If you are a regular reader of Luxury Travel Diary, you will know that the tiny principality of Monaco is one of my favourite destinations. Monte-Carlo is glamorous, lively and bathed in the sunshine of the French Riviera. There are a number of top luxury hotels and this is my list of the best places to stay in Monaco.
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Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo: Classic Luxury
Overlooking the main harbour in Monaco, just a street away from Casino Square, the Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo, which is a member of Leading Hotels of the World, is a palatial building built at the turn of the century and is a beautiful example of Belle- Époque style and décor. This is my favourite hotel in Monte Carlo for old world style, with not one but two incredibly impressive marble clad foyers and what feels like miles of beautiful corridors leading to a myriad of historic rooms. There are in fact 325 rooms and suites and it is worth requesting a refurbished room and paying for a room with a breathtaking panorama of the harbour.
The 1 Michelin star seafood restaurant “Le Vistimar” serves excellent food and views over the harbour and the rock of Monaco. The Crystal Bar & Terrace offers the same views and is the perfect place to enjoy cocktails or after dinner drinks.
The hotel is connected to the “Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo” Spa and Pool by an underground tunnel. This facility incorporates an indoor pool and extensive gym facility. In the summer, a complimentary shuttle also gives guests free access to the Monte-Carlo Beach Club where you can sunbathe next to the lapping mediterranean sea. It is worth noting that “Beach Club” is a slightly inaccurate description of this club, which has an Olympic size pool and cabanas strategically placed on concrete jetties protruding into the sea, but the beach itself is virtually non-existent. I have written a more detailed review of the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo.
Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort: The Best Pool In The World
This impressive Vegas-style luxury hotel has an immense cathedral-like foyer and sits on a peninsula, jutting out into the Mediterranean sea. The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort is a brilliant hotel for families as it boasts Europe’s only sandy-bottomed lagoon which is surrounded by palms and tropical foliage and has loungers which dip their feet in the water.
This is truly the most impressive and largest pool I have experienced. Nothing beats cooling down in these waters, digging your feet into the sand at the bottom or swimming through one of the many waterfalls. The lagoon pool is sadly only open in the summer (May – September) but there is also a large indoor-outdoor pool which remains open throughout the year.
All 334 rooms are modern with tiled floors and thick rugs, rainforest showers, a separate bath and large balconies overlooking the sea and pool. Base rooms offer North facing views to the mountains that back onto Monaco, so it is worth upgrading to be able to enjoy a sunny balcony with better views. Family rooms offer 2 double beds and have sunset views over the pool or sunrise views out to sea. I prefer the sunset West facing rooms as the sun streams in all afternoon and evening. The spa here is by Cinques Mondes plus there is a small gym and four restaurants. Marcel Ravin at The Blue Bay is probably my favourite restaurant for gourmet food in the world with a wonderful sunset ambience in the summer and truly extraordinary food. There is also a private dock and helipad. I have written a more detailed review of the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort.
Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo: Chic & Stylish
The Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo overlooks the gardens bordering Casino Square and sits directly on top of the high-end indoor Metropole Shopping Centre, which is full of designer boutiques. Stroll down a driveway adorned with tropical plants and expensive sports cars, and you will reach the impressive and always beautifully decorated foyer.
Every few weeks, like a theatre show, the flowers and decor are changed according to the season. Purples, pinks and heart-shaped arrangements are set up for Valentines. At Christmas, there is always an enormous and beautifully decorated tree. The room itself has been transformed by Jacques Garcia into a stylish lounge with thick fabrics and draping curtains combined with Caribbean, Egyptian and Renaissance influences and imagery.
146 Bedrooms have Romeo and Juliette balconies with disappointing views. signature suites on the top floor with terraces with loungers and expansive views over the city. This is one of the smaller hotels in Monaco but an extensive spa attracts guests and locals with dark woods and an Asian Zen feel.
The Karl Lagerfeld pool is alfresco in the summer surrounded by the Odyssey bar and restaurant area. In the winter, an ingenious marquee style building is put together which turns this outdoor pool into an indoor pool. I love this pool as it is immaculate and warm. Even in mid-winter you can laze by the pool on super soft loungers under complimentary lights and while the say away. It is probably the best winter pool in Monaco because it is so warm.
The main hotel restaurant is the Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo with two-Michelin stars, which serves international cuisine and signature mash. Robuchon also runs the neighbouring Japanese restaurant Yoshi at the hotel, which has one Michelin star. I have written a more detailed review of the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo.
Monte-Carlo Beach: An Escape On The Edge Of Monaco
Built in the 1920s, this hotel sits on the Roquebrune-Cap-Martin peninsula, actually just outside the tax-free perimeter of Monaco and just beyond the Monte Carlo Bay hotel. Painted red and a pleasantly rounded shape, this hotel has an art deco feel and oozes Riviera glamour. Rooms look out over the sea and towards the Monte Carlo Bay hotel and the hotel’s grounds house the impressive Monte Carlo Beach Club with luxurious cabanas surrounding an Olympic sized swimming pool.
Inside, the hotel bar is a sophisticated mix of white sofas, dark wood floors and Mediterranean views. Elsa, the main restaurant, named after American socialite Elsa Maxwell who oversaw the hotel’s launch in 1929, serves up creative dishes with both French and Italian influences. Le Deck is an informal poolside café, open for lunch each day. Ground floor rooms here are like your very own beach house with floor to ceiling windows that open to give direct access, down a couple of steps, out to the small beach and along to the pool. Room 34 is recommended, this Junior Suite is situated at the far end of the row so feels the most private. There is a complimentary shuttle that takes guests to Casino Square for Café De Paris and all the surrounding restaurants and shops.
Fairmont Monte Carlo: The Best 4-Star Hotel In Monaco
The Fairmont Monte Carlo is the best four star hotel in Monaco and hosts the famous Niki Beach in the summer which turns the pool of this hotel into a stylish cocktail arena where you can enjoy a drink on your lounger to the thumping sounds of a live DJ. From this rooftop pool, you can see from one end of Monaco to the other. In the winter the pool converts back into a quiet area, where you can swim laps in peace as the winter sunshine beats down and warms your back.
The beauty of this pool and the hotel itself, is the position, right on the waterfront and on the sea-side of Casino Square. The “Riviera” rooms all offer the same impressive views (pictured above) with balconies hanging over the water in such a way that you feel more like you are on a ship than in a landlocked hotel. You can actually feel the sea spray as you sun yourself on the balcony!
Breakfast tends to be served in their roof-top restaurant and has some of the best views of any breakfast room in Monaco, with sweeping views out to sea and across the bay.
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