Photos of 2 drastically different hotel rooms show how the glitzy side of Cannes compares to being a regular tourist in the French city

·7 min read
Le Majestic and Hotel Bellevue side by side beds
Le Majestic and Hotel Bellevue are two Cannes hotels on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Jacob Sarkisian
  • I visited the luxurious hotel Le Majestic during my recent trip to cover the Cannes Film Festival.

  • The high-end establishment was a far cry from my own convenient two-star hotel.

  • I compared Le Majestic's €8,129 ($9,600) a night suite to my own €100 ($118) a night room.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

During my recent trip to cover the Cannes Film Festival for Insider, I took some time out of my busy movie schedule to tour the luxurious Le Majestic, one of the prestigious Cannes hotels that hosts some of the festival's biggest stars.

But while this visit to Le Majestic was a pleasant afternoon, it was also a stark reminder of the difference between the glamorous side of Cannes and the more down-to-earth side of the city that I was staying in.

Here's how my two-star hotel room at Hotel Bellevue for €100 ($118) a night compared to Le Majestic's glitzy €8,129 ($9,600) a night suite.

The entrances: A grand old building vs. a casual corner

Le Majestic front
The grand front of Le Majestic. Jacob Sarkisian

Le Majestic is located right on the beach front of Cannes, situated just moments away from the golden-sand shore as well as the Palais des Festivals, where most Cannes screenings and events take place.

Meanwhile, Hotel Bellevue is about seven minutes further in land. At the top of a winding road, it's a hilly climb down to the beach and a somehow even more hilly climb back up. But it's a convenient location for sure, with only a short walk required to get in on the festival's action.

Hotel Bellevue front
The more modest front of Hotel Bellevue. Jacob Sarkisian

However, Hotel Bellevue does not scream "most glamorous movie festival in the world."

The front is a shabby-looking building in need of some TLC with cars parked outside, a stark contrast to the splendid front of Le Majestic - a chic, classy, all-white venue that glistens in the sun and has chauffeurs driving expensive cars from vintage Cadillacs to brand new Ferraris into the hotel's driveway.

The lobbies: Made for luxury vs. made for convenience

Le Majestic lobby
The lobby of Le Majestic. Jacob Sarkisian

Le Majestic's lobby is full of extravagance, with hanging lights, expensive jewelery on display, and even full-size stone statues. It's an open, airy, light lobby that guests are able to relax in almost 24/7.

Meanwhile, Hotel Bellevue was dark inside, and the only person you ever saw was the housekeeper who tidied the place up.

Hotel Bellevue lobby
The lobby of Hotel Bellevue. Jacob Sarkisian

The service level: Attentive staff working 24/7 vs. an impersonal phone check-in

Indeed, while Le Majestic had an excess of staff on hand to help guests with whatever they might need, there was literally no staff in Hotel Bellevue. Instead, you had to ring a number outside the hotel room and be sent a code to get into the lobby, then another code to get into your room.

Hotel Bellevue lobby
Hotel Bellevue didn't have staff at hand. Jacob Sarkisian

While I never felt unsafe, it was a little unnerving to seemingly not have any member of staff on site during my stay. If my phone had died and I couldn't remember the codes to get in, I felt that I might be stuck with no one to help me.

Le Majestic's staff, on the other hand, worked tirelessly to take care of each and every detail for their guests.

Le Majestic pool
Le Majestic's pool. Jacob Sarkisian

One member of the ritzy hotel's staff told me that a guest had asked her to talk to the police so she could be more easily let into the hotel during the busy red-carpet events that clogged the main road. Unfortunately, not even Le Majestic's staff had that power.

The rooms: My hotel room could fit in Le Majestic's suite about three times over

My own hotel room was exactly what I needed: cheap, convenient, and with a comfortable bed. I didn't need much else as I was out for the majority of the day and only really slept and showered in the room. So the small size of it wasn't an issue for me at all.

