by Lisa Grimaldi | September 01, 2004

Seaside at Cannes

Cannes do: The city’s Film Festival
is only one of the many
gatherings it hosts annually.

This glamorous city on the sunny Cotê d’Azur of France is perhaps best known as the site of the Cannes Film Festival, the annual late-spring cinematic event that draws movie stars and glitterati from around the globe. But the dazzle is present year-round, as manifested in the many elegant venues and properties hosting a wide variety of meetings, conventions and incentives. 
    A key piece of news for U.S. planners is that the Cannes Convention Bureau now has a representative in the States: Robin Baroni, managing director, Luxury Travel Partners (203-351-0888). The convention bureau also has a new website ( that details venue space available for special events, exhibitions, conferences and incentive functions, as well as providing contact information for Cannes hotels and destination management firms.
    And there is much happening at the city’s main meeting/exhibition facility, the Palais des Festivals et des Congrés. At the beginning of this year, a Wi-Fi network with 140 hotspots was installed throughout the venue, which features 270,000 square feet of exhibit space, 26 meeting rooms (including five auditoriums) and the 108,000-square-foot Espace Riveria, an event space with natural lighting. 
    Now, plans for expansion of the Palais are under way; by 2006, an additional floor with 32,400 square feet of exhibit/function space (to be created by raising the roof of the rotunda above the Espace Riveria) will be in place. This second-level rotunda will feature panoramic views of Cannes and the bay.
    There’s more to the Palais project: An underground expansion will provide 86,400 square feet of exhibit space, 43,200 square feet of storage under the facility’s Esplanade and a loading area to provide easier access for trucks. This second phase of expansion is slated for completion in late 2007 or early 2008.
Hotel update
    Nearly half of Cannes’ 5,200 hotel rooms fall into the four- and five-star categories. Among the more notable changes at major meeting and incentive properties, all of which are near the Palais des Festivals et des Congrés, are the following:
    The Noga Hilton Cannes has completed a refurbishment of all 234 guest rooms, which now offer business travelers larger desk/work areas, as well as its 12 meeting rooms. And in January, Wi-Fi service capability was added to the entire property, including at the beach and on the roof terrace.
    Seven luxury suites, all with their own meeting space and balconies offering glittering views of the Bay of Cannes, have been added at the InterContinental Carlton Cannes. The 337-room property, which was erected in 1912, recently completed a $1 million restoration of its guest rooms as well as a spruce-up of its grand facade.
    Also having completed various projects is the 413-room Hotel Martinez. The 9,000-square-foot Givenchy Spa, with eight treatment rooms, has opened, 11 junior suites have been added on the top floor and the posh 4,500-square-foot Suite des Oliviers has opened on the first floor. Also, the lobby, the Palm d’Or restaurant and guest rooms have been refurbished.

Other news
Cannes offers a multitude of diversions. Along with myriad restaurants and nightclubs and endless shopping, attendees can visit one of three casinos: the Palm Beach, the Casino Barriere de Cannes Croisette and the historic Casino Croisette, which reopened this year; the venue had been closed since 1996.