Whether you're after a sanctuary away from the crowds or a spot that’s right in the action, take a look at the top hotels in Monaco to book a room in for the 2022 edition of the Monaco Yacht Show.
Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo
The Hermitage is a neo-classical glamour queen of a hotel. If Marie Antoinette had been born two centuries later she would have delivered her bon mots from the balcony of a Hermitage suite – and approved of the complimentary Ladurée macarons and fat white roses. Modern divas from Kim Kardashian to Lindsay Lohan meet journalists in the nooks of the hotel’s marble wedding cake of a lobby before retreating into its hushed, pearly-tiled maze of corridors.
The Hermitage was built in 1900, literally in the shadow of the Hôtel de Paris, but ready to compete. The Salle Belle Epoque ballroom was designed by painter and orientalist Gabriel Ferrier; Gustave Eiffel penned the glass dome of the Winter Garden.
Fantastical parties here have attracted jet setters since the jet was invented; for example, the opening gala of the Bar of the Scorpions (now the Crystal Bar), held in 1969 on Princess Grace’s 40th birthday – her Zodiac sign was Scorpio and she invited only other Scorpios. The Princess was dressed by Balenciaga in a black ballgown and welcomed Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who arrived in an oversized cape with two scorpions embroidered on it.
Renovated in the 1970s and early 2000s, the rooms are romantic, with rococo furniture upholstered in pastel silks and velvets. But the 361-square-metre Diamond Suite Penthouse is real princess territory. Decorated in taupe, aubergine and gold, it features two sprawling terraces, three bedrooms, three living rooms, two dressing rooms, a playroom and 360-degree views of the principality.
Views are the hotel’s greatest luxury, and the Crystal Terrace is a good spot to enjoy them with a cocktail in hand. A few steps away, the Michelin-starred Yannick Alléno restaurant serves stylish cuisine and is one of the best restaurants to visit in Monte-Carlo during the Monaco Yacht Show.BOOK NOW
Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort
Set in the most eastern part of the Principality on the Larvotto peninsula, just 120 metres from the French boarder, Monte Carlo Bay is a chic and contemporary hotel that boasts one of the finest views of Monaco.
But while the hotel may appear far from the action, Monte Carlo Bay is known to draw the resounding buzz of the show though its doors, thanks to its lush, waterfall filled grounds and Michelin-starred restaurant, Blue Bay. In fact, you’ll notice that much of the show migrates east as the evening goes on, as the hotel shares the peninsula with, top restaurant MayaBay and Jimmy’z, one of the most famous nightclubs on the French Riviera.BOOK NOW
Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo
In Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel The House of Mirth her character is drawn to this Monte Carlo hideaway, with its “exotic coquetry of architecture, the studied tropicality of the gardens”. The Metropole today remains Monaco’s snuggest sanctuary. Much of this is smoke and mirrors – it is less than 100 metres from Casino Square – but artfully composed box hedges, and an extremely long drive, give it the feeling of a secret garden. The organic atmosphere is enhanced in the lobby with fantastical flower arrangements.
Since it opened in 1889, guests have felt comfortable enough at the Metropole to indulge their whims. The concierge once had to buy a metre of grass so a guest could practise golf in his suite, and on another occasion, staff used a crane to lift a throne to the Presidential Suite for a visiting king.
The hotel was renovated and reopened in 2004, redesigned by Jacques Garcia, Karl Lagerfeld and Didier Gomez. The resulting atmosphere is honey coloured, velvety, deeply upholstered and low-lit. The monolithic lobby bar feels like somewhere Howard Carter might have sipped his last G&T before setting off to find King Tut. Upstairs, three signature suites – Prestige, Azur and Carré d’Or – cater to different tastes, including one with a Philippe Starck bathroom and another with a view of the Grand Prix circuit.BOOK NOW
Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel
The low, sprawling art deco building of The Monte-Carlo Beach hotel was finished in 1929 to lure in high-end summer tourism and the American gossip columnist Elsa Maxwell was drafted in to fill it with fashionable people. She was on good terms with jet sets from Cairo to New York (she introduced Maria Callas to Aristotle Onassis) and thanks to her the ’20s roared well into the next decade at Monte-Carlo Beach.
