The principality is known as a top-notch destination for the rich and famous. With striking architecture, sophisticated casinos, elegant dining spots, a high-end shopping scene, beautiful beaches and Formula One race cars taking to the city streets. Discover this small country and one of its most iconic hotels.
The Principality of Monaco
Officially named the Principality of Monaco, this sovereign state is located in the midst of the Côte d’Azur. Bordered by France to the west, the north and the east, and by the Mediterranean Sea to the south, this enchanting location couldn’t be situated on a more desirable strip of real estate.
With a size of just 2.1km/sq and a small population of under 39,000 (12,261 of which are millionaires), this exclusive location is the second smallest sovereign state in the world after Vatican City. Although French is the official language, English, Italian and Monégasque are also spoken by various residents.
OHLALA magazine was invited by Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, to experience three days and nights at the world-renowned Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo. Located on the escarpment at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera, in the most famous administrative area of Monaco, Monte-Carlo; we could not have been more delighted over this invitation.
After a comfortable six-and-a-half-hour flight, we touched down at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport in the early afternoon. Our lavish experience began soon after disembarking the aeroplane, with a luxury Mercedes, compliments of Hôtel de Paris, transferring us to the hotel. On route to our destination, we could already feel the captivating nature of the place, as we took in the mountain, beach and architectural views.
Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo
Built in 1864, this fairy-tale venue recently underwent a €250 million transformation, to ensure it remains one of the most glamourous and sought-after hotel destinations in the world.
Housing 209 rooms, including a variety of suites and newly modernised bedrooms, this uber-exclusive hotel has been designed to satisfy those who are used to an extravagant lifestyle.
With four lavish restaurants, a renowned lounge bar, a beautifully equipped wellness centre, celebrated cellars, a Rossano Ferretti Hair spa, along with the perfect central location, Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo is equipped to guarantee the most lavish of hotel experiences.
Upon arrival we were greeted like royalty with professional staff members immediately attending to our every need. After a hassle-free check in, I soon found myself in my opulent bedroom, marvelling at the spectacular view from my balcony, overlooking the port of Monaco.
Calcutta marble, Tussar silk and Pima cotton are amongst the precious materials used throughout the spacious accommodation. Expertly crafted wooden furniture and antique mirrors, along with light and modern decorative touches, all added to the room’s upmarket character. The inclusion of complimentary fresh fruits and pastries added a nice welcoming touch to my arrival.
Evening Beverage at Le Bar Américain
Making our way to the grand lobby for our evening aperitivo, we had to stop on several occasions to take in various aspects of the hotel’s magnificent design and décor.
The open-air inner courtyard, Le Patio, is a perfect location to sit, relax and take in the splendour of the property.
Entering Le Bar Américain, we felt as if we had been transported to the grandeur of the 1920s, with the bar itself looking like something out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby. Cosy ambiance and the sounds of a live blues band are what greeted us at this premium venue. Soft, fashionable lighting reveals the use of refined wooden surfaces, burnished leather furniture, deluxe décor and top-quality finishes, all of which add to the upmarket charm. The bar’s new terrace offers remarkable views of Place du Casino, Casino de Monte-Carlo, and the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Dinner at Le Grill
After one of the best refreshments to ever touch our taste buds, it was time to further stimulate our palates at one of Hôtel de Paris’ iconic restaurants, Le Grill. Located on the eighth floor of the hotel, this Michelin-Starred restaurant features marine-inspired décor, Mediterranean gourmet cuisine and a view from the extended terrace that spans all the way to Corsica.
The restaurant’s roof opens fully and the stars are only the beginning of Le Grill’s breathtaking evening view. Lights from the coasts of Monaco, France and Italy are all visible, along with the illuminated boats moored along the bay.
Renowned chefs, Frank Cerutti and Patrick Laine, provide Le Grill with a wide assortment of meat and fish dishes, whilst Pastry Chef, Olivier Berger, has created an assortment of outstanding soufflés, a quintessential French culinary tradition in which we had to indulge.
Thoroughly satisfied by our dining experience at Le Grill, it was time to retire to our wonderfully comfortable beds for the evening. A better night’s sleep would be hard to come by.
The Monaco Experience
The following morning, we headed out for an early walk around Monaco, to experience as much of this enchanting location as we possibly could. We began our adventure with a stroll along the world-famous Larvotto Beach in Monte-Carlo. After an hour of fresh sea air and phenomenal Rivera views, we turned our attention to the cities, taking in the exteriors of several famous monuments.
These landmarks included the impressive Cathedral of Monaco built in 1875, the Oceanographic Museum, the Odeon Tower, The Louis II Stadium, The Grimaldi Forum and the Monte-Carlo Casino; a venue we would become better acquainted with at a later stage.
We ended off our architectural tour with perhaps the most impressive building of them all, The Prince’s Palace of Monaco, the official residence of the Sovereign Prince.
