Michel Cottray is a seasoned hotel manager with a strong background in the hospitality industry. He has worked for several hotel groups such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts and InterContinental Hotels Group, managing hotels in various countries and holding regional director positions.

He recently returned to the French Riviera as General Manager at Hôtel Martinez. Michel is also an honorary member of the Conseil Magistral de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a lover of vintage cars, and an epicurean.

What makes your property unique?

Hôtel Martinez is defined by its extraordinary history dating back to the 1920s, as well as its strong connection with the Cannes Film Festival since its establishment in 1946 – it is home to the annual Jury Dinner every year.

Our very own Executive Chef, Christian Sinicropi, is the mastermind behind the menu for the Jury Dinner, as well as the dining experiences at La Palme d’Or, the only two-Michelin starred restaurant in Cannes. It specialises in creative cuisine with cinematic influences and is an unforgettable dining experience with striking views of the iconic La Croisette.

Hôtel Martinez also recently launched L’Oasis du Martinez, the latest stage in the multi-million-pound on-going refurbishments, encompassing 2,800m² of outdoor space only accessible to guests with a tropical and a mediterranean garden. It also features the first flagship Carita spa outside of Paris.

Hôtel Martinez is also home to two new Penthouse Apartments, which are among the largest in Europe, each inspired by cinematic French icon Isabelle Huppert and Thierry Frémaux, renowned general delegate of Cannes Film Festival. In the design process, both celebrities added personal touches to give their own apartment an individual flair, from the bespoke furniture to a selection of specific books to photos, scents, and even music playlists.

What do you like most about your day as GM?

Being General Manager of a constantly evolving luxury property such as Hôtel Martinez is an extremely diverse and exciting role – no day is the same. You must always be ready to react and adapt to the ever-changing luxury hospitality industry and the needs of your guests, as both local and global situations change all the time, and you must be prepared.

You will be continuously developing a whole host of your skills, be constantly improvising and problem-solving, and must be prepared to think outside the box – how can we blow a guest away with a unique birthday celebration? What can we do to separate ourselves from the fine array of properties that fringe the Bay of Cannes? And not only this, but with the property in a location as iconic as Cannes, there is always the next prestigious event to think about and what you can do to distinguish yourselves from the rest.

You’re constantly kept on your feet, and while it can be demanding, I look forward to every day at Hôtel Martinez as each one presents new challenges, and I am always keen to tackle them head on.

What do you think contributes to a success of a hotel?

A truly successful hotel will understand how it is perceived locally; if the local population accepts and embraces your property, they can act as ambassadors for your hotel and represent a trustworthy knowledge base for guests coming from further afield. Having a high rate of repeat customers is also a great indicator of how your property is being received and if the guests enjoyed their previous stays so much that they keep coming back. As well as this, it is also important to keep track of your market share positioning and whether it is continuing to grow.

What’s your goal for Hôtel Martinez?

The primary goal is to separate Hôtel Martinez as a one-of-a-kind destination luxury hotel in Cannes - I want guests to come to Hôtel Martinez and feel something different than they do anywhere else. It is important to me that we remain at the top of our guests’ minds each time they come to visit Cannes as the pinnacle of refinement and finesse.

Our hotel is defined by its extraordinary history and relationship with the film festival, yet we are fortunate enough to be undergoing some very exciting renovations – we have already recently unveiled our Penthouse apartments and L’Oasis du Martinez garden area and have even more projects underway to ensure we are always providing our guests with the ultimate 5-star luxury experience including a new lobby bar to be ready by the next Cannes Film Festival.

What’s your advice for those who want to be a GM?

A successful General Manager understands the vision of their hotel and the role that each key executive plays in understanding and carrying that vision out – you cannot be a master of all trades, and so must surround yourself with the best team and maintain transparency between all departments to ensure all knowledge and skills are being shared. Effective communication makes for a cohesive team on the same wavelength.

Perseverance is also key; you must work your way up to becoming a General Manager and gain knowledge and understanding of all sides of the business to be able to skilfully lead an entire team further on in your career. Every success and failure all accumulate into a wealth of experience that you can draw upon in the future.

Visit Michel Cottray here