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No Sign of Austerity for Cannes 2012

CANNES, France ( MainStreet) -- The gigayachts are queued in the harbor, the stars have already checked in and the red carpet has that deep luster again as the Cannes International Film Festival begins Wednesday. If anyone is expecting less sparkle this year, given a European debt crisis that's still mid-script, an explosion of new hotels and late-night party line-up seems to suggest otherwise. This year's star-studded jury includes fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, Diane Kruger and Ewan McGregor presiding over an inventory of film openings and premieres by headliners such as Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard to rising names that include Zac Efron and Twilight star Kristen Stewart.

The round of new hotel names include Five Hotel & Spa, which offers the city's best luxury design boutique and is next to the Croisette and Palais des Festivals. Designed by architects Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet, the property hopes to create the sense of a journey for guests via objects, furnishings and artwork throughout but the hotel -- a "voyage immobile." It has one of the prettiest lobbies in town, with oriental silk screens juxtaposed with floor-to-ceiling windows and furnishings that nod toward midcentury French design.

Five Hotel & Spa is Cannes' best luxury design boutique and has one of the city's hottest new eateries in Seas Sens.

On the fifth floor of Five Hotel comes one of the city's hottest new eateries: The culinary triumph of Seas Sens, led by brother chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, who mix traditional French gastronomy and Southeast Asian twists followed up with a dessert menu by Jerome de Oliveir -- a winner of the World Pastry Cup. After dinner, guests find rooms with cocoon-style canopy beds by towering windows concealed behind linen drapery with a fashionably lazy pleat. Private dressing rooms evoke the grand era of steamer travel, complete with saddle-stitched leather detailing fit for a Hollywood stylist.

Cannes hasn't had a shortage of luxury hotel addresses in more than a century, but for those looking for something a notch short of five stars the options were grim. This year, however, comes three properties geared toward midrange travelers, those who don't need 24-hour room service or a private beach club. Hotel Montaigne & Spa is the best option, but remains an admirable escape with cool Art Deco design, Turkish baths and a well-equipped gym with indoor pool opening in June. A longer walk from the Palais des Festival and you find La Villa, a 30-room boutique hotel that gets its inspiration from late-1940s Hollywood, with a lounge bar featuring Champagne from the owner's own vineyard.

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