With curves in all the right places, Belle Plage gives Riviera Modernism a futuristic facelift transforming a 1930s seaside hotel into a sculptural sanctuary in the historic heart of Cannes. Like any œuvre d'art, composition is key, and designer Raphael Navot’s revamp includes plenty of painterly touches; vertical wooden shutters harmonise with organic silhouettes and bone-white walls are lit up by strokes of sherbet, blooms of bright mimosas and warm mood lighting. Tuck into Isreali-inspired fare next to Eyal Shani’s open kitchen before a sunset interlude on the rooftop terrace, where drinks are served from a sleek standalone bar parading (almost) 360 views from the palm-flanked stretch of Mediterranean blue to the terracotta rooftops of Le Suquet.
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Half a bottle of Champagne and a ‘gourmande’ assiette of local produce
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £139.91 (€156), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.20 per person per night prior to arrival.
Rates include a continental breakfast of fresh fruit, juices, cereal, yoghurts, a range of hot options and a selection of homemade pastries and cakes.
If all those curves have got you feeling groovy, the in-room speaker comes loaded with a curated playlist to get you in that Riviera state of mind.
At the hotel
Clothing boutique, terrace bar, free WiFi throughout, spa and garden restaurant (coming September 2022). In rooms: Nespresso machine and kettle, minibar, HD TV with Chromecast, Belle Plage bath products.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms are equally design-forward thanks to the keen eye of Raphael Navot and his team, each with made-to-measure features including woven headboards that recline into rugs, organic statement lights and modular stone desks. Suite Belle Plage is particularly noteworthy where you’ll find a halo-lit living room sprinkled with pottery and hand-selected hardbacks. There’s a bone-white bath tub, terrazzo flooring made from over-sized chips of marble, a fully-equipped kitchenette and two separate sea-facing terraces framing the Esterel mountain range in the distance. Executive rooms are best adapted to families, with a sofa bed for a third person or child.
There’s no pool, but the other belle plage is just minutes away.
The spa is the largest in all of Cannes, with ten treatment rooms, a Jacuzzi, fitness room, lush garden and health-forward restaurant. Choose from a roster of anti-aging procedures, detoxifying treatments and reflexology therapies, or sit back and let the dry heat of the sauna work its magic on your muscles. Access the spa for €120 a person (per access).
They say dress for the life you want, but in Cannes, it may be more appropriate to dress for the party you want an invite to. Throw in a couple of old-school glam gowns and some dazzling disco heels along with your sturdier, campagne-ready flats.
The hotel has elevators for disabled guests, accessible parking and wide-entrance bathrooms.
Eat at the banquet bar if you’re feeling curious - the chefs are happy to chat as they slice and dice their way through the evening.
Effortless tousled hair, soft lines and a statement straw bag to channel a Jacquemus-esque Riviera fantasy.
Crowning the top floor of the hotel, the appropriately named restaurant, Bella, is the brainchild of Eyal Shani, the ex-Miznon chef hailed by foodies as the Israeli king of pita bread and cauliflower. Specialising in Mediterranean sharing plates inspired by the flavours of Israel, all dishes are made last minute using seasonal ingredients from the Côte d'Azur. Inside, warm terracotta walls are punctuated with pastel accents; mint green vases, stripes of blush pink and coral, and a bespeckled terrazzo countertop from which a full continental breakfast is served each morning. Start your day with a healthy selection of fresh fruit, yoghurts, buttery pastries and homemade cakes – yes, the handsomely sage gâteau à la pistache tastes just as good as it looks. Dinner is a riot of mix-n-match veggies, seafood and masterfully cooked meats. Start with the beetroot carpaccio or whole leek sashimi, lead with the grilled calamari, tomato foam and yoghurt or a serving of hummus with roasted shrimps in a beurre noisette, and wrap it up with a theatrical crescendo; tender cote de boeuf sliced at your table. If you’re getting hungry, you’re not alone – the restaurant draws a crowd of well-attuned bon viveurs from Cannes and beyond, so be sure to book a table in advance.
During summer 2023, a second garden restaurant will open in the adjacent villa with a focus on good-for-you, low-calorie dishes.
Half-way between a baroque lemonade stand and a luxury yacht, you’ll find the bar on the wrap-around roof terrace where knee-weakening views of the sea on one side and Le Suquet on the other spread out behind scalloped glass walls. Rounded seating is set across the wooden deck, where the hotel’s emblematic trio of palms adorn a cocktail menu full of Israeli-inspired concoctions. Favourites among them include the Mazel Tov (arak, sirop de datte, pomme, caviar de vanille, ginger ale) and the refreshing Eilat (rose liqueur, Saint Germain, Champagne Veuve Clicquot, lemonade), as well as all the classics and potions sans alcohol for the sensible.
At Bella, lunch runs from noon to 3pm and dinner from 7pm to 11pm. The bar opens daily from 5:30pm and mixes its last 75 at 1am.
The on-call drinks menu means you needn’t change out of your bathrobe to enjoy a sunset Mimosa or two, just scan the in-room QR code and put your feet up, slippers are optional.
