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Fashion

Feeling Wanderlust? This 150-Year-Old French Hotel Will Spark Wonders During These Times

Few places can spark as much wanderlust as Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc – playground to cultural luminaries ranging from Ernest Hemingway to Marion Cottilard – that turns 150 this year. We got Singapore style star Wendy Long to tell us how the institution inspires the mind, soul, and wardrobe no matter the times.

Once the summer playground of the style set like Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor and Karl Lagerfeld, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, which sits on the Cap d’Antibes peninsula on the French Riviera, has become a mainstay for discerning travellers all over the world. The Napolean III-style property – dubbed ‘a Paradise for Poets’ – is also where some of the literary’s and art world’s giants retreated to get inspiration. Among them were F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Picasso.

Guests enjoying a swim at the hotel in 1915.

Fast forward to this month and the hotel is celebrating its 150th anniversary. However, celebrations have come to a standstill as the grand dame has closed its doors to all guests – as is the case with most hotels worldwide – until further notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, its romantic and fashionable spirit lives on even up to this decade – most notably in the form of Chanel’s Resort 2012 collection for which the hotel’s iconic paved pathway served as a runway.

It’s not all about the glamour either. The Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc also serves as a meeting spot for multi-generational families who have frequented the hotel for years – a summer tradition of sorts. The property’s luxurious amenities make it the perfect reunion stomping ground: take swimming lessons just off the coast or indulge in cooking demonstrations with some of France’s finest chefs.

One person swept by the property’s inimitable charm is Singaporean style star and local Yves Saint Laurent superfan Wendy Long. The freelance writer resided in the hotel during a holiday in July 2017 and still vividly remembers that one summer there. Here, she talks about her time at the hotel, its influence on her style and how she is personally reflecting and regrouping during a time of great uncertainty.

“More so than ever, we should now appreciate every little spark of joy in whatever we do and live larger and fuller lives. For it is not about just going through the motions and ‘surviving’ but truly embracing, celebrating and appreciating what life has to offer. Carpe diem!” – Wendy Long

 

The grand Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc – which sits on Cap d’Antibes in the French Riviera – turns 150 this year.

On her favourite discoveries about the legendary hotel

“The vast compounds of the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc are filled with many picturesque spots. Think manicured gardens, a stunning pool that’s immortalised in a Slim Aarons photo, and the iconic pathway linking the main building to the waterfront. You can have sundown cocktails at the balcony lounge and people-watch on the pathway which extends to the sea. The hotel also has excellent facilities worth discovering, including a very well-curated boutique that carries chic and stylish resort wear and a charming hair salon which is important to me as I often get my hair washed and blow-dried at a salon even while travelling.”

The view from Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc’s balcony lounge.

On how the best hotels aren’t always the newest

“Places like Cap-Eden-Roc are not just ‘flavours of the moment’ and have inspired me to want to visit all of the world’s historical and iconic hotels instead. They may not be the latest hotel openings with the fanciest gadgets or designed by an ‘It architect or interior designer’. What they offer is soul, intimacy, history and heritage which get even more precious and sacred as time goes by. It’s almost like an ‘heirloom’ travel experience that’s shared by generations.”

On the influence of Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on her style (yes, really)

“The hotel certainly influenced my style while I was there. I was particularly inspired by Raf Simons’ Dior Cruise 2016 collection which was also held in the south of France. It was my favourite collection during Raf’s tenure at Dior so I decided to wear a piece from it as an homage to the collection and the location. I also made a point to pack Chanel as the brand has become synonymous with the hotel and the late Coco Chanel herself was also a familiar figure in the south of France. It felt fitting to wear a brand as timeless and iconic as Chanel.”

On how Covid-19 has changed the jetset life

“I’ve always believed in seizing the day, living life to the fullest, appreciating experiences and valuing memories. This whole global pandemic episode only serves as a reminder of what is and always has been of importance to me. We should not wait, thinking tomorrow will always be there, and that we can always put things aside and work on it later.

