A chic playground for the rich and famous, Monaco is more than just elegant parties, fine-dining restaurants and the location for Formula One and film festivals. Its striking architecture, sophisticated casinos, stunning coastline and high-end shopping scene offer something for everyone. Hadag discovered the country with a stay at one one of its most iconic hotels…
AN EXCLUSIVE PARADISE
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.
Hadag was invited by Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, to experience three days and nights at the world-renowned Hôtel de Paris MonteCarlo. 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 fairytale 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 uberexclusive 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. 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.
Two food and drinks’ experiences really stood out during our stay. The first was an evening aperitivo at the open-air courtyard, Le Patio. 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 add to the deluxe décor. The bar’s new terrace offers remarkable views of Place du Casino, Casino de Monte-Carlo, and the Mediterranean Sea.
Next, we headed to 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.
SOAK UP THE SUN
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, followed by 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.
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 took 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, high-street shopping locations and exclusive dining venues, Monaco has plenty to offer all those willing to shell out the Euros.
THERMES MARINS MONTE-CARLO
We made our way to yet another remarkable Monacan location, Thermes Marins MonteCarlo, 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, 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
On the flight back, we sat and reminisced over our once-in-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.