Hidden in the southernmost ward in the Principality of Monaco, you will find the Columbus Monaco. This patch of Monaco, named Fontvieille, 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 that juts out from the surrounding mountains. This headland has an “old town” on the top, and houses the Prince’s Palace and the Oceanographic museum. Because Fontvielle is on the other side of this peninsula, it feels more residential and 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 super yachts and speedboats floating in its berths. You can take a leisurely stroll to and from the shops picking up snacks and you can enjoy those snacks or perhaps a glass of wine on your balcony as you watch the world meander by. This part of Monaco offers a much more leisurely “Riviera” pace.
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, this is a more affordable option in the summer months, and yet the hotel itself is lovely 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.
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, and often bathed in sunshine. The winter warmth often feels like an English summer day.
The center of town can get particularly crowded in July and August and for the main events including the Rolex Masters and the Formula 1 Grand Prix at the end of May. The best time to visit is probably September, when the weather is still wonderful, but the crowds have gone.
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 30-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 can 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 stylish. It is decorated in hues of blue, with pictures of yachts 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 feels intimate due to the size of the hotel. The spread is pleasant with trays of scrambled eggs, baked beans, sausages and bacon. In the cold section you can chose from whole fruit, fruit salad, apple sauce and yogurt, cereals, bread which you can toast (or not) with jams, cold meats, cheeses, muesli, fruit, and juice. You can enjoy one of two excellent coffee machines that deliver teas, coffees and hot chocolates.
Breakfast is a self-serve affair and you can take as much as you like. Take it outside when the weather is warm, or in the cozy indoor restaurant when the weather is cooler.
Service & Facilities
There is a cozy, stylish bar and a 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 pool 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.
The pool here is also shared by the surrounding apartment blocks, and is 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 it offers 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 is open between April and October.
Our room was brilliant. 814. It was spacious and right at the end of one side of the hotel, making it nice and quiet. I particularly liked the king bed in the room. It was large and had a mattress topper that made sleeping in it easy and 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 had 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 clean with white tiles and 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 amenities were Elemis branded shower gel and body lotion secured to the wall, and there was a hairdryer.
One thing to note is that the rooms at the front of the hotel 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.
This boutique hotel has a stylish atmosphere, amplified by its stylish design. It’s far more intimate than many larger impersonal chain hotels. For British guests it also has BBC and BBC World on the TV which is also appreciated.
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