11:00pm PT by Chris Gardner
Dead Serious: The Hotel du Cap Has a Dog Cemetery
When The Hollywood Reporter stopped by Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc for a Dior event on the eve of Cannes’ opening night, the subject that had fashion insiders buzzing was not stunning views or the celebrity-favored terrace. It was a bit more macabre: a dog cemetery.
Nestled next to the iconic hotel’s picture-perfect rose garden — 100 square meters showcasing Queen Elizabeth II white and pink roses — is a small zone of red clay mud peppered with dog graves, complete with 19 miniature tombstones. “I can’t decide if it’s cute or creepy,” said a hotel guest.
For the morbidly curious, the backstory: The hotel, originally called Villa Soleil, was built in 1870 by Figaro newspaper founder Hippolyte de Villemessant. It was renamed Grand Hotel du Cap in 1887 when it was taken over by hotelier Antoine Sella.
The dog cemetery was introduced 16 years later, when regular guest Lady Onslow’s dog died during her stay, according to the hotel. Knowing how closely attached Onslow was to her pooch, the hotel owner suggested that the dog be buried next to her favorite spot, the rose garden, where Onslow and her guests often had tea while sewing.
There’s no sign of the tombstone belonging to Onslow’s dog, and it remains unclear how one secures a spot for their animal on the precious grounds. Among those resting in peace: Camarade (Oct. 17, 1927), Patou (May 1932), Chinchilla (September 1932), Dou-Dou (March 9, 1939), Sully (March 22, 1938), Skipy (1938-1959) and Chick (1969).
Hotel du Cap rep Valerie Muller told THR that the cemetery is beloved because “it is a part of its history.” As for what happened to Onslow’s dog: “We do not know.”
This story first appeared in the May 21 Cannes daily issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.