Hotel Bellevue bathroom
Hotel Bellevue's bathroom was small but did the job. Jacob Sarkisian

Compared to Le Majestic's category one suite, however, which cost €8,129 (or about $9,600) a night, my room was minute. The suite was enormous, with a large living space that featured a sofa, chairs, desk, and TV.

Le Majestic TV and table
The bedroom in Le Majestic's suite was very spacious and lavish. Jacob Sarkisian
Le Majestic sofa and chairs
The Le Majestic suite's living space was also roomy. Jacob Sarkisian

The separate bedroom featured yet another desk and TV, more chairs, and a king-size bed.

Le Majestic bed
Le Majestic's king-size bed. Jacob Sarkisian

Le Majestic's bed was exquisite, but I was happy with mine. I slept well every night, and that's all I really cared about.

Hotel Bellevue bed and room
My room at the Hotel Bellevue was small but convenient. Jacob Sarkisian
Hotel Bellevue desk and chairs
Hotel Bellevue had one small room, compared to the excessive space of Le Majestic. Jacob Sarkisian

The amenities and features: No expense spared vs. the bare minimum

It's clear that Le Majestic, part of the Hotel Barrière group, is a luxury brand.

It doesn't miss a detail and offered as much as it could for the price of the room. The price included a lot of extra amenities, plus the incredibly attentive service mentioned above.

Le Majestic extras
Le Majestic spared no expense on extra touches. Jacob Sarkisian

Hotel Bellevue, meanwhile, didn't offer much.

Hotel Bellevue desk
Hotel Bellevue's offerings were very basic. Jacob Sarkisian

When I checked in, there wasn't even so much as a kettle or tea bag to make a cup of tea - just a couple of biscuits.

Every part of Le Majestic's suite was also in top condition and full working order, completely spotless. My room was a little more... rustic. The paint job could use a touch up, while parts of the room either needed a deep clean or a renovation.

Hotel Bellevue skirting boards.
Hotel Bellevue needed some TLC. Jacob Sarkisian
Hotel Bellevue broken stool
Some of Hotel Bellevue's furniture clearly needed replacing. Jacob Sarkisian

My air conditioning was also broken and unable to be turned off - luckily, it was stuck on a comfortable enough setting and it was so hot in Cannes that I needed the cold air.

A couple of the electrical sockets were also out of order, while there was curiously no overhead light in the bedroom, which meant I had to light the room with two little lamps placed on either side of the room. That was a mild inconvenience.

Hotel Bellevue air con
The air-conditioning unit in my room at the Hotel Bellevue was broken and permanently stuck on. Jacob Sarkisian

The balconies: Sea-view suite vs. a parking-lot view

Le Majestic's sea-view suite was incredible. The sound and breeze of the sea, the view of the pool down below and the beach directly ahead - it was all very lavish.

Le Majestic view below
The view below the Le Majestic sea-view suite. Jacob Sarkisian
Le Majestic room view
The view from the Le Majestic suite's balcony. Jacob Sarkisian

I was happy to even get a balcony in my own room, but it cannot be compared to Le Majestic's. My balcony was a third of the size and featured plastic chairs instead of sunbeds.

Hotel Bellevue balcony
Hotel Bellevue's balcony was small. Jacob Sarkisian
Le Majestic balcony
Le Majestic's balcony was huge. Jacob Sarkisian

Hotel Bellevue's balcony had a great big building for a view rather than the luscious sea. And down below? A lovely parking lot.

Hotel Bellevue view
Hotel Bellevue gave me a room without much of a view. Jacob Sarkisian
Hotel Bellevue parking lot
Would you rather look down at a pool or a parking lot? Jacob Sarkisian

Still, I have little complaints about my experience at the Hotel Bellevue. The room did the job I needed it to do since it was a work trip, and I was barely staying in it.

But if I were to return to Cannes as a tourist, I would certainly splash out on a bit more luxury - just not to the tune of $9,600 per night.

Read the original article on Insider