Set on the edge of Le Sequent’s lively old town, Belle Plage occupies prime territory between storied streets of mediaeval architecture and the palm-lined promenade of Du Midi beach.
Nice Côte d'Azur Airport airport is 25 km away, and is served by most of the main airlines.
Cannes-Voyageurs train station is a 15-minute walk from the hotel, with direct connections to all main cities in the South (Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nice and Montpellier) and beyond.
The Côte d'Azur has plenty of jewels in her crown and with four wheels, you can savour them all. Hire a ride at the airport, there’s parking at the hotel for €40 a night.
Yacht-spotting is a hot pastime here in the land of lions, where a pair of sturdy binoculars may reveal the likes of Clooney or Rhianna drifting upon deck. Join them by mooring at Port Pierre Canto and Port of Cannes, two of the city’s biggest marinas, or go incognito at the smaller Port de la Pointe Croisette and Port Mourré Rouge.
Worth getting out of bed for
Cannes’ fair shores couldn’t be more conveniently located for day-tripping, with Monaco’s moneyed microstate and the party-goer paradise of St Tropez on its doorstep. Hire a boat and explore the Cote d’Azur by sea, or drive through winding lavender fields in search of Provence’s fabled villages and vineyards. Thirty minutes away, you’ll find Chateau Sainte Rosaline, a prestigious 12th-century estate created by Pope Jean XXII. Here, you’ll find over 100 hectares of vines, a romantic cloister and a fabled chapel filled with works by Chagall, Giacometti, Bazaine, and Ubac. You’ll also find a heart-flutteringly good rosè (when in Provence…), so we recommend booking in for a tasting session. While you’re there, Gorges de Pennafort is a fine spot for a hike – though you might want to let the wine wear off first. Back in the city, the iconic La Croisette is prime location for an afternoon amble, dotted with casinos and designer boutiques. Go star-gazing at Carlton beach club where the who’s who of Hollywood make a splash, or lie low (by which we mean horizontal on a lounger) at La Môme.
For views and vibes, La petit maison, like its sister restaurant in Nice, is a firm coastal favourite thanks to Yiannis Kioroglou’s Provencal provisions. Live music sets the scene for a menu of artichoke salad with anchovies cream, fried zucchini blossoms and marinated sea bream. Our top tip? Bag a seat on the terrace, where the view stretches out from Cap d’Antibes to the Lerins islands. Similarly reputable, there’s Mamo Michelangelo. Peppino Mammoliti – otherwise known as ‘Chez Mamo’ – has been dubbed the king of Cannes by his star-studded habitué which includes everyone from DiCaprio to Beyoncè. Spread across four rustic rooms, expect a taste of old Italy with dishes like raviolini in truffle oil and cream or slow-cooked lamb shoulder with rosemary and balsamic. For low-key evenings, head to Lou Miedjou in Antibes, a small family restaurant with retro flooring, cafe banquettes and a menu of simple, regional dishes.
The sweetest of teeth will be satisfied at Volupté Anytime Café, where creamy, nutella cappuccinos are served alongside a repertoire of crumbly pastries and buttery cakes. For more savoury snacking, the loved-by-locals Green Bagel Cafeoffers a selection of American-style bagels – go for the best-selling ‘Grizzly’, loaded with cream cheese, salmon, avocado, capers and onion confit.
With costumes that, frankly, make Lady Gaga look like a librarian, Medusa’s cabaret cocktail bar is a pink and purple sprawl of maximalist delights. Dark and dramatic, expect velvet booths, neon lights and disco balls in abundance, along with an artful drinks menu of equally glamorous creations. Though if you’re hankering after a classic – a light, fruity Bellini, say – you can’t go wrong at Harry's Bar, Europe’s oldest concoctionists. With famed seats in Venice and London, Cannes’ newest addition continues its legacy as the perfect place to bend the elbow.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this curvaceous hotel in the French Riviera and unpacked their La Kasha linens, cat-eye sunnies and satin hair bows à la Bridget, a full account of their design-forward break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Belle Plage in Cannes…
Arriving at Belle Plage you may sense that you’ve been launched into some kind of cocooning hereafter whereby fluid forms and organic architecture reign. A 1930s hotel redesigned by the ‘anti-industrialist’ designer Raphael Navot, guests are greeted by a floor-to-ceiling library of Cycladic white, cavernous nooks filled with sculptural ceramics. Infact, the whole experience feels a little bit like an art installation; curved ceilings and walls mimic the Mediterranean waves that shrink and swell on the neighbouring beach and each piece of custom-made furniture fits so neatly into place, you’d swear it had always been there. The sensual design extends across the hotel’s 58 rooms where natural materials and pastel hues let the details speak for themselves – art deco light switches pay homage to the building’s history, shell-like statement lights illuminate the Riviera’s rich seaside mythos, and the views from the arched private terrace? Well, we hope you’ve brought your camera. There’s a women’s clothing boutique should you fancy a spot of retail therapy between juicing and Jacuzzis at the ten-room spa and garden. But the belle of the ball has to be the rooftop terrace, where famed chef Eyal Shani rolls out Isreali sharing plates and dreamy cocktails in the company of sweeping seaside vistas and the Massif de l'Esterel beyond.