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No Sign of Austerity for Cannes 2012

And then there's the remodeled Hotel Colette, a well-curated boutique property that debuted last year in a city often cited for its lack of character hotels. Named after the famous writer and eldest daughter of the owner, the 45-room Colette mixes compact twin-bedded standard rooms or more spacious junior suites, all with handpicked artwork and bathrooms trimmed in L'Occitane toiletries. Its communal breakfast room with pitched farmhouse ceiling is one of the prettiest and most charming in town, perfect for a rising starlet unafraid of direct sunlight.

Festival dining gets a few new headliners too. Those in the mood for a bit of La Dolce Vita can tuck into Casa Mia, just off the Croisette. Its staircase arrival brings visitors to a cozy maisonette concealing a truly glamorous two-level eatery from the same designers as Paris' L'Arc and London's Maddox Club. A grand dining room is lined in blush striped walls and holds a central staircase leading to an upstairs lounge with onyx bar and leather club chairs oozing an Italian Deco vibe. In the kitchen you'll find alum from Harry's Bar in Venice cooking up calamari sauteed with tomatoes and olives, Casa Mia tagliolini with Alba truffles and grilled langoustines.

Equally high-wattage Felix continues to lure supper club diners looking for Cote d'Azur glamour in a dining institution that's been famous since the 1950s. Felix does a showstopper French menu of duck liver terrine, roasted rabbit and Brittany lobster -- not for those trying to squeeze into any tight tuxes or gowns. The festival is also a busy time for the town's numerous Michelin star restaurants, like the showy La Palme d'Or at the Martinez, a popular rendezvous for the biz elite that recently featured its own playful Tim Burton-inspired tasting menu. Other gastronomic standouts include Le Park 45 at the Grand Hotel, making up for the unexpected loss of Mon Reve de Gosses due to a change of ownership this year.

In terms of festival nightlife, look for Baoli to continue its favored status with Cannes regulars while summertime clubs such as Palais and the newer Gotha Club open for festival installments and private events. Nikki Beach returns for its Cannes pop-up with a combination daytime beach club at Grand Hotel's La Plage and evening terrace club atop the Palais Stephanie. Le Baron and VIP Room also return to Cannes this year, with the latter headlining superstars such as Mary J. Blige, Flo Rida and Rick Ross and hosting by London's Cirque du Soir. Additionally, VIP Room will host the premiere of Karl Lagerfeld's annual Chanel movie premiere and rare performance by '80s rock group Duran Duran, one of the hottest tickets of the festival.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of, a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in InStyle, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine and on ITV and the BBC.
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