By Thea Halstead
This story originally appeared in the September/October 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
The city-state of Monaco can’t help but conjure romantic visions of yachts, casinos and glamour, all set against an alluring Belle Époque backdrop and the calming azure hues of the Mediterranean. Famous for being home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world, this small principality punches well above its weight in terms of world-class hotels, exceptional restaurants and luxury entertainment.
Le Louis XV—Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris
The legendary hotel is in the midst of a refurbishment and Le Louis XV looks all the better for it, as its position as the go-to for stand-out gastronomical experiences in the principality has only been solidified by the new decor and revamped menu. Ranked by Elite Traveler readers as one of the 40 best restaurants in the world, this three-Michelin-starred establishment offers dishes such as gamberoni from San Remo, rock fish gelée, caviar and guinea fowl from Les Landes, girolle mushroom and potatoes.
Joël Robuchon at the Metropole
Though he now has three restaurants in the hotel, Joël Robuchon’s first foray (launched in 2004) is still our favorite. The open teppanyaki-style kitchen serves up sophisticated dishes like clams and cockles with sorrel and shimeji mushrooms in a vermouth shellfish broth, quail stuffed with foie gras, and caramelized, truffle mashed potato. For a particularly intimate experience, why not ask the concierge to reserve the chef’s table for a special occasion?
Serving Thai and Japanese dishes, Maya Bay combines edgy oriental style with high quality ingredients. The relaxed atmosphere offers a respite from the buzz of the principality and the cocktail list is substantial. A new offering from its owners, the Pastor Group, is also worth looking out for when it opens in mid-September—Maya Jah will combine Indian and Moroccan cuisine.
Contact +377 977 074 67, mayabay.mc
A Monaco institution which has just completed a large-scale renovation, the legendary nightspot Jimmy’z (pictured) is the place to see and be seen. It tends to attract a mature crowd and opens from 11:30pm. The Boom Boom Room is ideal if you want seclusion; it has a private entrance and offers views over the dance floor.
A trip to Monaco isn’t really complete without a visit to one of the famous casinos. The Casino de Monte-Carlo houses gaming tables and machines set against a lavish gilded backdrop.
There’s only two ways into Monaco: by sea or sky. The winding roads, often congested, are just not worth the stress, and with easy access from Nice airport via helicopter in under 10 minutes you might as well take the simple option.
A Year-Round Vacation Haven
Autumn If you’ve been inspired by our top yacht feature in the Sep/Oct issue of Elite Traveler, head to the famous Monaco Yacht Show to browse the on-water offerings. monacoyachtshow.com
Winter The French Alps are well within range of Monaco, with Courchevel and Méribel just an hour’s helicopter ride away.
Spring One of the most prestigious car races in the world, the Monaco Grand Prix is held every year in May. Don’t forget your earplugs. acm.mc
Summer Classical music fans flock to the historic Palais Princier de Monaco for its series of summer concerts. palais.mc
Take Three/// Top Suites
Princely Diamond Suite
This historic hotel is ideally positioned in the center of town, with easy access to the shops, casinos and restaurants. With three terraces offering spectacular sea views, the Princely Diamond Suite is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet that this principality offers—unless you’re there for the Grand Prix, of course. Sprawling over 3,550 sq ft of space, the three-bedroom suite exudes oriental elegance care of its Pierre-Yves Rochon interior.
Carré d’Or Suite
The Hotel Metropole has worked hard to stand out from the crowd. Bringing Karl Lagerfeld on board to design the pool experience Odyssey and inviting Heinz Beck to host a pop-up restaurant has created a real buzz. The Carré d’Or Suite is the pinnacle of privacy with expansive terraces offering unique views over the casino, manicured gardens and the dazzling Mediterranean. The interior exudes old-world charm with heavily decorated prints and fabrics complementing Louis XVI furniture.
Two-Bedroom Suite: Sunshine with Jacuzzi
Monte Carlo Beach Hotel
Set on a stunning cape on the Riviera, the Monte Carlo Beach hotel has its own private beach on which to relax or partake in some water sports, away from the crowds that descend over the summer months. The Two-Bedroom Suite is light and airy, with cream wood accents complementing comfortable decor. The jewel in its crown is the 1,077 sq ft terrace overlooking the resort, on which you can sunbathe, dine and enjoy the large Jacuzzi in total privacy and peace.