A 2009 makeover from Parisian designer India Mahdavi has returned the hotel’s style to its chic, deco prime. The two-bedroom Sunshine Suite features a spa pool and private terrace – but all the rooms are fabulous, with muted colours, stylised prints and “strong visual references from the Riviera of the 30s”, as Mahdavi put it. It’s easy to imagine the crimped starlets and bow-tied bounders lounging around the pool today. Indeed, Leonardo DiCaprio has been spotted keeping up his Gatsby role, smoking cigars and playing poker under the cabanas of the Monte-Carlo Beach Club, while Beyoncé occasionally zips in by yacht.
The hotel is not strictly speaking in Monaco – it’s just over the eastern border in France – but this location makes it the bolthole of choice for visitors who want a break from the principality’s pneumatic glamour. One Michelin-starred Elsa, its bright restaurant and breezy terrace, is a great lunch escape during the Monaco Yacht Show.BOOK NOW
Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo
Twenty paces from the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the Hôtel de Paris is such a well-worn pied-à-terre for high rollers that their superstitions have left a physical mark: the lobby's bronze statue of Louis XIV riding has had the horse’s right knee shined by the generations who have rubbed it for luck.
The hotel began welcoming guests just a year after the opening of the Casino de Monte-Carlo in 1863, and was designed to rival Parisian institutions like the Hôtel du Louvre and the Grand Hôtel. The glitterati arrived on cue, US President Grant rubbing epaulettes with Grand Duke “Serge” of Russia, while artists Verne, Verdi, and Dumas feasted their imaginations on her belle époque beauty.
Extravagance was the only rule in the hotel’s early days. Beams were installed in the ceiling of one room so Empress Elizabeth of Austria could practise the trapeze before bed, and one grand duke always arrived with 50 gardeners, who would work through the night so that he could open his window on to a new garden every morning. Sumptuous balls were a house speciality, from Errol Flynn’s 1950 wedding to the 1956 marriage of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly.
These glamorous ghosts are part of what has kept the gloss on the Hôtel de Paris. Twenty-first-century starlets and moguls tread the same tiles as belle époque bounders and 50s film stars. The hotel lets guests dive into its illustrious history through its beautifully kept marble halls, characterful antiques and suites named after famous guests, such as the Princess Grace Diamond Suite with costs starting from €40,000 a night.BOOK NOW
Villa La Vigie
So it’s not a hotel, and technically it’s just over the border in France, but Villa la Vigie is the most exclusive address around. Sitting high on the Pointe de la Veille promentary, its vistas sweep from Monaco to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (the views are so good that the Germans seized it as an observation post in the Second World War).
The neoclassical monolith was built in 1902 by the English baronet William Ingram, owner of The Illustrated London News and a liberal politician. He held lavish parties, where his rare animals roamed the gardens and tropical birds fluttered freely. Forty years later the Nazis were more troublesome tenants, digging trenches and planting mines in the gardens to protect their prize. When they left, La Vigie was renovated and the lush gardens restored (and de-mined).
The villa’s most famous resident was Karl Lagerfeld, who set up camp each summer from the late ’80s to the early ’90s with a brigade of supermodels and fashion royalty. Today the villa can be rented for holidays on a weekly or monthly basis. Sleek interior décor in pale tones and sumptuous fabrics allow the elegant architecture to shine, while tall windows flood the place with light.
There are six bedrooms, two dressing rooms and a 237-square-metre terrace that wraps around two sides of the building; there is no finer spot on the Riviera for a sundowner. Privacy is a major draw for high net worth visitors, so the private road and forest-cloaked gardens are a big plus, as is the sea-view spa pool. An electric car will whisk you to nearby Monte-Carlo Beach Club, where a private 10-person tent on the beach awaits La Vigie guests. Mention that you’re staying here if you want to raise some eyebrows.BOOK NOW