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5 of the best hotels in Monaco

5 of the best hotels in Monaco

3 of 5 3/5
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Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo
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Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo

The secret garden

In Edith Wharton’s 1905 novel The House of Mirth her character – on the run from a romance – is drawn to this Monte Carlo hideaway, with its “exotic coquetry of architecture, the studied tropicality of the gardens”. The Metropole remains Monaco’s snuggest sanctuary and the closest it gets to a boutique hotel.

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 by Miss Rose – she describes the effect as a “green dream”.

Since it opened in 1889, guests have felt comfortable enough at the Metropole to indulge their whims. The current 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, primped and preened by a cache of star designers including Jacques Garcia, Karl Lagerfeld and Didier Gomez – and with chef Joël Robuchon attached. 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, four signature suites – Prestige, Designer, 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.

The pool is the centre of cool at the hotel. In summer the roof is rolled back to better show off the Lagerfeld-designed fresco on glass panels. During the day, those who have exhausted themselves in the massive gym nibble at the healthy lunches designed by Robuchon at Odyssey. In the evening, non-residents rock up for cocktails around the water. Less saintly eats are served in the classic Med restaurant Joël Robuchon, and there’s the excellent Japanese Yoshi. The Spa Metropole by Givenchy that opened in May last year is a treat, a suitably light and airy space with a tome of treatments. You could hole up here for quite some time.

Picture courtesy of Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo

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