Hotel Le Canberra

Cannes, Cote d'Azur, France Book from Eur137

Reviewed by Emma Love
A cool, kitsch hotel with a nod to 1950s glamour, set a short stroll from the beach in Cannes
The mere mention of Cannes is enough to conjure up images of Hollywood stars and the glitz and glamour of its annual film festival. Thankfully, though, there’s far more to it than that: the atmospheric narrow streets of the Old Town that wind up to the castle museum, the million-dollar boats jostling for space in the marina, and the famous seafront boulevard of La Croisette, where streams of beautiful people stroll in the sun.

Hotel Le Canberra feels like it belongs in Cannes. The entrance, on the main shopping street of rue d’Antibes, is an inconspicuous blink-and-you’ll-miss-it door, but as soon as we stepped inside we entered a world of black and white fashion photography, hot-pink furniture and flamboyant 1950s design. It’s a slick yet laid-back all-rounder, with 35 stylishly kitsch rooms and suites that are equally suited to families, friends and couples. Shopaholics and those who want to see and be seen will appreciate its proximity to designer boutiques, beach clubs and celebrity hangouts, but if it’s seclusion you’re seeking, you can retreat to the small pool and linger on a lounger with a book.

Highs

  • You can’t beat the hotel’s central position, just a couple of minutes’ walk from La Croisette and the beach
  • Chic rooms with sleek bathrooms; book a poolside room with a terrace and you’ll get a private sunspot, too
  • Fantastic vintage touches, including curved chairs from French designer Pierre Paulin
  • The terrace is ideal for cocktails on balmy Côte d’Azur evenings, and the lounge-bar serves light meals if you fancy lunch by the pool
  • Plenty to do in and around Cannes - markets, beaches, shopping and great restaurants, plus trips to Monaco, Nice and nearby islands

Lows

  • Rates don’t include breakfast (a pricey but tasty buffet)
  • There are only 3 parking spaces (charged for) and you can’t reserve them in advance, though you don't really need a car here
  • The pool is small with a limited number of loungers; sun-bathing space is snapped up fast in busy periods
  • Some feedback suggests the sound-proofing could be better, but we had no problems during our stay

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year. June and September are great times to visit as the weather is hot but the beaches are less crowded. Cannes is busiest in July and August, and during the Film Festival in May. There are minimum stays of varying lengths during certain trade fairs and events (see Rates).

Our top tips

On the way to or from the airport, it’s worth stopping off in Nice for a few hours. There’s the historic old town and castle to explore, as well as the famous Cours Selaya morning flower market, which is surrounded by restaurants serving moules-frites.

Great for...

Beach
City Style
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 35
  • Breakfast and light meals (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Sauna
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are 35 rooms and suites scattered over 4 floors. They’re split into categories according to view (street or pool) and size, but all are minimalist and chic, with 1950s-style statement furniture including curved chairs from renowned French designer Pierre Paulin. You’ll also find chrome anglepoise lamps, voile curtains, quilted leather stools and at least one black and white photo depicting Cannes’ starry heritage. Bathrooms are sleek and, apart from a spotlight casting a pink glow over the shower or tub, entirely monochrome.

The smallest Tradition Rooms overlook the street, while larger Privilege Rooms (2 with a private terrace, thus a bit more expensive) sit above the pool at the rear of the hotel. There are also several Junior Suites - some poolside, some streetside - with sitting areas and sofabeds that are ideal for children; one also has a terrace. The Suites aren’t particularly big, but they come with separate sitting rooms, again with sofabeds. The largest Prestige Suite has a private patio and a bedroom with round windows resembling a ship’s portholes.

We much preferred the rooms overlooking the pool as you can open the doors to let in fresh air (streetside rooms have windows only and can feel stuffy) - it’s worth paying extra for one of these, with a terrace if you can get it.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Breakfast is served in a glass-walled room at the rear of the hotel, or on the terrace overlooking the pool. It’s a buffet-style affair, so you help yourself to everything, even tea and coffee. We found ourselves going back more than once for the delicious apple Danishes and tempting bite-size pastries; there's also a selection of cheeses and cold cuts, plus fruit and glass dispensers filled with cereal.

There's no formal restaurant at the hotel, but cocktails, coffee and light meals are available from the lounge-bar, Le Café Blanc. The menu is short but well chosen, with cheese boards, club sandwiches, beef carpaccio, smoked salmon, tapas plates and a few dessert options.

It doesn’t actually matter that more sizeable meals aren’t on offer because there are so many great restaurants right on the doorstep. A few streets away are 2 excellent French restaurants, La Cave and L’Affable. Astoux et Brun is a famous fish restaurant that has people queuing out of the door every night, and you’ll be spoilt for choice in the Old Town, where there’s a multitude of pizzerias and informal family-run bistros. There’s no need to book; just stroll past, look at the menu and see what takes your fancy. For lunch, try one of the restaurants attached to the private beaches - they’re pricey, but sitting back and watching people pose on the sand is a real Cannes experience.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Light meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Step out of the front door and you’re right on rue d’Antibes, Cannes’ main shopping street, so grab your credit card and enjoy some retail therapy. The other shopping hub is La Croisette, where you’ll find all the high-end designer boutiques

  • Stroll the length of La Croisette, stopping off for a bite to eat at one of the seafront restaurants, then head to the beach - Cannes has 2km of sand curving round the bay. Most is set aside for private beach clubs, so expect to pay for a lounger and parasol; the central areas are the most expensive

  • Head to Le Suquet, the old part of town, where narrow cobbled streets lead up to the castle museum. From there, you’ll have panoramic views over the harbour and beyond

  • Browse the markets: Forville, on the far side of the old port and open every day (except Mondays in winter), and Gambetta, which is closer and sells great food, clothes, jewellery and shoes

  • Take a 15-minute boat ride to the Lérins Islands. The 2 main islands are Sainte Marguerite and Saint Honorat. Sainte Marguerite is the larger, nearer island, with a small village, several restaurants and good places to swim; Saint Honorat is more peaceful and has a working monastery

  • If you fancy going further afield, visit the village of Grasse, which is renowned for its perfumes. A guided tour of the Fragonard perfume factory is a highlight

  • You can also take day trips to Monaco and Nice (there are regular trains), or hop on the ferry to St Tropez

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Beach clubs
  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome, and families will appreciate the hotel’s proximity to the beach. Breakfast is free for under 12s.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Junior Suites and Suites have sofabeds for older children. Some rooms interconnect. There is a charge for extra beds and baby cots in Privilege Rooms, but they are free where available in all other room types.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Changing mats

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Distances:

  • Airport: 50 minutes (by bus); 30 minutes by taxi
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for Hotel Le Canberra