Owned and operated by the family owned Oetker Collection, Hotel du Cap Eden Roc is the second flagship of the luxury German chain. Thanks to its unique location within a spectacular private park with an infinity pool and restaurants right on cliff edge of the sea. The arrival experience is beyond simply just checking into a top luxury resort – it is a magic experience that has a magnetic feel.
In keeping with the philosophy of the Oetker Collection, the utmost priority of the group has been to preserve the unique soul and charm of the property, that special ‘desirability’ factor which many cannot really describe. With 85% returning guests and little changes in the guest mix, the resort hotel also has an aura of a private club, especially given that most bookings are made even a year before.
During my recent stay, some of the managers at the hotel told me that although the refurbishments which are conducted yearly, long time loyal guests are very adamant when it comes to changes. Needless to say all rooms and suites are flawless, with an incessant obsession for perfection. The views from the main building which resembles more of a Royal Castle are uttlerly magnificent. Housekeeping also run a flawless standard of service, making sure that rooms feel crisp during the entire day.Hotel du Cap Eden Roc (Oetker Collection)[/caption]
The Spa which is branded La Prairie does certainly appeal to a certain type of guest, especially ladies seeking facials or treatments which show instant anti-aging effects. The Spa also features British organic brand Bamford, however, personally, I would have preferred a local French brand, especially that small manufactures and the perfume town of Grasse is less than half an hour away from the hotel – it is the lavish fields of flowers that major houses like Chanel use in their production. There is also a fully equipped gym and clay tennis courts.
Each year, with the occasion of the Cannes Film Festival, the amFAR Gala takes place at Hotel du Cap Eden Roc with the highest concentration of celebrities any hotel can host at one given time. However, beyond Cannes Film Festival, the hotel has been welcoming less and less top global celebrities. Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Douglas, Robert de Niro, Nicole Kidman and many more, used to call Du Cap their home for the summer.
In the history accounts of the hotel, celebrities were an integral part, some more secluded and private but most of them feeling at ease. There are mentions of countless parties organised by legendary actors or actresses at the hotel. It was a sort of a magic that sometimes resembled a movie with guests whispering that Sophia Loren was actually at one of the cabanas. Even today, most of the return guests know each other and interact comfortably, dinners being a ‘parade’ of lavish evening gowns.
Times have changed and despite this staggering percentage of returning guests, mention must be made that they age and their children who are teenagers nowadays are less and less loyal to a luxury brand and social media is what drives their sometimes last minute bookings. Oetker Collection must be very well aware that more than half of the guests have limited or zero recognition of the fact Du Cap is part of a chain. These guests would at most know Le Bristol in Paris but would be very less likely to have ever stayed at ‘sister’ properties such as Chateau St Martin (in Vence, an hour from Antibes) or Brenners Park Hotel in Banden Baden.
The flawless standards of Hotel du Cap could actually have an opposite effect on other ‘sister’ properties under the Oetker Collection label, which are of a much lower calibre. The hotel must also realise sooner or later, celebrities of all generations must be welcome at the property – which can be generated for instance by an event.
Collaborations such as a bespoke Riva boat which was added this summer and welcoming Three Michelin Star Chef Eric Frechon (based at Le Bristol in Paris) as consultant of the restaurants at Hotel du Cap in 2020, pop-ups in the form of outdoor art exhibitions – are some of the brilliant initiatives of the hotel.
But much more could be added, such as an open-air cinema, beach accessories set by a top luxury brand, proximity car for guests to drive complimentary within a radius of 10-15 km (partnership with the top luxury electric car in the world), cooking lessons, beauty mini-bar in all suites with bathroom amenities of a pure organic brand, pop-up suite by a prestigious international brand such as Loro Piana,
While Eden Being (the retail space at each Oetker Collection hotel) has a good selection of a concept store – many brand are ‘mainstream’ – some more niche brands could be added. Merchandising can also be improved to resemble less of a multi-brand boutique. Alternatively, for a much bigger impact, the space could be much better used leased by a major international brand for the main season – ex Chanel, Missoni, Etro, Loewe, Hermes, Orlebar Brown (Chanel Group) have extensive summer collections but also evening wear.
Because of its strategy shift towards managing / operating rather than owning and operating at the same type is a constant pressure on Oetker Collection to expand. Investing and securing at least two more metropolis locations such as New York and Moscow or Rome is critical for the chain to also secure potential management agreements even resorts. The chain used to operate a private island in Seychelles and a resort in Marrakech, which are no longer part of the chain. Therefore, replicating Hotel du Cap Eden Roc is not as obvious as it may seem.
Oliver Petcu in Antibes
VanityFair / photos: Patrick Demarchalier
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