Even without buildings, the site of Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc was always a place of beauty and inspiration. It captured the attention of Auguste de Villemessant, the talented founder of Le Figaro, who realised its potential and built the elegant Villa Soleil… a writers' retreat nestled in the heart of paradise.
For years and years the Villa Soleil remained obscured… abandoned and forgotten… until one day a visionary young hotelier from Piedmont fell under its spell. It took Antoine Sella two years to restore the jewel he found… in January 1889 Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc opened its doors for the first time.
Under Antoine Sella's passionate management, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc began to attract a loyal clientele. He had an imaginative vision of what a luxury hotel should be, but not the capital… until a departing guest financed his dream. The trendsetting luxury upgrade included central heating, private baths and an elevator!
For many years Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc remained a winter destination only. Fashion at the time considered the Mediterranean Coast unhealthy and ill-suited during the summer! Battling scepticism, Antoine Sella prepared for the summer season and used dynamite to carve the now iconic seawater swimming pool out of natural basalt rock.
Perhaps unknowingly paying homage to Auguste de Villemessant's original vision of a writers' retreat, the Nobel Laureate George Bernard Shaw became one of Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc's most loyal guests. He found inspiration in this place of beauty and tranquillity, and was the talk of Antibes with his beard and parasols.
One of France's most popular actresses, Suzanne Georgette Charpentier (or simply Annabella) rocketed to fame after her hit films Le Million (1931) and Quatorze Juillet (1933). Annabella and her husband, famous American leading man Tyrone Power, were both regular guests at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and spent many carefree moments here.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were such regular guests that André Sella would personally greet them at the Antibes train station each time they visited. Immediately after the Duke's abdication to wed the future Duchess of Windsor, they both arrived for an extended stay far from the public gaze.
During the challenging wartime period Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc served as a key military hospital. Shortly after the war ended, General Eisenhower paid a special visit as a gesture of recognition and appreciation. Allied troops stayed here for almost three years and upon departure restored the Hotel to its former glory.
One idyllic evening as André Sella made his rounds through the dining room he saw a noted guest dining alone. Spotting another equally famous guest also dining alone, he introduced them to each other and then left them to enjoy the evening… Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth eventually wed.
André Sella was particular about the artisans he employed. They had to share his passion for immaculate hospitality, and pursue it with the same uncompromising attention to detail… and when he was awarded the Merit Distinction he recognised his team's efforts by sharing it with them in this commemorative photograph.
Pablo Picasso was a frequent guest at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, casually arriving for a drink or two, simply attired and at ease. One warm summer day in 1955, Picasso cheerfully agreed to design and hand-draw the restaurant's new menu… asking for nothing more than ink, paper and a quiet table.
Marc Chagall returned to Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc every August for 15 years. He never signed anything, not even a bill, leave alone an autograph. But one year, a car attendant ran an important errand for him… despite being off-duty at the time… and Chagall finally signed a postcard for him.
In 1964 Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc cast its spell over Maja and Rudolph Oetker, as it had over so many others. But the Oetkers responded somewhat differently… they bought the iconic property! Finalising the deal took five long years, but it was the dawn of a new era for the Hotel.
Arnaud Poëtte was named France's Best Apprentice Cook in 1977 - recognising his extraordinary sense of flavour and spontaneous creativity. His passion led him to the kitchens of Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in 1983, and he returned every summer to assume different posts until 1992 when he was made the head chef.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc was given the honour of hosting the 14th Franco-African Summit which was attended by a diverse gathering of heads of state, other dignitaries and VIPs from France and most of Africa. The illustrious list of attendees included French President François Mitterrand and French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac.
Lilian Bonnefoi had not considered a career at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc until one day in 1996 when this talented master confectioner visited the Hotel and met Arnaud Poëtte… he joined the team soon after! Lilian would go on to win the title of Best Pastry Chef (Côte d'Azur) in 2008.
Over the years Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc has acquired a mythical status as a party setting beyond compare. For it is here that Vanity Fair hosts one of the year's most anticipated evenings: its Cannes Film Festival party, a chic signature event attended by up to 400 stars, celebrities and VIPs.
It takes unique passion to improve upon what is already exemplary. For four years Philippe Perd managed another Oetker Collection masterpiece (the Château Saint-Martin & Spa) to award-winning standards. But then it was time for a different challenge… and Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc welcomed its new general manager… and chief artisan.
In 2007 Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc launched a remarkable seven-year restoration. Continuing until 2013 the project upgrades key features property whilst protecting the property's rich heritage. Overseen by Mrs. Oetker and architect Luc Svetchine, the multi-million euro restoration creates breathtaking new experiences, such as the revitalised magnificence of the Eden-Roc Grill.
As part of its ambitious upgrade, the Eden-Roc Restaurant also received a fabulous new kitchen… entirely custom-designed for the creation of epicurean masterpieces. Dedicated cooking areas were established for the different artisans, giving them the space to independently create and yet allowing them to perform together as a gifted team.
The American Foundation for AIDS Research is one of the world's leading organisations dedicated to the support of HIV/AIDS research. Each year amfAR raises millions of dollars through charity auctions featuring prominent celebrities, especially from the entertainment industry. Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc has proudly hosted this prestigious event annually since 2009.
The first of its kind in France, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc's famed chocolaterie continues to delight guests with exquisite creations. Lilian Bonnefoi and his talented team of confectioners have mastered 18 different kinds of chocolate delicacies. They also make all the chocolate required for candies, desserts, meals, in-room service and gifts.
Before the celebrations begin, there is always time to savour the winning of a cherished and coveted goal. When Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc finally became one of the world's finest five-star hotels, it was a moment for well-deserved pride but also sombre reflection… upon more than a century of impeccable service.
More than 100 years after Antoine Sella redefined the standards of luxury hospitality, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc once again challenged the realms of possibility. Situated in a secluded enclave away from the main buildings, Villa Eleana combines exclusive privacy and indulgent luxury with the impeccable hospitality of an iconic five-star hotel.
As part of its seven-year restoration, Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc enhanced several facets of its guest experience. The main building was completely refurbished and all guest rooms were upgraded, while the exquisite Eden-Roc Suite received a magnificent teak terrace and outdoor Jacuzzi.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Boulevard JF Kennedy, BP 29, 06601 ANTIBES CEDEX France
Tel: +33 (0)4 93 61 39 01 | email@example.com
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