Nico Rosburg at last year Monaco Grand Prix
Everything about Monaco breathes extravagance from the grand high rise hotels and the impossibly glamorous residents to the growling engines of gleaming sports cars and the twinkling lights of the super sized yachts. During the Grand Prix, the glitz spills even brighter as the city transforms into the world’s most golden stage.
WHERE TO STAY
Check into Hotel Hermitage, tucked behind the legendary Casino de Monte-Carlo and amongst lines of designer shops. It’s spectacular views of the harbour from the rooms’ private balconies and the spa’s private treatment suites combined with beautiful Belle Epoque architecture, make it a firm favourite with the yachting crowd, and other well-heeled guests. The hotel’s exclusive concept, the Paddock Lounge is the place to be during the Grand Prix, with live streaming of the races and special F1 workshops for enthusiasts. This year’s highlights include a simulator that takes you speeding round the prestigious track as well as the opportunity to try BATAK, a machine used by the drivers to practise their reactivity, reflexes, and field of vision.
Hotel Hermitage | Photo Credit Monte Carlo Societe Des Bains De Mer
Equally as impressive is Hotel Metropole; the outdoor heated pool is a big attraction, but it’s Joel Robuchon’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant that really pulls the crowds. It’s one of the city’s most enchanting dining experiences; mediterranean food served in a startling regal setting. The Japanese option at the hotel is excellent too, also opened by Robuchon, and recently awarded one Michelin star. For a more buzzy experience, the 1920s landmark Monte Carlo Beach hotel hosts parties in the Sea Lounge every evening after the F1 races. There’s a Michelin starred establishment on site too, Elsa, serving Riviera inspired, totally organic cuisine with chef Paolo Sari at the helm. Louis XV, though, is the Grande Dame of fine dining with three-Michelin stars, and the highest priced mediterranean menu of unique creations, that would make even the most sophisticated gourmet shiver.
Joel Robuchon’s Two-Michelin-Starred Restaurant at The Hotel Metropole | Photo Credit Centurion
YACHTS OF THE GRAND PRIX
However, Monaco is best experienced from on board a yacht. The Grand Prix consistently and indisputably, draws the cream of the crop and the most enviable charters. This year the uber luxurious, Lurssen built Octopus well as the sleek, Madame Gu and Quantum Blue are expected to return to the French Riviera’s elite moorings. In the heat of the day, relax in the city’s centrepiece Yacht Club de Monaco, a member’s only establishment that offers a graceful environment in which to socialise and admire the arrival of celebrities and aristocracy as they sail in land. Later, return to the water for champagne as the sun sets and wild parties when the night darkens. This is the yachting lifestyle at its most luxurious.
GRAND PRIX AFTER DARK
The other GP evening hot spots are the Amber Lounge and the Billionaire Club. Amber Lounge, a concept that follows F1 round the globe, is the go to for jet set crowd and drivers, with DJ sets and fashion shows held during daytime on a yacht (naturally) and at night-time in the renowned nightclub. The Billionaire pool-side soirees are just as lively, starting at sunset with cocktails and usually ending up at a roulette table in the casino.
Amber Lounge Monaco | Photo Credit Motor Sports Travel
If you’re aching for culture, the gleaming, polished streets speak of an old aged elegance too. Spend time exploring the Rocher district ( known also as Monaco Ville), the historical heart of Monaco, featuring the Prince’s Palace (make sure you see the private vintage car collection of Prince Rainer III), the Oceanographic Museum and cathedral. Otherwise marvel at St Martin Gardens’ stunning flora and exotic species, with winding passageways to the seafront. If the countless steps deter you making the journey, have no fear there are plenty of elevators and escalators to help you on your way. In Monaco you’re never expected to break a sweat; this a destination built on perfection and ease.