If you read my blog regularly you will know that my family and I love Monaco. I have stayed in all of the luxury hotels in this tiny principality but there is one gem that you should consider, that may not yet be on your radar if you are a luxury traveler.
Hidden in the southernmost ward in the Principality of Monaco, the Columbus Monaco can be found right in the center of Fontvieille. This patch of Monaco has two Marinas and a commercial complex containing a supermarket, clothes shops, McDonald’s, and coffee shops.
Fontvieille is separated from the rest of Monaco by a huge headland of rock which juts out from the surrounding mountains, and as such, it feels a world away from Casino Square and the more touristy center.
This is the kind of place where you can wander around the quiet marina and admire the many impressive craft floating in its berths, where you can stroll to and from the shops picking up snacks, where you can sit out on your balcony with a glass of wine and watch the world meander by. This part of Monaco has a much more leisurely pace.
Wherever you decide to stay, in Monte Carlo or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more (as well as your usual Marriott Bonvoy Hyatt, etc points and status benefits).
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Why We Love This Hotel
Columbus is a stylish boutique hotel that plays funky music in the lobby and smells delicious. The price is more reasonable than the other luxury hotel options in Monaco. Dare I say it, but this is a more affordable option in the summer months, and yet the hotel itself is hugely luxurious and comes highly recommended.
The Columbus Hotel in Monaco is sat in the center of Fontvieille, which is to the west of the main harbor in Monte-Carlo. The Fontvielle peninsula was reclaimed from the sea in the 1970s and is the location of Monaco’s Stadium – home of AS Monaco.
Otherwise, the area is largely residential, made up of a number of matching pink-hued apartment blocks, overlooking one of two marinas. You will also find the main heliport for Monaco here, as well as the Princess Grace Rose Garden, numerous waterfront bistros, restaurants and a small shopping mall containing the largest supermarket (Carrefour) in Monaco. Fontvieille also boasts one of Monaco’s premium apartment blocks, home to a number of famous residents drawn by the large sea view properties and relative seclusion of the area.
Best Time To Visit
Monaco is gorgeously hot in the summer, maybe 25-30’C during the day. In the winter the weather can be great too, a cooler 12-20’C, but with the sunshine. The winter warmth often feels like an English summer day.
The center of town can get crowded in July and August and for the Formula 1 Grand Prix at the end of May. The best time to visit is, therefore, the rest of May and September, when the weather is still wonderful, but the crowds have gone.
How To Get There
The best way to get to the Columbus hotel is to fly into Nice and then either transfer via car or you can actually Helicopter from Nice Airport to the Helipad in Monaco which is less than a minute’s walk from the hotel.
Fontvielle does feel remote from the center of Monaco. The 20-minute walk, largely uphill, to reach Casino square, can be draining in the summer heat. But outside of the high season, it is a very pleasant walk. If you choose to stay in the Columbus hotel in the heat of the summer, you really need to take a taxi or the hotel’s free minibus to reach the main attractions in Monaco.
Conversely, Fontvielle’s local amenities are just a stone’s throw away and there are plenty of restaurants and attractions along the marina waterfront. Fontvielle is beautifully kept and feels very safe.
Style & Character
The Columbus hotel itself is located in one of the pinky Fontvielle blocks. It welcomes you with an arched glass entrance that leads to an impressive staircase that sweeps you around to the reception.
A bar and restaurant lead off either side of the reception foyer and the whole foyer area is super stylish and feels very luxurious. It was recently refurbished and is decorated in hues of blue, with pictures of yachting and boats, highlighting its proximity to the nearby marina and seafront.
Mood lighting, comfy sofas, clever mirrors and lots of seating areas make this the kind of place that you would want to hang out and maybe do a spot of work or reading. Muted music makes the hotel feel youthful and fun, even though there is a massive range of clientele ranging from young couples to families and older guests.
Food & Drink
Cream walls and dark wood tables offer internal dining and an umbrella-covered outdoor area offers alfresco breakfast seating with a view to the gardens. Breakfast itself is never too busy and feels intimate due to the size of the hotel. The spread was excellent considering the 3-star rating of the hotel. In fact, I find this rating confusing as a hotel like this in England would be, without a doubt, a 4-star hotel and possibly a 5-star boutique hotel. In my humble opinion, at 3 stars, this hotel is vastly under-rated
The sun-drenched, indoor-outdoor breakfast area and veranda offers a lovely place to fill up in the morning and the breakfast buffet is extensive. Enjoy large bowls of fruit, fruit salad, apple sauce and yogurt, cereals, loads of bread which you can toast (or not) with jams, cold meats, cheeses, muesli, fruit and juice. There is also a hot buffet with scrambled eggs, beans, fried mushrooms, sausages, and bacon plus you can enjoy one of two excellent coffee machines that deliver enormous coffees and hot chocolates.
Breakfast is very much a self serve affair and you can take as much as you like. The area is kept immaculate and there is everything you could want or need to fill up. Take it outside when the weather is warm, or in the cozy indoor restaurant when the weather is cooler.
Service & Facilities
There is also a cozy, stylish bar and a good restaurant in the Columbus hotel. There is also a pool area outside the back of the hotel which can be used to laze around. This also appears to be shared with the local apartment blocks so it can get busy in the summer, although it is a great facility nonetheless.
Our room was brilliant. 814. It was spacious and right to the end of one side of the hotel, so was super quiet. I particularly liked the king bed in the room, it was large and had a mattress topper that made sleeping in it unbelievably comfortable. Otherwise, the room was a nice size with a gorgeous balcony with 8th-floor views over the gardens and the helipad and ocean to the far left. The sunset views from the balcony were stunning.
Within the room, the decor was the same muted blues of the lobby with nautical pictures on the walls. There was a double sofa bed, a large desk area, and a wall-mounted tv. The bathroom was immaculately clean (as was the rest of the room) with a bath with a powerful shower, a toilet and a sink. The lighting was muted and moody except for in the bathroom which was nice and bright, ideal for applying makeup, etc. The Columbus is also generous with their gorgeous smelling Elemis branded shower gel, body lotion, and shampoo (although conditioner was lacking), and of course, there is a hairdryer.
One thing to note is the rooms at the front are bathed in beautiful sunshine most of the day compared to the darker rooms at the back, so request a room with a view over the front of the hotel.
The pool here is also shared by the surrounding apartment blocks, located across the gardens and accessed using your room key. The pool itself isn’t big, but is large enough to do lengths in without bashing into others and is a nice place to cool down in the summer.
As our visit was in the winter, so we didn’t use it but I have used the pool on previous stays and it is a nice facility. Being near to the heliport the views of the helicopters landing and taking off as you exercise is fun. This heated outdoor pool with its sea view is open between April and October (closed Thursday mornings for maintenance) and you can see it on the Columbus website.
I would return ton Columbus Monaco in a heartbeat, and I overheard a number of other couples negotiating their trips back at breakfast, so we are not the only guests who will return again and again.
This is a very loved boutique hotel with a stylish atmosphere, amplified by its stylish design. It’s far more intimate than some of the larger impersonal chains in the principality, such as the Fairmont in the center or the Marriott Cap D’Ail around the corner. Importantly the staff seem to care and try hard to accommodate their guests. Columbus, I miss you already!
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.