“Eden-Roc Pool” (1976) by Slim Aarons
Learn the About the Glamorous Guests, and their Poolside Scandals at the Infamous Hotel du Cap. Who Knows it Better than Slim Aarons, the Man who Photographed it All?
In 2020 the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, or more affectionately known as the Hotel du Cap, will celebrate its 150th birthday. You may have never heard of it, but for decades it has been the preferred Mediterranean hideaway for the rich and famous. Some of the most salacious and scandalous stories from long-lost eras of glamour took place within the walls of the Hotel, while the world’s most beautiful and fashionable people lounged by its poolside.
Since its inception, the vacation spot was always a place for artists, even before the Hotel du Cap earned its status as the ultimate Cannes getaway. In 1862 French journalist, Hyppolite de Villemessant yearned to create a resort, where artists and writers like himself could renew their creative energies in the restorative sunshine of the French Riviera. With the financial help of a Swedish count, Paul de Fersen and his brother-in-law, Alexis de Pletscheyeff, de Villemessant was able to set his dream in motion. The elaborate palace took years to finish, and wasn’t finally completed until 1870. Although certainly a personal triumph for de Villemessant, the estate was initially a flop. It was not until 1887, when ambitious and relentless hotelier Antoine Sella whipped the resort into shape, setting a new and unprecedented standard of luxury within the Riviera. After a rigorous two-year renovation, the Hotel du Cap was finally opened and ready for business.
By 1920, the Hotel du Cap was globally renowned for its opulence and glamour, already regularly attracting a vibrant crowd from all over the globe. A variety of celebrities flocked to the idyllic hideaway; actors, writers, artists, royalty and heads of state were historically frequenters of the du Cap. Some of its most famous guests included (but are certainly not limited to) Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle and the Kennedys. In short, anyone who was anyone could be seen at the vacation spot. The hotel’s secluded grandeur not only brought out celebrities to the Riviera, but their most secret vices as well. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton conducted an affair within one of the resort’s 117 rooms, while Taylor was still married to Eddie Fisher! The pair found the retreat so relaxing and intoxicating that they honeymooned there eleven years later.
Surrounded by a lush 22-acre park and lavender gardens, the Hotel sits perched right on the breathtaking Côte d'Azur. It’s no wonder that the Hotel du Cap thrived. Nestled among luxurious surroundings was undeniably the classiest place to stay along the Riviera coast, where socialites could drink a cold signature Bellini and bask in the beautiful French sun. The most iconic feature of the resort is its dazzling olympic-sized pool, built in 1914. Overlooking the jagged shoreline beneath the hotel, a few meters above the warm waters of the Riviera, the pool’s heated salt waters and basalt lining have seduced celebrities and paparazzi alike.