Economy How the Martinez and the other palaces got “back...

How the Martinez and the other palaces got “back on track” after six months of closure

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Touch-up paint in the hotel lobby – F. Binacchi / ANP / 20 Minutes

  • Like its sister establishment in Nice, the Palais de la Méditerranée, the Martinez, which has been closed since October 20, reopened its doors this Friday in Cannes.
  • “We re-trained staff to work, organized training and a lot of motivation exercises. It is not easy to stop for so long. We must rediscover automatisms ”, describes the general manager of the palace Yann Gillet.

In the endless corridors leading to the 409 rooms and suites of the Martinez, the very comfortable royal blue carpet has been “thoroughly dusted”. “And there was a need after more than six months of closure,” says Heidi Lofi, the housekeeper. In recent days, the palace teams have gradually come out of partial unemployment to “restart” this art deco establishment on the Croisette and prepare it to welcome customers again.

Plaster retouching and painting in the reception hall, feather duster everywhere in the rooms, “we went through everything”, explains Yann Gillet, the general manager. “We even had to make sure that the uniforms always went to the staff.” Like its sister establishment in Nice, the Palais de la Méditerranée, the Martinez, which has been closed since October 20, reopened its doors on Friday.

Rooms have been dusted from floor to ceiling
The rooms have been dusted from floor to ceiling – F. Binacchi / ANP / 20 Minutes
Hotel Martinez, in Cannes
Hôtel Martinez, in Cannes – F. Binacchi / ANP / 20 Minutes

Among the large hotels on the Côte de la Côte d’Azur, also weighed down by the crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, it is the Negresco, in Nice on the promenade des Anglais, which was the first to relaunch , from Thursday. But it is perhaps in Cannes, more than elsewhere, that these establishments have suffered from the cascading cancellations of major events and congresses. Also on the Croisette, deprived of its film festival last year, the Majestic Barrière has planned to receive visitors from May 12. The Carlton will remain closed for work planned for a long time until 2023.

“We must find automatisms”

“After so much time spent closed, where only part of our administrative staff were still on the bridge, part-time, to stay in contact with our customers, restarting required a minimum of preparation”, further details Yann Gillet after a visit in the new offices of the Martinez, two large open spaces with a start-up atmosphere, the fittings of which contrast with the furniture of the spaces intended for customers.

The administrative teams are the only ones who remained on the bridge, part-time, during the closure
The administrative teams are the only ones who remained on the bridge, part-time, during the closure – F. Binacchi / ANP / 20 Minutes

“We re-trained staff to work, organized training and a lot of motivation exercises. It is not easy to stop for so long. We must find automatisms ”, he describes to 20 Minutes.

In addition to its 175 permanent contracts, the Cannes hotel is starting to ramp up with the hiring of extras for the high season, which will have to compensate for the start of the year and a 2020 financial year to forget. “Our workforce will increase by 200 or even 250 people. And, a priori, while I know that some professionals are worried that some are turning away from the profession, we have a lot of applications coming in. But it is true that we are seeing the arrival of new profiles that we are going to train, ”explains the Managing Director.

In lingerie, staff uniforms are reviewed
In the lingerie, staff uniforms are reviewed – F. Binacchi / ANP / 20 Minutes

French customers waiting for the film festival

At Martinez, the month of May would be a warm-up, with the gradual reopening of certain dining areas, initially only for hotel guests, and of the private beach. “On the first day of the announcement of our reopening, we had already received 43 reservations,” continues Yann Gillet. From a French clientele and even from proximity for the moment. “

La Palme d’Or, Martinez’s two-star Michelin, will relaunch its kitchens next month. “It is June that will truly mark the start of the season, with the Cannes Film Festival then. [décalé pour la première fois en juillet, du 6 au 17]. The partners of the event have already booked their suites and things are looking good, ”he says.

The palace is also refining at the same time the facelift of its two “Penthouse” suites (1,125 m2 in total), which will take for the first time the names of two stars of the Cannes fortnight. Isabelle Huppert and Thierry Frémaux, the general delegate of the event, are also expected to inaugurate them in June.

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