Review: Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez

Introduction
Club International Seattle
Lufthansa Business Class Seattle to Frankfurt
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Frankfurt to Nice
Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Mediterranee
Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez
Park Hyatt Zurich
Swiss Senator Lounge Zurich
Austrian Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Business Class Vienna to Tokyo Narita
EVA Air Business Class Tokyo Narita to Taipei
Le Meridien Taipei
W Taipei
EVA Air Infinity Lounge Taipei
EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Taipei to San Francisco
Thoughts on Nice, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Zurich, and Taipei


As I mentioned in the last installment, earlier this year Hyatt announced that four hotels in France would be rebranded as Hyatts, which I was really excited about. I love when independent hotels rebrand as chain hotels, since you get the consistency and benefits you get through a global loyalty program, while getting something other than the typical “cookie cutter” experience.

Of the four French hotels being rebranded as Hyatts, two were in Paris, one was in Nice, and one was in Cannes.

We decided to first do two nights at the one in Nice and from there decided to do two nights at the rebranded property in Cannes. Cannes is just a 30 minute train ride from Nice, so visiting the two on the same trip is easy. The Grand Hyatt is a category six Gold Passport property, making it 22,000 points per night. For the nights we were staying, the rate was 450EUR+ per night, so using points was a no brainer.

There are a couple of things worth noting about booking stays at this hotel, though. First of all, as I uncovered after my stay, this hotel accepts “Premier” level Hyatt Stay Certificates, which can be purchased for $188.89 per night.  As I note in that post, though, there are capacity controls to stay certificates, but if you can find availability it’s an absolute bargain.

Also, if you’re booking a revenue stay here, it’s worth noting that this hotel belongs to both American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and Virtuoso. So if you book through either program you’ll get added benefits for your stay while paying just the Hyatt Daily Rate.

For American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts the added perks are as follows:

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And for Virtuoso the added perks are as follows:

Virtuoso_Benefits

On our third day in Nice we spent the afternoon in Monte Carlo and took the train from there to Cannes, arriving at around 6PM. It’s about a 15 minute walk down the Boulevard de la Croisette from the train station, so is very walkable.

Physically Cannes has to be one of the most pristine and beautiful places I’ve been, at least on the waterfront, and all the hotels are no exception. The Hotel Martinez was stunning on the outside, and not surprisingly it didn’t seem to have much Hyatt branding (which I can understand, since I’m guessing for the most part they’re going after a different market).

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Hotel exterior

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Hotel exterior

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Hotel exterior

At the door we were welcomed by the bellmen and offered help with our bags, which we declined. We were still escorted to reception, which was located at the far end of the lobby.

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Lobby

Instead of a traditional check-in desk, the hotel had individual desks with chairs for a more private check-in experience. The associate checking us in was extremely friendly and seemed mildly fascinated that we were “Hyatt” guests. She called over the Guest Relations Manager to welcome us, I assume because I’m a Diamond member.

We were informed of all the benefits we’d receive, including complimentary breakfast and a room upgrade to a sea view room.

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Reception

Our room was on the 5th floor, room 521. I thought every aspect of the hotel was beautifully designed, and thought the decor was a beautiful blend between modern and classic while not feeling shabby, which can be a tough combination.

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Hotel staircase

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Hallway

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Our room

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Floor plan

At the entrance was a long, narrow hallway which led to the bathroom on the right side.

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Hallway at entrance

The room had very “light” colors, and featured a king bed, a desk right by the TV, and two chairs with a side table by the window.

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King bed

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King bed

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TV and desk

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Chairs with side table

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Minibar

We had selected the Diamond welcome amenity in lieu of the 1,000 points. I’m happy we did, because it was one of the nicest Diamond amenities I’ve ever received. It consisted of a bottle of wine, some fruit, a bottle of still and sparkling water, and some macarons. Awesome!

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Welcome amenity

There was a small balcony which boasted spectacular views of the Boulevard de la Croisette, and of the bay.

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View from the room

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View from the room

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View from the room

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Panoramic view from the room

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Pool view from the room

The bathroom was pretty blinged out, and featured double sinks and a walk-in shower.

