Location: Cannes, France
Overall Rating: 9/10
Located at an enviable location along the boulevard La Croisette in the heart of Cannes, the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes is one of the most iconic hotels in the world. During the Cannes Film Festival it is the most prestigious place to stay. It was also the primary location in the classic Cary Grant film, To Catch A Thief.
After I settled on Nice as the starting point of our trip this past summer, I simply couldn’t resist using our IHG free night certificates at the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes. Heading to Cannes wasn’t initially on the itinerary, but the amazing award redemption was simply too good to pass up. Instead of staying in Nice for 5 nights, I figured we would split our time between Nice and Cannes, spending 3 nights in each city and reducing our time in Italy by one night to compensate. Rates were over €380 the nights we were there, so it was a fantastic use of the $49 annual “free night” certificates, plus 60,000 points for the third night.
We arrived in Cannes by train and then took a local bus that dropped us just steps from the hotel. A €1 bus ride certainly beats a taxi or Uber. The entryway to the Carlton is gorgeous. While the Hyatt Regency in Nice where we had just stayed has an upscale elegance that is not overstated, the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes is far more decorative and grand.
I instantly knew we were at a top notch hotel. The service was impeccable. The doorman was extremely friendly, and insisted on taking my luggage. I generally protest as I feel my wife and I are more than capable of handling what we pack. Plus, we don’t tend to stay at places like the Carlton, so it still feels rather odd to let someone bring our luggage to our room.
The front desk is to the left as you enter the lobby from outside, and the concierge desk is opposite. The lobby itself is beautiful and imposing. Check-in went quickly for us, and we were told that we had been given an upgrade to a larger room. Technically, this is not something that IHG hotels are obliged to do for award stays for elite members, but I have found that some do nonetheless. I appreciate the gesture.
The lady at the front desk proceeded to walk us to our room, which was the first time we had ever experienced this. I found it awkward, but I can assume that it is simply par for the course at a hotel of this caliber.
The room itself was spacious and every bit as nice as I expected. It was furnished with a desk, a sitting area of two chairs and small table, and a king bed with nightstands, all of very nice quality.
The window could open slightly and overlooked the side street. If we had been here during the off season, I may have tried my luck at requesting an upgrade to a sea-view room. But in the height of summer, I doubted we would have much of a chance. Plus, I always hate asking.
There were two bottles of water provided when we arrived, and again each day during our stay. This was a staple at all the upscale hotels we stayed at during the trip, and it was very much appreciated. My wife and I both struggled to stay well hydrated in the heat.
The desk wasn’t especially comfortable for working, mainly due to the chair. Luckily, I didn’t need to clock more than just a couple hours during our stay. Other than that, it was nice enough.
The bathroom was reasonably sized and very, very nice. It featured a shower/tub, double sinks, and a separate area with a toilet and a bidet. And again, there was a phone in the toilet room.
One thing we didn’t do was eat breakfast at the hotel. It is a bit of a bummer that even at the highest status level (which we received as a fluke last year), IHG Rewards Club members do not get free breakfast. This is a staple perk of nearly every other well-known hotel loyalty program, including Starwood, Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt. Lack of free breakfast at any status level is one of the biggest shortcomings of IHG. There was no way that we were going to pay €34 per person for breakfast!
This meant we cooked in our hotel room the whole time. We do this a lot anyway since my wife has a sensitive stomach and cooking for ourselves is preferred. Plus, we’re pretty cheap. The markets in Cannes were within easy walking distance, so we were able to get fresh meat, fruit, and vegetables quite easily.
Although we very much enjoyed our room, my wife and I spent the bulk of our time out and about. Cannes is lovely. We enjoyed exploring the Lerins Islands both, and I even jumped in the Med for a brief swim while on Ile Sant Honorat.
Our other enjoyments were spending time at the Marché Gambetta, the open air market near the train station, and seeing the Musée de la Castre, which provides unbeatable views of Cannes and the Lerins Islands. We also walked Rue Meynadier which is one of the main commercial areas and has a great collection of small shops.
Overall, we loved our time at the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes. The hotel is iconic, and the service excellent. It was a memorable experience, and I loved that we got great value from our IHG certificates. The hotel is certainly above our typical travel standards, but this is what award travel is for!