Life is full of surprises and we should just follow our hearts and fulfil its desires for we never know what will happen. More so than ever, we should now appreciate every little spark of joy in whatever we do and live larger and fuller lives. For it is not about just going through the motions and ‘surviving’ but truly embracing, celebrating and appreciating what life has to offer. Carpe diem!”


“The next two photos were taken in front of the iconic facade and stairway of the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. This mini dress was actually a jacket from Raf Simon’s Dior Resort 2016 collection which was presented in Pierre Cardin’s bubble house, Le Palais Bulles, near Cannes. This outfit was an homage to the south of France.”    
“The short length of this dress makes it very weather appropriate. I matched it with a pair of beige suede Aquazzura wedges as I try to pack versatile footwear while traveling.”
“This shot was taken along the iconic pathway of the hotel where Chanel staged its Resort 2012 show. I wanted a ‘resort or vacation’ look that was more than just off-shoulder and cotton pieces – which is why I juxtaposed a formal material like tweed against a casual activity like chilling by the sea.   I’ve always loved double-breasted jackets – this one is from Chanel’s Resort 2016 Seoul collection – especially those tailored with a longer length because they can be worn as a mini jacket or dress. I paired it here with Valentino shorts and a boater hat as I felt it evoked the romance of travel, especially of a bygone era.”
“Here, I’m channeling a ‘typical resort’ look of prints, colours and pieces with easy-breezy summery vibes. There were endless spots to discover at every turn, so I had fun taking photos around the hotel grounds. The items that made up this look was a Maison Michel straw hat, Johanna Ortiz top, Dolce & Gabbana skirt, Aquazzura sandals, and a Perrin Paris bag.”
“Here, I’m channeling a ‘typical resort’ look of prints, colours and pieces with easy-breezy summery vibes. There were endless spots to discover at every turn, so I had fun taking photos around the hotel grounds. The items that made up this look was a Maison Michel straw hat, Johanna Ortiz top, Dolce & Gabbana skirt, Aquazzura sandals, and a Perrin Paris bag.”
“Here, I’m channeling a ‘typical resort’ look of prints, colours and pieces with easy-breezy summery vibes. There were endless spots to discover at every turn, so I had fun taking photos around the hotel grounds. The items that made up this look was a Maison Michel straw hat, Johanna Ortiz top, Dolce & Gabbana skirt, Aquazzura sandals, and a Perrin Paris bag.”
“Here, I’m channeling a ‘typical resort’ look of prints, colours and pieces with easy-breezy summery vibes. There were endless spots to discover at every turn, so I had fun taking photos around the hotel grounds. The items that made up this look was a Maison Michel straw hat, Johanna Ortiz top, Dolce & Gabbana skirt, Aquazzura sandals, and a Perrin Paris bag.”
“Staying at the hotel also meant exploring its waterfront restaurant and boutique. Here, I’m wearing one of the few T-shirts that I’ve bought in years (she rarely wears tees). It’s from the Chanel Resort 2017 Cuba collection. I like the colours and if I’m going to wear a T-shirt, it might as well be a Chanel one. The skirt is from the kid’s collection by Dolce & Gabbana. I particularly loved the fun resort vibe of the pineapple print.”
“Staying at the hotel also meant exploring its waterfront restaurant and boutique. Here, I’m wearing one of the few T-shirts that I’ve bought in years (she rarely wears tees). It’s from the Chanel Resort 2017 Cuba collection. I like the colours and if I’m going to wear a T-shirt, it might as well be a Chanel one. The skirt is from the kid’s collection by Dolce & Gabbana. I particularly loved the fun resort vibe of the pineapple print.”
“This was my version of a ‘lounge by the pool’ look. This was the only other T-shirt that I’d bought in recent times. It’s from Maria Grazia’s debut Spring/Summer 2017 collection for Dior. The choker was also from that collection.”