The Monaco Grand Prix is far more than a Formula 1 race. Although cars racing around the streets of Monte Carlo at 200mph is the main attraction, there will be a plethora of VIP events and experiences to enjoy throughout race week.
Indeed, the Monaco Grand Prix transcends Formula 1 like no other race and is rightly considered the most glamorous sporting event in the world. Thousands of celebrities, business executives and influencers will join the 20 drivers in the principality on May 26.
For anyone planning to jet into Monaco for the event, Elite Traveler has created a VIP guide detailing where to stay, where to eat and where to watch the race.
Getting to Monaco
With thousands of motorsport fans descending on the nearby airports, commercial flights can be sold out months in advance. Usually, a haunt for the world’s wealthiest, Monaco is well-equipped for the inevitable spike in private jet traffic for race week.
Riviera Airport is offering special packages for private jets during the race weekend (25-27 May). The airport benefits from having no slot restrictions and is located just an hour away in Albenga, Italy.
Where to stay in Monaco
Hôtel de Paris
The recently-renovated Hôtel de Paris is both ideally located for both exploring Monte Carlo and for experiencing the race itself. Sitting within the fabled Place du Casino, guests at the hotel are within walking distance of the Salle Garnier opera house and Casino Monte-Carlo. Although not immediately adjacent to the race track, guests staying in one of the sea view suites will gain private access to a snippet of the action from their terrace. This is certainly a hotel for the casual fan looking to make the most of their weekend in Monaco.
Sea view suites from $16,600 per night with a four-night minimum over race weekend.
Although only a minute away from Place du Casino, the atmosphere transforms at nearby Hôtel Hermitage. Located on the edge of the Mediterranean port, the race can be viewed unrestricted from the Salle Belle Epoque terrace. For a more private experience, the Penthouse Suite has its own terrace, where guests can view the race in privacy and, after the race is over, watch the sunset over the myriad superyachts moored in the harbor.
The Penthouse Suite from $15,040 per night with a four-night minimum over race weekend.
Fairmont Monte Carlo
Veterans of the Monaco Grand Prix will recognize the name of this hotel. Fairmont Monte Carlo oversees the famous Fairmont hair-pin bend, where drivers are forced to reduce their speed to a pedestrian 30mph.
There are ample viewing points within the hotel and guests can pay for access to the top terrace on Sunday. This may lack the privacy of your own terrace, but the atmosphere is sure to be spectacular with many of the hotel’s guests enjoying the race action from there.
Garden Suite with Top Terrace access from $7,800 per night with a three-night minimum over race weekend.
Where to eat in Monaco
Le Louis XV
We return to the Hôtel de Paris for quite possibly the finest haute cuisine to be found in Monaco, and perhaps in the entire Coté de Azur. Le Louis XV became the first ever hotel restaurant to earn three Michelin stars in 1990 and has maintained them ever since. That is mainly due to efforts of genius chef Alain Ducasse, who boasts 21 Michelin stars across his many restaurants. The Meditteranean menu is, in the words of Ducasse, designed to “taste like the sun” and takes its inspiration from the local fisheries and fertile lands across the French Riviera.
Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo
Although boasting one less star than Le Louis XV, many a food critic would argue that Joel Robuchon’s eponymous restaurant, tucked away in Hotel Metropole, is actually the top restaurant in the principality. The open kitchen allows diners to watch executive chef Christophe Cussac prepare flawless dishes including Robuchon’s signature crab with citrus-flavored avocado and red pepper sauce. The Discovery Menu, a 10-course tasting experience, takes you on a tour of the very best the Mediterranean has to offer from land to sea.
Discovery Menu from $245 per person.
Away from the Monaco-mania and located high in the surrounding hills is the two-Michelin-starred Chevre d’Or. Situated inside a refurbished castle overlooking the Mediterranean 1,400-feet below, this is the dining location that dreams are made of. Executive chef Arnaud Faye took charge of the kitchen in 2016 and delivers exceptional Meditteranean dishes that match the aforementioned two. What separates this restaurant from them, however, is pastry chef Julien Dugourd. This master of the art is famed for his deconstructed lemon, which is sourced from nearby Menton.
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Where to watch the Monaco Grand Prix
From a superyacht
The berths in Monaco’s port are among the most coveted in the world and are near impossible to get during race week. That leaves you with two choices: anchor your yacht out of port and tender in, or buy a superyacht experience from a hospitality expert.
Grand Prix Events are specialists in Formula 1 packages and their offering is one of the best we have seen. Their Super Yacht Package includes helicopter transfers from the airport and five nights onboard their own chartered yacht, which is moored by the tunnel exit and the accident-prone chicane that follows.
The package also gets you into some of the most exclusive and glamorous events across race week, including drinks with F1 legends, a yacht cocktail party and the Amber Lounge after party, where drivers and VIPs come together for a final night of hedonism.
The Super Yacht Package from Grand Prix Events is priced at $14,300 per person based on two people occupying the master cabin.
The Shangri-La building is located right in the middle of the harbor area and is just around the corner from where the race begins. For race week, the suites within the building are transformed into luxury hospitality spaces, where enthusiastic F1 fans come together for arguably the best view in the city.
From the ninth floor, a panoramic view of Monaco is on offer, allowing guests to see more of the race than at any other location. Not only that, but it is also located right by a giant screen, meaning you won’t miss a second of the action.
Hospitality specialists GPExperiences can tailor your experience down to the finest details and also offer lower terraces in case you want to be closer to the action.
The Formula 1 Paddock Club
The Paddock Club is Formula 1’s official hospitality area and is where many of the official guests (celebrities, influencers and VIPs) will watch the race from. This makes it the best place in town for celebrity spotting and, because of its official status, you also get the best view at the Rascasse corner.
An open bar and gourmet food is included in all packages while the most exclusive also includes grid walks and reserved seats in the grandstand, the most coveted viewing point of them all.
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Events & Experiences in Monaco
The Amber Lounge after-party becomes the hottest ticket in town once the chequered flag brings an end to the action. This hedonistic evening brings the curtain down on race week in fine style. Drivers and their teams will be present alongside celebrities to unwind after a hectic few days of high-octane racing. Expect iconic live acts, sets from world-famous DJs and unlimited champagne and premium spirits.
Simple admission tickets begin at $935 but for the ultimate experience, a Methusalem Table will see you and your selected guests served with a huge six-liter (1.3 gallons) bottle of premium champagne.
A Methusalem Table is priced at $29,233.
When Monday rolls around, the city empties at a spectacular rate, but if you have time to hang around, you can get more automotive kicks at Top Marques Monaco. Held from May 30 to June 3, this motor show is one of the most exclusive in the world.
Attendees will not only have the chance to see new hypercars being unveiled but will also have the chance to buy some of the rarest and most expensive in the world.
Among the highlights will be the premiere of the new McLaren Grand Tourer, the Zacaria, a street-legal F1-style car and the Aston Martin 003, a groundbreaking hybrid model.