It’s said without Cannes there’s no Majestic and without Majestic, no Cannes. In a in-depth piece, Rahma Rachdi analyses the evolution of the world famous hotel from its inception to the present day, and the loyalty it has been afforded by the heavyweights of Hollywood.
It is said there might not be the Cannes festival without The Majestic; and without Cannes, no Majestic. Since its opening in 1961, the luxury hotel has become a haven of filmmakers, actors, and even celebrities. Many Hollywood celebrities, despite new high end hotels, have stayed loyal to the Majestic.
Behind the Camera
At the beginning of the 90s, Diane Barrière-Desseigne succeeded Lucien Barrière, her father. Upon taking over, Diane initiated a major overhaul of Barrière group’s assets. The three Hôtels Barrière in Deauville, the Hermitage Barrière and the Royal Barrière in La Baule, as well as the Majestic Barrière in Cannes went under the chisel. She gave to the group an inimitable Barrière style, by starting a long collaboration with decorator Jacques Garcia, with her husband’s support – Dominique Desseigne.
Barrière group now consists of 41 casinos and 17 hotels (4 leading Hotels of the World, 1 Relais & Châteaux and 2 partners hotels). Situated in world famous tourist resorts, the Resorts Barrière are exceptional tourist destinations.
An elegant strong-willed woman, Diane inaugurated the new generation of firm-handed women CEOs, promoting a more modern management.
In 1995, Diane Barrière- Desseigne fell victim to a grievous plane accident.
In 1997 Dominique, along with his wife, co- managed the “Société des Hôtels et Casino de Deauville” (SHCD) and the “Société Hôtelière de la Chaîne Lucien Barrière” (SHCLD). Led by them, in 1998 the SHCD acquired the prestigious Fouquet’s Brasserie on the Champs-Elysées in Paris and its brand name. Her dream of having a hotel there was realized by her husband in 2006 with the Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière.
Diane Barrière-Desseigne died in 2001 from her accident.
Heading the group single-handedly since 2001, Dominique Desseigne has directed the group through a strategy of growth and modernization. Dominique Desseigne is moving the group towards sustainable innovation, by diversifying it and anticipating his clientele’s new trends and desires, in each one of his businesses, casinos, hotel and catering industry and by initiating the first international developments.
Rendezvous of Celebrities
As I was leaving the Majestic, I meet Francois Pinault welcomed by the General Manager Pierre Louis Renou. I speculated that he probably came to support his wife Salma Hayek, the great Lebanese-Mexican actress, who stays at the Majestic. In fact the Majestic hosted during the Cannes Film Festival a talked titled “Women in Motion.” More than 30 famous faces from the industry took part and shared their opinions on the issue of women in cinema. During their talk, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, the iconic stars of cult film Thelma & Louise, addressed the impact that films have on individuals in terms of identification and on society in general, as well as on perceptions that are considered to be the norm.
I later run into the team members of a competition movie in Cannes. There were like princesses, wearing crowns. Later, a pair of staff from the team welcomes the great French directors, and members of the Jury Cannes Film Festival.
The next day a talk is animated by Variety around Juliette Binoche and Susan Sarandon as a part of “Women in Motion”. Salma Hayek, on the next day, spoke to reporters about women in cinema.
The overwhelming loyalty of the cinema’s fraternity from across the world, including from the bulwarks of Hollywood, is not merely because of the friendliness or excellent service of the staff but, also because of a inconspicuous yearning to get back into the heels of yesteryear legends who have left their distinct imprints on the walls of the Majestic like the stars of the Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
For instance, in 2015, the Majestic opened its “Mélodie Suite”, a superb suite created by interior designer Nathalie Ryan who was inspired by the film Mélodie en Sous-Sol (Any Number Can Win). Many scenes in the movie were filmed at the Majestic in 1963. The welcoming lounge and two large bedrooms enjoy stunning views of the Mediterranean thanks to a large glass dome – making the Majestic a truly relaxing and comfortable place to stay. In addition, in this city which welcomes the Cannes Film Festival every year, the Majestic pays a tribute to the silver screen with its own superb 35-seat cinema. Equipped with all the latest technology, the cinema can be rented for private viewing makes it the perfect movie venue.
For another year of Cannes, the Majestic stands tall with expectations of a bountiful year.