Where the quieter people go.
There’s much to be said for staying in the centre of Cannes – and you don’t really need me to say it for you. The shops, the bars, the beach and the bustle are all to hand. Nor is it too far to totter home after you forget to put the cork back in the bottle of rosé.
But there’s also a decent case to be made for staying off-centre, in a peaceful haven to withdraw to when the bustle gets too much and all you want to do is sit in a healthy garden surrounded by bird-song. That’s where the Idéal Séjour comes in.
It’s not wildly off the beaten track – down a small residential street, about 15-20 minutes' walk from Cannes’ beating heart – but far enough to serve as refuge. Also as an excuse to stop your wife being seduced by big-ticket items. (“Buy it if you want, but you're carrying it back to the hotel.”)
More to the point, it’s a lovely spot, shot through with family warmth and cultured taste. It looks like a big villa, because that’s what it is: a light apricot façade with blue-green shutters and white columns holding up the porch. But what you notice first is the abundant horticulture bursting from the garden. It’s not a huge space, but it’s admirably effusive with colour and greenery. After breakfast there, you might find the rest of your day booked solid – with a book, a few more cups of coffee and encroaching bougainvillea.
Sanity and one of the warmest welcomes in Cannes
No problem sourcing books, either. The key public room within is a splendid lounge-cum-library festooned with bookshelves. Every home should have one. It lends a cultivated veneer to idling around.
The 16 bedrooms are by no means huge – this remains a two-star – but they’re prettily done and as fresh and clean as you like. Plus many look out over the garden, which is a delightful way to wake up. A handful have, this last year, been re-done on playful literary themes – fairy-tales and legends, adventure tales and so forth. The crime fiction one is dark and rather sombre, as you would expect. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure what to make of it. If you go, perhaps you’d let me know what you think.
And go you should, if you like getting into the hurly-burly but also like getting out of it again – to tranquillity, sanity and one of the warmest welcomes in Cannes … all on a pretty low-cost budget. There’s also a (very) limited amount of free parking on site. I’d ask about that before you arrive.