Monaco – Stay and Play after the Royal Wedding




If you’re attending the Royal Wedding of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and Charlene Witstock, in the beginning of July, or merely observing it from afar, the current spotlight on Monaco has triggered an exciting new interest in the principality. As one of the world’s wealthiest, and tiniest kingdoms - the 485 acre jewel could easily fit inside the boundaries of Central Park - Monaco is a safe (locals boast you can leave the keys in your car), privileged and pristine non-stop carousel of exuberant temptations, guaranteed to satisfy even the most pampered traveler.


Yachts in Monaco's harbor

From Nice airport, its an effortless 14-mile drive or picturesque seven minute helicopter ride, within easy reach of the French Rivera’s most glamorous hangouts such as Villefranche sur Mer, Cannes and glorious hilltop Eze with its dizzying sea views. At first glance from the air, the small, steep country appears to climb up the rocky escarpments to create an amphitheatre of spiky mountains huddled above a persuasive narrative of sailboats and lavish rococo buildings.


Locals speak French and English and most activity centers around glamorous Monte Carlo, where at least 25 deluxe hotels and more than 140 restaurants range from the sublime to simple outdoor cafes. This represents an addition of more than 750 hotel rooms, an increase of one-third of the Principality’s total capacity as well as dramatic refurbishments at legendary hotels. On the waterfront, Port Hercules Harbor has been expanded to accommodate twice as many yachts and larger cruise ships than before. Add the services at the waterside Grimaldi Forum, and it’s easy to understand why Monaco is such a compelling destination. Stroll along 2.5 miles of sea-side walks, or palm-lined avenues ablaze with flowers. Shop non-stop in scads of chic designer boutiques, and indulge in sybaritic beauty and healing spa treatments.


Save time for the late-night disco scene and even if you’re not a gambler, be sure to check-out the magnificent 1878 Belle Epoque Monte-Carlo Casino and Opera House designed by Charles Garnier. Don’t miss the Princess Grace Irish Library, fascinating Monaco Oceanographic Museum where Jacques Cousteau was director, and daily changing of the guard at the storybook Prince’s Palace on the Rock. Depending on the season, attend a performance of the outstanding opera, ballet or Monte Carlo Philharmonic orchestra.


The elegant Hotel Metropole

Our favorite hotels include the Fairmount which overlooks the hairpin turns of the Grande Prix’s route. In contrast, the Hotel de Paris is a breathtaking white confection with heel-clicking service, wonderful old-World accommodations and three restaurants that range from Alain Ducasse’s famed Le Louis XV to leafy Le Jardin and trendy le Grille. The Americain Bar is the best place in town to sip an icy martini and get acquainted with the always-in-residence-jet -set. Within this almost incomparable list of hostelries we also love the Metropole which is a chic design triumph that borders on perfection. A few steps from the Casino, it teases with sophisticated warmth, and boasts an outstanding Joel Robochon restaurant. In addition, its ESPA Monte Carlo Spa features a truly comprehensive menu of sophisticated treatments. If you want smaller, decidedly hip hotel, check out Port Palace, a sleek contemporary hostelry of 50 rooms that offers fab views of the harbor and “Rock” where the Palace is located. This hotel with its popular 6th floor terrace restaurant Mandarine, represents the first-ever collaboration of Hermes Design Director, Leila Menchari and architect Marco Piva. Not far, near the beach is Bruno’s restaurant, an exuberant gem that specializes in truffles!


Societe des Bains de Mer operates four of Monaco’s most luxurious hotels, as well as the Casino, Spa and other facilities Upon check-in, guests receive a gold card that can be used to charge expenses at any SBM facility. Not surprisingly it includes the extravagantly decorated Hotel de Paris, situated on the Golden Square of the Place du Casino; as well as Hotel Hermitage, Belle Epoque gem that has been granted the status of an historical monument. Hotel Mirabeau is steps away from the beach and casinos, and Monte Carlo Beach Hotel is nestled on a peninsula facing Monte Carlo.


The Hotel de Paris at night

Les Thermes Marins de Monte Carlo is a splendid pink marble and glass, four-story temple of well-being above the Mediterranean. Choose from dozens of state-or-the art treatments that range from body bronzing and make-up, to thermal sea water baths and massages. There is also a spa restaurant, sea water swimming pool and tanning deck.


If you love cars, consider coming here during the Grand Prix de Monaco, a Formula One race that annually roars along the notoriously challenging Circuit de Monaco. Run since 1929 this race is considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world, often referred to as “an exceptional location of glamour and prestige.” The race which magnetizes international car afficianados, is held on a narrow course laid out in Monaco’s streets, and features tight corners and many elevation changes, as well as a tunnel, which makes it among the most demanding Formula One courses.


Passionate about grand yachts? The Monaco Yacht Show ( September 21 – 24, 2011) is the world’s premier mega yacht show. Held in Port Hercules Harbor, the showcase will includes 500 hundred exhibitors and at least 100 luxury mega yachts. If you can make it, this show underscores Monaco’s privileged status as a leading port of call and major hub for the international yachting community.


Whenever you come, you’ll find this sumptuous destination fascinating and as welcoming as its half-American monarch. But, now especially during this magical time, it has a resonant lilt in its step, and a definite assurance of its future.


                                                             -- Marion Laffey Fox


To help plan your trip, contact MONACO GOVERNMENT TOURIST OFFICE, 565 Fifth Ave., NY NY 10017 Tel: 800-753-9696. mgto@monaco1,org or











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