The Carlton Beach Club should be treated as a light hors d'oeuvres before sampling the main course of La Croisette's more rapturous beach bar offerings. But what it does do — offering somewhere to idle dolce vita-style in Cannes — it does exceedingly well.
If you were to take a hammer to Carlton's foundations, they'd seep Old Hollywood glamour. Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant are just some of the names to have frequented this iconic establishment, and the echoes of its thrillingly glitzy existence are still keenly felt in its beach club.
The Carlton Beach Club has a history to be proud of, and this is a glorious ode to it
Undergoing a meticulous restoration in 2020 (which has also begun on the hotel, due to reopen in 2023) it's all pearly white cabanas and cloud-like sofas, with the odd flash of the unmistakable Carlton canary yellow. It's quite the vision of loveliness, pepped up without losing its star appeal. A distinctly old-world elegance still permeates the club, even when it comes to newer features, like the button perched on each table that one can press for assistance. But why should that change? Carlton has a history to be proud of, and this is an glorious ode to it.
The pride is certainly reflected in the service, treating you like starlets of a bygone era. Upon our arrival (we didn't have to make a reservation) our waiter eagerly went to great lengths to offer us the best seats. It should be said that one thing Carlton Beach Club isn't short of, is outstanding lounging options, so making a choice proved to be more trying than you might think. We sprung like frogs on lilypads from four poster-loungers to low-level sofas that appeared almost sunken into the powdery sands for a few minutes, the waiter throughout completely unruffled by our endless indecision.
As the sun gently glimmered on the horizon, we finally sunk into the sofa, lulled by the gentle soundtrack of live soul and parasols flapping prettily in the breeze. Sipping the Carlton's signature watermelon spritz and feasting in peace on succulent lobster rolls (albeit slightly too small), we watched the world float by, yachts softly bobbing in the distance. Should you require something more substantial, the restaurant is quite literally a champagne cork pop away next door.
The pride is certainly reflected in the service, treating you like starlets of a bygone era
For yacht charter guests keen to make quite the entrance, arguably the only way to arrive is to drop anchor in Cannes bay and be whisked away by tender onto the beach club's private jetty. Alternatively, given Carlton's enviable beachfront location, the jetsetter-strewn marina is mere minutes away — though it goes without saying securing a berth here is no mean feat.
Visited: 23/07/2021 and reviewed by Mairead Finlay
Carlton Beach Club
58 Bd de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes, France