So, I just got back from a long weekend in Cannes. It was in part an additional birthday present from Ian to me. As you will remember I spent my actual birthday in Croatia in the beautiful spa resort Falkensteiner which was for me one of my most memorable. Coupled with family in the form of my sister, one of my closest friends and my boyfriend Ian, and in the presence of abundant luxury, sunshine and serenity my day was pretty close to perfection.
Falkensteiner has unobstructed views of the sea and because of it’s position it also gets some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.
Their spa, which is part of the German designed hotels flagship Iadera is huge, with 2 large infinity pools, a collection of sauna’s, steam rooms, relaxation rooms, water beds and a hammam and is decorated with a heavily Arabic influenced theme in their “black spa” (an area decorated in black tiles with lanterns and a moody, exotic, sensual feel where you can opt out of wearing clothes or just wear a pashmina – no clothes allowed), or the more conservative “white” spa with swimming pools, sauna’s and steam rooms where it is swim-wear only.
I was intrigued by the concept of a black spa so I stayed in their the whole time I was there, and also because it was so vast and arranged like a maze so I kept on getting lost which was a first. I’ve never got lost in a spa before! Usually the spa’s I go to are very small and you struggle to find anywhere to get some privacy ( I was especially worried about this aspect of it since I knew I could stumble upon some naked strangers!), but this spa was so big that there didn’t seem to be much chance of that. And thankfully I didn’t see another soul.
In particular I liked their “Earth Sauna” which was a sauna that had been built into the side of a hill and had a large pane of glass going across the front and side where you could look out at the landscape beyond. The sauna could have easily fit about 30 people in it it was so big but luckily for us it was just the two of us. The view of the sunsetting over the mountains was particularly special.
In one of their relaxation rooms they had large square beds that were suspended from the ceiling by wire ropes and these beds would sway gently back and forward so it felt as though you were being rocked gently to sleep. It was extremely relaxing lying on those beds!
Aided with his camera phone Ian took a few pictures of the sunset at the spa which though beautiful was even more breathtaking in real life. Please believe, these pictures do not do the place justice:
Cannes was a different kind of luxury – less natural, more moneyed. I think unless you’re a part of the millionaire and billionaire world you won’t get much enjoyment from being in Cannes because it is extortionately expensive and a lot of it is overhyped too. Being in other expensive places such as Las Vegas and Ibiza I could at least say that mostly you got what you paid for, but in Cannes there seemed to be a lot more style over substance and it didn’t seem as though the standards were as high as I would expect for the kind of money they were asking for. Take for instance their beach clubs.
We just wanted somewhere with a bit of luxury, space and privacy where we could sunbathe and relax for a few hours instead of being at the cattle market that was Cannes beach where everyone and his dog (yes, you heard me, I said dog as dogs were also swimming in the sea with people!) was present. But it took us trying 5 different beach clubs before we were able to even get in to one. Either they were full up (but didn’t look so), or were reserving the beds exclusively for there hotel guests. What stupidity and utter pomposity. Also, they wanted at least 35 euro’s for the pleasure. At least. We finally found one that was available and Ian was able to barter the bed attendant down from 48 euro’s (what?!) to 35 euro’s for a bed, still overpriced if you ask me.
This one was supposedly one of their more luxurious beds as they were situated on a raised platform built going out to sea so you had the benefit of a sea breeze (it was uncomfortably hot), however when we were taken to said beds we found that we had been rammed up against the next sunbather til almost a point of indecency AND this woman happened to be a chain smoker.
Surely they weren’t expecting people to pay for this? – They were. We looked over and saw that everyone on the platform, who were sweating profusely from the intense heat of the sun was in exactly the same position as us: Hemmed in. Now to their credit the beds were very comfortable BUT we had the same view as everyone else: Of an overcrowded and not particularly clean beach with dogs swimming in the sea and too many children for my liking. One child even had an open wound that he was parading in and out of the sea with. Revolting. Though there was undoubtedly less people on this part of the beach, it wasn’t exactly private as people were able to walk up and down it quite freely and ever present were the people selling things you didn’t want nor need. Also, the drinks service was pretty poor. It served it’s purpose: as a place for us to relax for a few hours and cool off in the sea, but for 35 euros I think I would rather buy a bed and find somewhere else to go particularly when we went to pay the bill and found that they were going to try and charge us 24 euro’s for the pleasure of using their towel! I don’t think so.
Unfortunately, I fear Cannes is the kind of place that has been hailed as a second home for the rich and famous because it caters to them very specifically but what is disappointing is the fact that they charge a premium for things that are average at best and think that the location has them deserving. Well, I’m sorry to say that no, it does not.
I enjoyed my birthday dinner at Seasens restaurant in the 5 star hotel Five Sea’s where I had a wonderfully fresh and delicious black cod whilst fireworks display went off to dramatic affect in front of us. I didn’t know what they were celebrating with the fireworks but it was a nice thing to experience upon my birthday celebration and it lastest almost the entirety of our meal.
On the other hand though, the apartment that we stayed in that Ian got through Airbnb was amazing. It was a loft apartment in the centre of Rue d’Antibes, so to gain access to it we had to climb a very steep staircase to get to it but boy was it worth it.
A modern all white apartment decorated to a very high standard with handle-less doors and cupboards and the latest appliances throughout, large starlight windows bringing in lots of light and creating space, with wooden beams, luxurious woollen rugs, exposed brick walls and a beautiful roll top bath centrepiece in the bedroom. The apartment had cleverly designed feature walls showcasing ornaments and floral arrangements that complimented the earthy colour scheme of white, brown, green and cream and carefully thought out lighting displays. Comfortably sleeping up to 4, it was in my opinion more suited to couples rather then a family, if only for the ridiculously long and tiresome journey to the top of the building via the staircase and the expensive furniture and art that was within it.
Unfortunately when we arrived at the apartment we found that the wifi wasn’t working but we didn’t plan to spend much time in the apartment anyway. We were too busy spending money in Cannes extortionately priced restaurants and beach clubs! But yes, it was a nice experience, if only to get a taste of the rich and famous lifestyle but I definitely would not wish to live amongst it, it’s a little too fake and insubstantial to me. But also, it’s not a good idea to go away in high season, we never usually do and this short holiday reminded me why: It’s too hot, too overcrowded, overpriced and full of children!