Eating and drinking
Who stays there
- Backpackers / Students
- Families with younger children
- First-time travellers
- No fuss
A night in Cannes - for the price per person of a round of drinks.
It’s a little-reported fact that not everyone who goes to Cannes is rich and famous. Most are no better-known than you or me – household names only in our own houses, and then not always. And many are of modest means. Even those who have a bob or two don’t necessarily like to flash out the price of a small car on breakfast.
Thus it was that a young, impecunious friend of mine got in touch recently. His wife wanted him to take her to Cannes. (“Cannes!” he cried. “What’s wrong with Rhyl?”) I calmed him down, talked him through the trauma of crazy feminine demands and pointed him in the direction of the Cybelle. He was almost embarrassingly grateful.
The fact was that he and his belovèd stayed bang in the centre of Cannes – 50 yards from the station, five minutes from the front - for £46 a night. Granted, it was off-season but, even so, a full night for the cost of a round of drinks in snazzier establishments was a source of joy. The more so that it didn’t involve much in the way of concessions.
The Cybelle may be the cheapest, and lowest-graded, of our Cannes hotels but, my word, it’s cheerful, polite, clean and ultra-friendly. And the owners speak English, as well as most other European languages. Slotted into a side-street off the main Rue-d’Antibes, it rises next to a wig shop – useful indeed if that last-minute hair-do goes haywire.
Of course, the 12 bedrooms and bathrooms are tight, and more practical than stylish. Views tend to be over the back-yard. But they’ve got TVs, free WiFi and a certain air of freshness which tells you that the owners care. This is not invariably the case in French one-star hotels, many of which retain a statutory commitment to eau-de-cabbage aromas. No such problems arise at the Cybelle.
You wouldn’t expect a lift, and you don’t get one. There’s a spiral staircase instead. Breakfast is served in the bedrooms, which doesn’t suit everyone, not least because there’s not a lot of space. But, if you really object, you can always nip out for your coffee and croissants. You’re in the heart of Cannes. Cafés and pâtisseries abound.
And that’s the point. Once you’re out of the hotel, you’re getting the same Cannes as the plutocrats in the palace hotels paying a zillion euros a night. Same sea. Same views. Same sun. Same town. My young friend was delighted. “It was like when you’re flying somewhere and discover that you’ve paid 70% less than the bloke in the next seat,” he said. “Very gratifying. We may have seen the last of Rhyl.”
I objected. I won’t hear a word against Rhyl. But, if you’re coming to Cannes and want to spend what money you have while you’re awake – rather than paying a fortune for a hotel room and so spending it while you sleep – you’ll find the Cybelle as welcoming as can be.