"Chaos is not the opposite of rhythm but the milieu of all milieus"
Deleuze & Guattari

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


It was this elegant hotel that played muse to F. Scott Fitzgerald for his 1934 novel Tender is the Night, which is one of my favourites. It has hosted everyone, from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor immediately after abdication in 1936 to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2011, along with Kirsten Dunst and Lars von Trier who were staying here during the whole Hitler fiasco at this year's film festival. Right after the festival a Dior campaign starring Jude Law was shot on the jetty. The crew were eye-bogglingly good looking in the pool afterwards. And that's just the crew! Boy-girls in high-waisted black bikinis with peroxide crew(ha) cuts. I digress.

George-Bernard Shaw wrote here. The Russian aristocracy sheltered here in 1917. Karl Lagerfeld showed his last Cruise collection here, afterwards sending a drawing to the manager to say thank you for the perfect service, as Picasso and Chagall had done before him. And the garden has a dogs' graveyard, which is packed, because it's been there since 1900.

After staying the same for yonks and resisting the scourge that is modern technology, it has just had a makeover and the big reveal revealed that - ta da! - not much has changed. Which everyone is happy about. If it ain't broke etc.

The hotel's owner Maja Oetker is 76 and designs the interiors herself, choosing fabrics, details and room layouts. Respect. She told me that her favourites are all the classics - fabrics from Colefax and Fowler, Manuel Canovas and Pierre Frey. Pale pink sparkly marble in the bathrooms with movie star bulb mirrors. Antique tapestries in the bar. Simple flower arrangements. White flatscreens on ornate baroque cabinets. Pastel colours. And a whole lot of symmetry.

Still playing muse today, the hotel stars in Karl Lagerfeld's fantasy film for Cruise 2012, alongside Amanda Harlech and Freja Beha.