monk named Saint Honorat established a place for the monastic life. In 1869, the island saw the arrival of the first Cistercian monks from the monastery of Senanque. Today, about 20 monks still reside there are maintain a vineyard, Lerins Abbey
, which produces 40,000-50,000 bottles per year. The monks of Saint-Honorat (or Monk Island as I called it) are earning acclaim for their wines. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a private wine tasting while at the island.
After working up an appetite tasting wine, we enjoyed lunch at the island restaurant La Tonnelle
, which involved more wine, then returned to Cannes by boat. The French Riviera is a major yachting and cruising area with several marinas along its coast, so the boat ride provided close views of some incredible yachts. The Riviera hosts 50% of the world's super yacht fleet, with 90% of all super yachts visiting the region's coast at least once in their lifetime.
Once back, we toured the old town of Cannes "Le Suquet" with its interesting history, lovely narrow streets and amazing views from the top of the Musee de la Castre. After a hotel tour (including the 10,700 square foot suite; one of the largest in Europe), we enjoyed a delectable dinner at La Palme d'Or Restuarant
, a two-star Michelin restaurant featuring Chef Christian Sinicropi. This was one of the most
decadent meals I have ever eaten with the presentation just as spectacular as the food. In fact, the chef and his wife make all of the serving dishes by hand so they create the exact type of presentation for each entree. We started with the Dublin Bay Prawn, marinated and roasted, as a tartare seasoned with sour and smoked flavors with splits of black truffle, purple Hollandaise sauce, basil leaves and combawa citrus fruits, and a cubic of beetroot gazpacho. Our entree was The Cheek of Veal, preserved and served with young carrots with mimosa seasoning and zests of citrus fruits. After that, we were presented with a selection of cheeses, a pre-dessert, then the restaurant's signature dessert, The Chocolate 'Palme d'Or' that is creamy and crispy golden Jivara chocolate with a Tonka bean ice cream. And if that was not enough, we enjoyed herb tea steamed right in front of us after the herbs were hand cut from the plant. To top it off, we enjoyed fireworks over the Mediterranean Sea thanks to a Russian wedding reception that was taking place on the beach just outside our table's balcony. Then, on our way out of the restaurant, we received a parting gift....more dessert!
After dinner, a few of us made our way to La Chunga
, a piano bar/club located just across the street from our hotel, for a night on the town. After all, we were in Cannes on a Saturday night. One minute we are outside with our cocktails, the next minute we are inside and someone is pouring us champagne out of a huge bottle that is on fire. Welcome to the party!