This year, the Cannes Film Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary after a couple of years, again in the spring from 17 to 28 May. Once again, the legendary Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes on La Croisette, just across the road from the Palais des Festivals, will be playing host to the Festival.

The hotel has been a regular partner of the Festival since its creation in 1946, when François André, founder of the Barrière partner, sponsored the first event. Over the years since then, many of the world’s top celebrities have stayed here. Rooms for all 12 frenetic festival days are usually booked up months in advance. You will certainly be told a story how once, in the heat of the forum, some presumptuous American, who did not take care about reservations in advance, drove here in his car, ordered to bring his suitcases, went to the lobby and was surprised to find no vacant seats. However, the hotel’s owner Lucien Barrier couldn’t turn down a guest – it was Paul Newman – and gave the star his suite. The legendary guests do not “leave” Le Majestic Cannes the other days of the year. The carpet in the sumptuous Diane cinema is paved with the names of Cannes triumphers. They “look out” from the walls of the corridors and halls. Their black and white images are an indispensable attribute for the interior of the Fouquet’s restaurant.

The hotel is inhaling the festival and working towards it. Ballrooms are booked for private dinners, meeting rooms are prepared for press events and luxury suites are transformed into showrooms and headquarters for big-name brands. The Kering group, which owns Balenciaga, Gucci, Saint Laurent and Brioni, chose the Majestic penthouse on the top floor, with a private terrace and swimming pool, from where one can admire both the skyline and the sunset over the Esterel mountains and the Croisette, particularly spectacular in the glow of night lights. Dior will be in the stunning penthouse bearing the name of Christian Dior and designed by the brand when it opened in 2010, from the wallpaper to the fixtures and fittings. At one time the hotel room, where the famous couturier stayed, was where movie stars tried on their evening dresses before “climbing” the red staircase. These moments are captured in the pictures, which decorate the walls of the penthouse.

To this day, the hotel staff are always on hand to help and meet the various and sometimes trivial needs of their guests in the most professional way possible. Two years ago, for example, one of the hotel’s seamstresses had to urgently mend a torn dress on the red carpet in the limousine that was taking the famous actress straight to the car. “You probably think this is just an anecdote,” says Sophie, head of the hotel’s maids, – but in reality we face this kind of problem every day. During the festival every task is urgent, especially when it comes to getting on the famous carpet. The deadlines are so tight that the tailors adjust the costumes literally minutes before the exit. Of course, we cannot show our star guests that we are tired! On the contrary, once they’re in the hotel, everything is arranged so that they can relax and unwind as much as possible.” Gilles Bastoni, head concierge of the hotel and the manager of a team of 50 staff, says: “For us this is the busiest time of year but it is also the most exciting! One day our guest forgot the dress she was going to wear at the opening of the festival so our bellboy flew to Paris to fetch it! He managed to get back just in time for the ceremony.”

Another venue that promises to be particularly busy these days is the hotel’s beach, La Plage Majestic. You can drop in here for a casual lunch with friends or a formal evening event (such as the closing dinner on Saturday 27 May). Of course, there are the film stars: Sylvester Stallone went parasailing here in a dinner jacket and a couple of years later Leticia Casta did the same in an evening gown. And how many interviews were filmed on the La Plage pontoon, with the Mediterranean and the Lérins Islands as a backdrop…

Photo: press-office