There’s a scandal at the Hotel du Cap, the beloved, fabled, famed, hotel resort in Cap d’Antibes. Hotel du Cap is the favorite of movie stars for decades, and it’s the central meeting place for stars and movie execs during the Cannes Film Festival.
On Thursday, the former director of the Hotel, Jean Claude Irondell, is going before a judge in Grasse, in the South of France. He’s accused of massive embezzlement, with a number put at, at least, $1 million. Irondell was legendary at the Hotel, and its seaside adjunct hotel and restaurant/club, the Eden Roc. He ruled with an iron fist and kept the place in pristine, exclusive condition.
For years, though, until very recently, the Hotel du Cap and Eden Roc accepted only cash. No credit cards, no matter who you were. If you were going there, you had to wire money ahead. American celebrities like Bill Cosby and Johnny Carson always used to brag about this method of payment.
Now Irondell is being accused, according to reports in French newspapers like the Sunday Journal (story by Thierry Boinet), of skimming like crazy off the top. Reports say he’s accused of essentially keeping double books, charging the extremely well heeled guests more than the charges recorded at the hotel, and collecting fees under the table, so to speak, for things like access to the magnificent pool and even for ice deliveries to the cabanas.
One of the accusations is that Irondell ran a whole separate system for himself when it came to the off-campus villas that surround the main hotel. The villas are like small mansions, usually rented by the very rich and famous. They are also often vulnerable to robberies. (A few seasons ago, movie producer Graham King and his guests were thoroughly cleaned out.)
Irondell worked at the du Cap for 51 years, 35 of which he was general manager. He has denied all the accusations. He now lives in a luxurious villa with a great view of the stunning Mediterranean and the Eden Roc. (Not to hype this too much, but if you’ve been lucky enough to go to the Eden Roc just for lunch, it’s Paradise. Hotel rooms start at $1,000 and those are the size of a Smart Car.)
But according to the newspaper account, Irondelle may even have been living like his billionaire guests, running up expenses that startled auditors from private dinners to expensive Champagne. Even Irondelle’s dogs are said to have profited from his alleged malfeasance–eating prime boeuf dinners every night. Zoot alors!