Rose-tinted luxury, with added discretion.
You might find it unseemly to swan around like a satrap in the great palace hotels on La Croisette promenade. A little too showy. A touch too sumptuous. And then there’s the inconvenience of being photographed every time you leave the place by rubber-neckers mistaking you for Johnny Depp. Lordy, I know the problem and sympathise.
So, for more discreet people like yourselves, let me suggest the Gray-d’Albion. It has the worldly air of a place which knows what civilised people need – but without chintzy, obsequious excess. And it’s a vital few yards back from the seafront, so affording much less trouble with the adoring fans.
In truth, the 200-room establishment isn’t outrageously attractive from the outside. It appears to have emerged from the 1970s 'hey-let’s-build-a-hotel-like-a-car-park' school of architecture. But the lines are softened by greenery and there’s usually a decent assembly of limos outside to distract the attention.
Inside, a recent makeover has left the establishment looking both sharp and attractive – with a touch of zest and splashes of fantasy. The lobby’s fashionable marble, slate grey ‘n’ wood look is enlivened by red armchairs which rather cleverly resemble rose flowers. There are rose motifs on the wall. It’s 21st-century polished and business-like, but with a feminine twinkle in its eye.
Bedrooms have that satisfying contemporary feel that everything’s been thought through, and taken care of: big and comfortable beds, adequate space, lots of light and darker browns, squared-off black headboards and see-through chairs at the dressing table. Legendary French designer Philippe Starck was apparently involved in the renovation. Then again, he usually is, for the very good reason that he’s the best.
More expensive rooms have terraces or decent balconies, though only the executive suite can be said to have a proper sea-view. In the rest, you’re looking out over the town or garden.
The Bar and Restaurant 38 (when will we get over the fad for naming eateries after the street number?) look pretty swish, in a 1930s-meets-2011 sort of way. You could, in other words, discuss iPhone applications, or chat up Bette Davis, while sipping and forking. (Well, of course, you couldn’t really chat up Bette Davis, her being dead and all, but it’s the sort of bar where you could recreate such an encounter with such a woman. And very good luck to you.)
There’s no pool, but the Gray-d’Albion has one of Cannes’ better private beaches just a short stroll away. The restaurant there is several steps up from ham-and-sand sandwiches. After – or, more likely, before – lunch you might take off from the landing stage for water-skiing, diving and all manner of other exhausting activities.
Later you will return to the Gray d’Albion, confident that the place will be humming smoothly and that no-one will be so crass as to remark upon your resemblance to Mr Depp. Believe me on that one.