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Bathroom

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Bathroom

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Shower

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Shower

The amenities were identical to those at the Hyatt Regency Nice, interestingly.

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Amenities

The toilet was located in a separate, but equally blinged out room.

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Toilet

The hotel had free wifi, though much like at the Hyatt Regency, it was virtually unusable.

We had breakfast both mornings in the hotel’s restaurant, where you can eat either inside or outside.

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Restaurant entrance

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Restaurant indoor seating

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Restaurant outdoor seating

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Restaurant outdoor seating

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Restaurant outdoor seating

We chose to eat outside both mornings, given that one of the highlights of the trip had to be just how damn nice the weather was. Since the restaurant is at street level the views aren’t quite as spectacular as from the Hyatt Regency Nice, though it was great for car and people watching, given the number of people jogging on the boulevard.

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View from the restaurant

The buffet spread here was very similar to the spread at the Hyatt Regency Nice.

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Breakfast buffet

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Buffet

I found it interesting that they specifically had bread baskets for baguette, croissants, etc. The part that was most surprising is that every female that looked like a supermodel (and there were lots of them) must have put nearly a dozen pieces of bread in there, and consumed most of them. Puzzling!

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

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Buffet

While the spread itself was good, I did prefer the one at the Hyatt Regency Nice. Here the chef only made omelets, while at the Hyatt Regency the chef made omelets, pancakes, waffles, crepes, etc. Also, the service was extremely slow, and you had to more or less hunt down a waiter if you wanted a drink refill. That’s kind of surprising given how high maintenance the Cannes crowd usually is.

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, it had a beautiful gym and spa on the top floor.

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Spa entrance

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View of hotel from spa

The gym was about ten times as big as at the Hyatt Regency, and it even featured a beautiful terrace with some lounge chairs.

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Gym

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Gym

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Gym

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Gym

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Gym

The hotel also had a private beach right across the street, which was beautiful. The beach in Cannes seemed to be much nicer than in Nice, given that it had real sand as opposed to some gravel equivalent.

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Beach

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Beach

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Beach

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Beach

The one thing I’m still kicking myself over is that I didn’t know that apparently there’s a happy hour for Diamond members. In my post about how expensive things are in the South of France, reader Denise commented the following:

We had the same, outstanding Diamond Amenity. We bought some cheese at the grocery store and combined with the fruit and wine–that was dinner. To be fair, we also ate all the little nibbles provided at the Diamond Happy Hour in the bar so we were not super hungry!

She followed that up with:

@Lucky–they didn’t tell you about it? Anything you would want to drink at the (main hotel) bar between 5pm and 7pm. Don’t know if they had Fanta. :) The prices there were in line with the Club Sandwich. We were there three evenings and didn’t miss a happy hour–usually had 2 drinks each. One night I had 3 and hubby had 2–our bill would have been 119Euros and that was for basic things like Gin and Tonics!

I’m extremely bummed I wasn’t told about this.

On the whole this is an amazing addition to the Hyatt portfolio. This is the least Hyatt “feeling” Hyatt I’ve ever stayed at, which I consider to be a good thing.

I’m happy I visited Cannes, though I don’t really have to return. Cannes seems to me like a bit of a Disneyworld for 65+ year old men with a net worth of over 100 million dollars that want to show off their fast cars and granddaughter aged girlfriends. Cannes itself is boring. There are amazing restaurants and a nice beach, but there’s not much else to do in the immediate area. Nice was not only much more reasonably priced, but also offered a lot more to do.

The way I look at it, just about every place in the world is worth visiting, and the thing that differentiates destinations is whether you would want to return to them or not. I don’t need to return to Cannes, but I wouldn’t mind doing another trip to the South of France at some point and spending a bit more time in Nice and Monte Carlo, and maybe throwing in another day or two in Cannes. It’s certainly relaxing there.

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Comments

  1. What a stunning hotel/area. Great report! Love the commentary about the age 65+ patrons and their cars/girl friends.

    I’m shocked they kept the free drinks for Diamond level a big secret. 😉

  2. Thanks, Ben! You made my day! 🙂 We made the same observation about the men and their girlfriends/wives…but at breakfast one morning, I was observing a man and a woman (who I assumed was his much younger girlfriend) when the wife/mom showed up! But that was not the norm!

