Off the coast of Cannes on a small island called Île Sainte-Marguerite lies one of the most exclusive private beach clubs in the world, La Guérite. Frequented by yacht owners and celebrities – Elton John, Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce and Jay Z, The Beckhams and The Kardashians are among the clientele – it’s a clear winner with the jetset of the French Riviera for a number of reasons.
Firstly, La Guérite is accessible only via boat. This added layer of privacy and exclusivity makes it an ideal place to escape the summer crowds or take a break from events such as the Cannes Yachting Festival and the Cannes Film Festival.
The history of the waterside idyll is another appeal. Founded in 1902, La Guérite has been frequented by high-profile insiders since its early days. What started life as a simple fisherman’s cabin is now a highly revered Mediterranean restaurant and beach club – both of which require bookings.
The beach club part of the venue is dedicated to relaxation, and luxurious sun loungers look over aquamarine waters and the flat-rocked cove. A ladder into the water offers guests an opportunity to cool off, and lounger service comes as standard. The restaurant, has an equally relaxed Mediterranean ambience – guests dine with their feet in the sand, overlooking the yacht-filled bay of Cannes.
The current menu at La Guérite was created by Executive Chef Yiannis Kioroglou, who channels his Greek heritage with a soulful menu of fresh seafood, French specialties, vegetable-rich appetisers and pasta courses. There’s also an excellent menu of French wines and cocktails, including a daily special, and a platter of sweet desserts.
As guests dine, a band made up on talented singers and guitarists moves between the tables, entertaining guests and taking requests. When the sun starts to set, the atmosphere heats up even more, and dancing on tables is not uncommon as the cocktails and Champagne flow freely.
There is no accommodation on the island – except the exclusive Le Grand Jardin luxury estate – so guests must arrive by boat. For those without a tender, the venue provides transfers from the Capitainerie in Port Canto, Cannes.
While La Guérite has been made famous by its celebrity clientele, there’s more to it than star appeal. Arriving at the venue, it feels like you’re being let into a secret known but to a few. The challenge thereafter is keeping it to yourself.