Constructed as far back as 1191, this fortress has a long, rich history and we could have spent all day taking in the intricate details of its design. Before heading back to the hotel, we had to take a walk along a section of the almost 3.5km circuit of the Monaco Grand Prix. Considered to be the jewel in the crown of the Formula One calendar, this famous stretch of road offers stunning views of the yacht-packed harbour, as well as the grand buildings of Monte-Carlo. With a plethora of scenic views, highstreet shopping locations and exclusive dining venues, Monaco has plenty to offer all those willing to shell out the Euros.
The Princess Grace Suite
After a quick yet scrumptious lunch at our new favourite aperitivo spot, Le Bar Américain, we headed for our specially organised tour of Hôtel de Paris’ world-famous Princess Grace Suite.
The hotel’s Prince Rainer lll and Princess Grace suites are two of the finest hotel suites ever built, however, the most exclusive and exceptional location in the hotel, and on the entire Riviera, is the new Princess Grace Suite. Inspired by the timeless elegance and delicate refinement of Princess Grace of Monaco, this 910sq/m suite is spread over two floors at the very top of the hotel.
As we slowly made our way around the accommodation, taking in all the refined details, we appreciated the expertly crafted furniture, antique items and premium materials utilised throughout. Precious wood, mother-of-pearl, straw marquetry and agate panels all adorn this exceptional suite.
The seventh floor contains a large bedroom, a bathroom with a deep tub, a steam shower and sauna, a beautifully crafted desk, two walk-in wardrobes, a spacious lounge and a private cellar.
Making our way to the top of the exquisite marble staircase, the eighth floor revealed another gorgeous bedroom, a bathroom with tub and shower, as well as a living room and a dining room. From here, guests can access the sublime outdoor space.
As we stood on the 440sq/m terrace, we marvelled at the majestic views of the Prince’s Palace and the Mediterranean Sea. A heated infinity pool, an outdoor lounge and a rare granite Jacuzzi, are all located in this deluxe outdoor area.
Casino de Monte-Carlo
Still processing the sheer magnificence of the Princess Grace Suite, we soon found ourselves on route to one of the most exciting stops on our itinerary, dinner at Le Train Bleu, in the heart of the world-famous Casino de Monte-Carlo.
Established in 1863, Casino de Monte-Carlo, with its Belle Époque architecture, offers an exceptional selection of gaming and top-quality entertainment. One would struggle to find a more impressive and luxurious casino anywhere in the world.
This famous venue is featured in not one but two Bond films: Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery, and Goldeneye starring Pierce Brosnan. Frequented by celebrities from around the globe, this A-list destination could not be any more glamourous.
As we made our way, wide eyed, towards Le Train Bleu, we attempted to take in all the sophistication and attention to detail poured into the building’s interior composition.
Dinner at Le Train Bleu
At Le Train Bleu, one can expect nothing less than the very best of everything. With its elegant and refined layout, we once again found ourselves rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.
The configuration of this exceptional venue is a reproduction of a premier restaurant car. All details, including the paintwork, wooden finishes and choice of colours, were selected to pay homage to the grandeur of Belle Époque-era passenger trains.
Offering a gourmet take on fine Italian cuisine, we were hugely impressed by the quality and presentation of their culinary offerings. Designed to delight the most discerning of palates, the menu offers a wide array of painstakingly prepared, succulent dishes and decadent desserts.
By the time our evening was through, we left the venue feeling like 007 himself, ticking off an item we hadn’t even dared add to our bucket lists.
Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo
After an exceptional second night’s sleep, we made our way to yet another remarkable Monacan location, Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, for a day of health and pampering.
This 6,600sq/m facility is dedicated to wellness, fitness and preventative health. It offers an assortment of treatments and is equipped with a wide range of technology designed to assist anti-ageing, slimming, health and performance.
Thermes Marins houses a large terrace, a swimming pool, a steam room, a sauna, a bar/lounge area, an outdoor Jacuzzi, a solarium, a hammam and a panoramic fitness room, amongst other exceptional amenities.
Dinner at Buddha Bar
After a few hours of deluxe down time at the hotel, it was time to satisfy our culinary cravings once more. As one of the most sought-after restaurants in Monaco, Buddha Bar Monte-Carlo is a spectacular venue showcasing a 7m-high ceiling, premium wood finishes, a gigantic Buddha statue, intricate cornices, beautiful gilding and many other exceptional features.
Chef Éric Guillemaud is responsible for the menu consisting of Asian culinary delights from Japan, Thailand, China and Southeast Asia. He combines these delightful dishes with French culinary excellence, resulting in meals fit for royalty.
Seated on one of the two open-air terraces, we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner, along with the subtle blend of chillout, lounge and world music provided by local icon, DJ Papa.
Time to Say Au Revoir
After a third night of blissful sleep, it was time to prepare for our journey home. On the flight back, we sat and reminisced over our oncein-a-lifetime adventure. From the exceptional Hôtel de Paris to all the spectacular views, meals and venues we were fortunate enough to experience, we could not have felt more satisfied and grateful to have undertaken this truly captivating journey.
For more information or to make a reservation, please visit www.montecarlosbm.com