My favorite place to spend Christmas is Monaco. This is for both the extravagant decorations and the complete experience of Christmas that Monaco puts together over the period. From the Christmas Market by the Marina to the post-Christmas Cirque du Soleil style street shows in the square running into the New Year. Monaco is truly one of the jolliest Christmas destinations on earth. When choosing the perfect luxury hotel to book for Christmas in Monte Carlo, I would highly recommend the Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo (a member of Leading Hotels of the World). The hotel was awarded “Best Hotel in Monaco” by Conde Nast Traveller and was built to offer true luxury at the dawn of the 20th century. As you enter the hotel through the revolving door you are engulfed by their signature fragrance that fills the historic and opulent cream mosaic floored lobby. Walk through the lobby bar and up a maze of beautifully decorated pastel corridors and stairways to your room.
The hotel has 2 main bars, the lobby “Limun” bar, and the separate “Crystal Bar”. Le Visitamar restaurant which has been awarded 1 Michelin star is well worth a visit. Finally staying here gives you access to “Thermes Marins Monte Carlo, a wonderful spa facility with a good-sized warm pool, as well as access to the Monte Carlo Beach Club, part of the Monte Carlo Beach hotel April thru October, (5 mins by taxi).
The package to book over Christmas is the Hermitage’s family Christmas package which includes their amazing Santa experience on the afternoon of Christmas Eve for the little ones and then their wonderful evening feast on Christmas Eve for the grown-ups.
Santa Claus & Christmas Tea Time At The Hermitage
If you have children, this event is an absolute must. The Hermitage sparkles at this time of year with every inch of the hotel lobby covered in decorations, animated animals peeking out of a forest scene. Outside a forest of snow-laden pines sparkles surrounding the centerpiece, an ornate children’s carousel.
Arrive to see Santa sitting on his throne by the tree in the historic Salle Belle Époque of Hôtel Hermitage, the impressive main dining room with pink marble columns and painted murals on the ceiling. What a Santa! You don’t have to be a child to feel the goosebumps when you actually meet him. He was just how I imagine Santa, just like he had walked out of a classic Christmas card. His large, lively character really came through and he was full of multilingual Ho Ho Ho’s and so very caring to each and every child at the event, he got 10/10!
Help yourself to the numerous tasty treats, chocolate fountains, cakes, crepes, waffles, sweets, as well as an extensive savory selection all arranged on tables around the tree while you listen to the live band sing all your favorite Christmas tunes brilliantly. Your children will get creative with coloring, making impressive table decorations before they get their moment with Santa. Their magic moment entails Santa walking them out through the main doors of the hotel and over to the stunning carousel surrounded by the forest of snow-covered pines for their own special ride with Santa. Even shy children were bought out of themselves and ended up squealing with joy and hi-five-ing Santa as they whizzed round and round on their horses. I’ve never been to an event that took me back to my childhood Christmas through the joy of the children.
Christmas Eve at the Hôtel Hermitage
When evening comes the Salle Belle Époque of Hôtel Hermitage with its ornate ceilings and ballroom once again hosts the main event. With the lights turned down and the band playing, including a brilliant saxophonist who weaved his way between the tables, you can enjoy an exquisite feast accompanied by a bottle of Tattinger champagne. The starter was a prawn avocado-potato mash which was so tasty, then Foi Gras, (sorry not a fan of this Monte Carlo favorite), with a tasty scone and cranberries. Main was a mouth-watering grouse dish with bits of sausage that added a festive flavor. Then dessert, a Christmas bouche, and a chocolate cake.
The food tasted amazing, it was filling and came out with just the right timing between courses. The service was as excellent as you’d expect from a hotel of this caliber. A seamlessly never-ending supply of champaign guaranteed the atmosphere was friendly, relaxed, and joyful. As we strolled, swaying slightly, out past the Christmas tree I could almost hear Rudolf flying by and a distant Ho Ho Ho! Unforgettable.
Room rates start at €298 EUR.
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