Cannes: Hotel du Cap Terror Raid Was Tasteless PR Stunt

Famous luxury resort was victim of a prank to promote tech startup

Last Updated: May 14, 2016 @ 4:13 PM

Famous luxury resort Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc, which sits on the sea outside of Cannes, France, has more than a few unhappy customers after a P.R. stunt impersonated a terror attack.

A military-style speed boat carrying men in helmets, covered faces and padded vests pulled up to the dock of the famous hotel, a frequent haunt of executives and stars like George Clooney while attending the Cannes Film Festival.

Guests dining on the hotel patio, including Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter reports Page Six, got a glimpse of the sight and fled toward the swimming pool in panic thinking the hotel was under attack.

“A helicopter and men with suicide vests and a fake ISIS flag pulled up by boat on the water in front of the Hotel du Cap’s Grill restaurant,” one witness told the New York Post column.

“Hotel security got rid of the men but everyone was stunned,” the witness added.

Initially, media reports said the raid was a police exercise. A French tech startup catering to the super rich immediately took ownership, however.

Oraxy, which claims to be a private marketing tool for “ultra high net worth individuals.” planned the stunt but did not mean to scare guests dining on the Mediterranean.

Heightened security has been the talk of this year’s festival, as organizers added unprecedented amounts of private guards on the ground and the event has been given oversight from the French Minister of the Interior.

While the French government made clear that the 2016 festival faces no credible threat, memories of the November 2015 attacks in Paris and the expected attendance of over 200,000 people have put authorities on edge.

In April, law-enforcement officials staged an elaborate attack simulation that saw four armed “militants” storming the famous red steps of the Palais. Over 200 officers participated in the exercise meant to promote confidence and preparation, but the press dissemination of images of the event proved unsettling to many.