Red carpet view, if you can afford it

45 new suites for the Majestic Barriere

CANNES -- Anyone having trouble finding a room on the Croisette will be pleased to hear that 45 suites are being built at the Majestic Barriere. The rub is, they won’t be on stream until the 2010 festival.

But once completed, the huge building opposite the Palais des Festivals will be transformed into luxury hotel space with an unrivaled view over the red carpet.

"It'll be the best view of the Palais steps you can get," said Dominique Desseigne, president of Groupe Lucien Barriere, which owns the Majestic.

The extension, built on the site of the former Bank of France building, will comprise a range of suites including two vast ones that feature a private pool and solarium, costing a cool $50,000 per night.

The new wing also will house conference facilities, boutiques and a beauty spa.

Mercifully for those staying in the hotel this year, construction work has been halted during the festival.

Desseigne said he expects the new rooms to be snapped up for future Croisette campaigns. "We could rent the rooms 10 times over during the festival," he said.

The extension follows a major renovation of the existing 305 rooms and the rest of the hotel. The total Majestic overhaul is budgeted at more than $110 million.

VIP guests at the hotel this year include jury members Natalie Portman and Marjane Satrapi, "Che" star Benicio del Toro and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" director Woody Allen.

Groupe Lucien Barriere has long-standing links with cinema, playing a leading role in organizing the Festival of American Cinema in Deauville, Normandy. The group also owns Le Fouquet's restaurant on the Champs Elysees, which hosts the annual post-Cesar Awards dinner.
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