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Travel to French Riviera

Tender is the Night: Hôtel du Cap at 100
April 9, 2014
By , Managing Editor & Contributor

Eden: “A delightful region or abode; paradise. A state of perfect happiness or bliss.”

In 1914, the Hôtel du Cap on the French Riviera blasted seaside bedrock to create a swimming pool. They called it Eden-Roc. And in its 100 years of existence, this body of water perched over the sea has seen more bare celebrity flesh than, well – there’s no comparison. Elizabeth Taylor used to lounge poolside in a caftan, as do Madonna and Paris Hilton (no caftans). And everyone, then and now, hydrates with champagne. To celebrate the centenary of Eden-Roc, the Hôtel du Cap is throwing an epic party on May 9, which will also usher in the Cannes Film Festival season.

The Hôtel
“A large, proud, rose-colored hotel… deferential palms cool its flushed façade…  a summer resort of notable and fashionable people” is how Tender is the Night opens, in which F. Scott Fitzgerald famously immortalized Hôtel du Cap.

These days, the hotel is cream-colored. The deferential palms have multiplied into 22 acres of tropical gardens. The rooms have TVs and WiFi. And credit cards are now accepted (it was only cash until 2006). But the important things are the same: The regulars are still “notable and fashionable people.” Many hotels have guestbooks. None compare to the Hôtel du Cap’s Golden Book. Picasso and Chagall doodled on its vellum pages, followed by Mick Jagger and Dustin Hoffman, and Conan O’Brien and Johnny Depp, who left pen-drawn selfies.

The Fête
A century of cuisine is the theme at the gala dinner on May 9, helmed by Eden-Roc Restaurant’s Executive Chef Arnaud Poëtte and Chef Olivier Gaiatto, along with Eric Pansu, Executive Chef of the Paul Bocuse House. Dishes include black Perigord truffles, fresh lobster and Peach Melba with Polignac almonds, with each course paired with Grand Cru champagnes and wines. As the hotel puts it, the event will be “worthy of the most lavish parties Scott Fitzgerald himself could imagine.” Throughout the summer season, the Hôtel du Cap will also salute artists of the last century, with silent films like the Charlie Chaplin collection flickering on the massive open-air screen. If you miss the May party, there’s another chance: The hotel is celebrating the end of its 100th summer season on September 5th, showcasing the world’s top sommeliers to ensure a night worthy of the Roaring ‘20s. As Jay Gatsby once said, “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”

(Photos courtesy of Hôtel du Cap)