  3. Thanks for making me laugh so hard about your comment:
    “Cannes seems to me like a bit of a Disneyworld for 65+ year old men with a net worth of over 100 million dollars that want to show off their fast cars and granddaughter aged girlfriends.”

    This is “me” without the 100 million…..
    I was staying next door at the “Carlton Intercontinental”

  4. Not much to do in Cannes and Nice for travellers aged 40 and less . We call this area the “Florida” of France, mostly retired people in Nice and Cannes is really quiet apart from the Festival, the MIDEM and the few big events hosted each year. However, if you want relaxation and plan to avoid the crowds, April (before the festival) and the french october holidays are really good months for some R and R, with weather around the low 20 Degree C. and usually great weather.

    Did you get a look at how much Hyatt GP is charged for the room you were given ? Retail price is quite expensive and you’ll end up paying 2000 Euro + / night during the festival and MIDEM …

  5. Next June it will be the $100 million dollar men plus me and my wife who, thanks to you, booked three nights at $188/night.

    Lucky – we are no longer Diamond but mere Platinums. Any idea how much the breakfast buffet actually cost?

  6. @ vincent — It wasn’t on the invoice. The hotel seemed full, so my guess is that Gold Passport was paying somewhere close to the average daily rate — potentially a very expensive redemption!

  7. @ Steve S — Hope you have a great stay, and can’t beat the value of $188 per night, that’s an absolute steal.

    If I recall correctly the buffet was really expensive, somewhere around 40EUR per person. Much better cafes available just a few steps from the hotel, in my opinion.

  8. I agree with Lucky–I believe it was about 40EUR per person. It was a nice buffet, but IMHO, not worth THAT much! Also, for those of you who take long trips and may need to do laundry, there is a laundromat a half block behind the hotel and I did a week’s worth of clothes for 2 for about 10EUR. Probably the same at it would cost to have the hotel laundry wash a pair of underwear. Aaah, the lifestyle of points fanatics!

  9. We were at a hotel down the street a bunch of years ago. It was a base to explore the Riviera. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone of any age. In 2007 we found it was all Russians and Arabs and their fast cars.

  10. Having lived and worked for 4 years in the Principality of Monaco, I totally agree that Nice has far much more of interest than Cannes, including te Old City and museums. When I wanted to get away from Monaco, which can be suffocating for a resident, I’d either drive across the border to the beach towns in Italy or, for a longer sojourn, go to St. Tropez which, except for the months of July and August, is splendid.

  11. Let me explain the supermodel paradox. In France the word “bread” is a legal term with a specific definition. The main point is that there is NO sugar in it. A slice of whole wheat bread in the US contains approximately 1.25 full spoons of sugar! (And here you thought you were being healthy!)

    Most Americans look fat NOT because they eat too much or exercise too little, but because all wheat flour in the US has not only too much sugar but has been genetically modified (for higher farm yields) that breaks the blood brain barrier and causes addiction. The addictive behaviour in the brain is similar to the effect heroin has on the brain. If you are male and stop eating wheat for two weeks you will drop ten pounds. Replace everything you eat with almond flour instead of wheat flour and you will notice the difference within two weeks. Cheers!

  12. “This is the last Hyatt “feeling” Hyatt I’ve ever stayed at, which I consider to be a good thing.” Last= least?

  13. You have to see this place in mid-May during the Cannes film festival. THE place to see and be seen. That entrance ( round) is clogged with people and paparazzi, a real circus. Rolls Royce stop by and chaos erupts, it is Angelina Jolie! Oh God what a scene…

    And I agree with you, this is a place for 65 year old men and their porno looking girlfriends.

  14. Lucky, this time your (otherwise excellent) report might have done some damage… Hyatt pulled certificates for both Hyatt Cannes and Nice hotels… :(((

  15. Not sure what Miro is talking about – still bookable online. We have a reservation there with Hyatt certificates for next Spring.

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