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5 of the best hotels in Monaco

5 of the best hotels in Monaco

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Monte Carlo Beach Hotel
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Monte Carlo Beach Hotel

The art deco pad

There is a famous – and once risqué – poster by Jean-Gabriel Domergue showing two beach belles in swimming costumes and the legend that “the most beautiful women in the world summer in Monte-Carlo”. At that time, in the late 1920s, this was almost certainly a lie. True, they wintered there – especially Russian aristocrats escaping brutal winters of home – but you were unlikely to see a countess sunbathing in June. The Monte-Carlo Beach hotel changed that.

The low, sprawling art deco building 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 design guru 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 puts 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 grey-striped 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. And, of course, there’s a spa for those who are there to show off their poster-perfect physiques by the water.

Picture courtesy of Monte Carlo Société Des Bains De Mer

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