To Cannes, the day before the official opening of ILTM. This is the annual time of the year when the 6,000-odd (take out the word ‘odd’ – Ed.) gather on the French Riviera to discuss, plot and do business, and network, anything to do with the global world of luxury travel.
Every plane from feeder markets in Europe and beyond is packed. BA’s flight from Heathrow leaving 1010 had many of the great and good of the UK industry plus many who had transferred in London from The Americas. Girlahead was offered a lift from Nice by the MD of THE ARIZONA BILTMORE, WALDORF ASTORIA and when she was dropped off at THE MARTINEZ, part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, there were not only a handful of Damien Hirst sculptures to greet but also the hotel’s MD, Michel Cottray.
Some hotel operators are real stars and he is certainly one. To come in and be on duty on a Sunday afternoon is beyond any call of duty. See him, above, posing with a D Hirst, part of the personal collection of the hotel’s Qatari owner. He hand-writes welcome cards in real ink, and tonight he’s hosting a party for select ILTM friends.
The 409-room hotel, right on the Croisette, is also a star, as it has been for 94 years. It sparkles. Now, security doors operate on eveery floor so only those staying in, say, #331 can access the third floor – or the first floor, for fitness. #331, by the way, is a dream. From the circular sitting room lead off a six-seat dining room and, in another direction, the bedroom. Colouring is champagne and pale yellow and gold. Look down, over the French balconies, at the party-place that is the Martinez beach, and out to sea.
Today is the lull before the productive storm that is ILTM. Some stories are already getting out. Tiffany Dowd, the social media queen for luxury travel, has brokered a documentary on the life of A&K founder Geoffrey Kent – she’s co-producing it with Kent and with the concept’s Director Ben Mezrich, brains behind The Social Network, 21, Dumb Money and HBO hit Billions. Good for Tiffany…..