Celebrated for hosting the world's most glamourous and ritzy film festival since 1932, Cannes is one of France's most sought-after destinations for Mediterranean sunshine on the French Riviera. As Cannes MICE venues have also catered to such international events as the staging of the G20 Leaders' Summit, it looks like there is plenty of versatility within the city's retinue of luxury hotels.
Cannes is 20 miles southwest from Nice, but approximately 15 miles to the northeast of Nice Cote d'Azur Airport (NCE), which has service from all over Europe, although its only North American service is to New York City on Delta Air Lines and one seasonal route to Montreal.
Chief of MICE venues in Cannes—where that recent G20 summit was held—is the Palais des Festivals et des Congres. Built in 1949 as a host venue for the film festival, the Palais has had much renovation of the last few years: Today, it contains the 2,281-seat Auditorium Louis Lumiere, the 1,068-seat Theatre Claude Debussy, and nine other auditoriums; a terrace for up to 800 persons and the 13,006-square-meter Hall des Expositions, among other spaces.
Cannes MICE hotels include the 349-room Hotel Majestic Barriere Cannes, which has 18 meeting rooms and is opposite the Palais des Festivals et des Congres; the 343-room InterContinental Carlton Cannes, which has 10 meeting rooms for up to 1,000 persons and a beachside restaurant that can host up to 2,000; the 261 rooms ( including 50 suites ) JW Marriott Cannes, which has 16 meeting rooms for up to 1,200 persons, including an 820-seat auditorium (as well as a rooftop terrace, Le Panorama); the 134-room Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso Cannes, which has 465 square meters of meeting space, including one room that overlooks the Mediterranean; the iconic, 62-room Hotel Splendid, which offers the Offenbach lounge and terrace for events; and the 45-room Five Seas Cannes, which has three meeting rooms and some very cool, boutique corners tucked away for smaller events.
Unique places to hold that event include Le Baoli, a palm-tree'd expanse of general decadence that turns into a nightclub and has all the required sofas, waiters, plush lounges, pools, sea views, and sense of extravagance needed for a great event; and Theatre Alexandre III, which has Art Deco exterior architecture, a cinema, and space for conferences of up to 176 persons. Two stunning chateaux in the area are Chateau Diter, approximately 10 miles north of Cannes, in Grasse, a glorious mansion in acres and acres of landscaped grounds that have arches, lawns, pools, courtyards, gardens, statuary, and room for up to 2,000 guests; and in Mandelieu-La Napoule, the more castlelike Chateau de la Napoule, sitting right on the Mediterranean with fairy-tale grounds, rooftops, lawns, and tented areas that can be lit up and carpeted and generally made to look more than fabulous. Finally, if you wish to mimic the movie crowd, then rent a yacht from Ocean 5 Yachts, which has a variety of sleek craft to choose from with the freedom to choose an exact itinerary, including nearby Ile Sainte-Marguerite.
The restaurants here are pretty grand and memorable, too. Consider Vegaluna, which is on Cannes' seaside road Boulevard de la Croisette, with its own beach and space for private dinners and for receptions of 70 persons or more; or, a little farther around the corner to the east, also on the sea with its own beach, L'Ecrin has a film-star feel, 150 deck chairs, a private pontoon, and room for 200 persons for dinner and 300 for receptions. La Guerite, an away-from-all example of the charmed life on Ile Sainte-Marguerite, is open from late April to early November, with a waterside terrace and a shuttle service back to Cannes. L'Affable, which has a fine-dining menu of French fare in a formal restaurant to match. Lastly, open since 1948, La Potiniere du Palais, which has served Pablo Picasso and has a fine-dining menu and a private dining room.