Elegance and free drink: the house guest experience.
The summum of Belle Epoque Cannes class was to have one’s own mansion or, failing that, to be invited as a guest to someone else's. Staying at the Cavendish is as close as you’ll get to the experience in the 2011.
Owners Christine and Guy Welter bring warmth, elegance and an almost theatrical intensity to their job as old-style hosts. One or the other is generally on hand at breakfast – and in the evening in the lounge where there’s a free open bar. You read that right. A free open bar. In Cannes. It’s a most civilised departure.
Some 10 minutes from the sea, the place rises on a main boulevard, quite confident of its status. Within, the lobby resembles an early-20th-century drawing room cleverly lightened for the modern era.
Murder: 21st-century Cluedo
One could easily stage a 21st-century version of Cluedo amid the blond-wood bookcases, red and soft grey furniture and drapes, funky lights and mirrors. The body would have to be arranged with taste, the great black and gold clock would have stopped at the hour of the crime and the murderer – a US art dealer – make his getaway in the antique see-through iron lift.
Or perhaps not. Bedrooms are soft with subdued Provençal colours and plump with appropriate period comfort. The lounge is richer in reds and golds, so quite suitable for good, home-made breakfasts - and, later, for those free apéritifs with fellow guests. (Forgive me re-mentioning that, but I think it's a brilliant idea.)
The Cavendish is near a big road, but the sound-proofing copes. And, once you’re in, the rest of the world doesn’t matter much, anyway.