The Principality of Monaco is synonymous with old-world glamour and Mediterranean sophistication. The same could be said about the Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo, an opulent historic property that dates back to the glitzy nineteenth century. While retaining all of the grandeur of days past (including a regal Belle Époque exterior that I’m sure Grace Kelly approved of), this 5-star, 126-room hotel isn’t afraid of a little modernization. Just look at the culinary scene: Operating in association with world-famous Joël Robuchon, the multiple restaurant and bar offering covers classic cocktails in the Lobby Bar; sleek Japanese food at Yoshi; Michelin-starred Mediterranean haute cuisine at the eponymous Joël Robuchon; and a stylish poolside al fresco offering at The Odyssey Restaurant and Bar, created in collaboration with the iconic fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld. If that’s not decadent enough for you, Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo also features the new Spa Metropole by Givenchy (opened in April 2017). Crafted by architect Didier Gomez, this chic spa evokes an haute couture atmosphere and shares the same luxurious and prestigious spirit of the hotel.
Light, light, and more light! You come to the Côte d’Azur for the glorious sunshine, and Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo does a glorious job of letting the light in rather than snuffing it out, like some other grand old hotels may be accused of doing. Refurbed in 2004, each of the hotel’s 126 rooms and suites are dosed in lightness: woods are honey-toned and the fabric palette is shimmering and golden. Out of the 126 guestrooms, 64 are suites with separate living areas and balconies. Bathrooms are a study in refinement featuring gleaming Carrara marble; massage jet showers; and luxuriously deep soaking tubs.
For a completely over-the-top experience, there’s the dramatic 2,500 square-foot penthouse, Suite Carré d’Or, which offers to-die-for views over the famous casino, manicured gardens, and the Mediterranean Sea. Again, there’s heaps of natural light care of massive windows and the positively palatial private terrace. The suite also boasts Louis XVI furniture, exceptional artwork, and an in-room library. (Because why not?)
The food offering at Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo is quite frankly, spectacular—even for Monaco. First of all, it’s quite the scene with the yachting set making an appearance at nightfall, not to mention everything is outrageously delicious.
Let’s start with the crown jewel: At Joël Robuchon’s two-Michelin-starred, open-plan restaurant, each dish revolves around outstanding ingredients and seafood features prominently (care of the near-by Med).
Foodies will adore the chef’s table, where I sat. It was memorizing to watch the assembly of thedelicate dishes with absolute precision. Tweezers were a conspicuous utensil. The bread trolley and dessert trolley should not be skipped-over or understated. Both are incredible and offer a double-decker selection. For the bread: go for the stripped, gold-leaf squid ink roll, which is almost too chic to eat. (Almost.) For the desserts, everything is divine—trust me, I tried about four items including a candied pineapple dotted with flecks of vanilla bean and a heavenly rhum baba.
At the sleek and serene Yoshi, Japanese food is on offer (sushi, maki, sashimi, teppan-yaki meat and fish). Guests can even match their meal with a sake or green-tea pairing.
Odyssey, the outdoor saltwater pool terrace designed by Karl Lagerfeld, is open May to October and presents light seasonal dishes, in an unparalleled setting overlooking the hotel’s entryway, distinguished rooftops, and swaying cypress trees.
Lastly, the Lobby Bar, decadent with thick fabrics, rich red colours, and opulent drapery, is a cozy spot for a pre-or post-dinner cocktail.
Who goes there?
Beautiful people. There’s a high concentration of attractive couples in some racy supercars. It’s a see-and-be-seen kind of place.
Out & about
Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo is perfectly located right by the Casino, world-class shopping, and the city’s magical gardens. There’s always some fabulous event going on in Monaco, like the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix, which zooms right past the Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo on what’s considered one of the most dangerous turns of the circuit. The city also hosts the yearly Monaco Yacht Show, which takes place every September at the Port Hercules.
As hotel guests, you’re given free access to Monte Carlo’s famous Casino, which is practically right next door. You should certainly pop in—if only to check out the sumptuous interiors and gilded chandleries.
The worst thing
I know it’s a cliché, but this time it really applies: The worst thing is checking out. One night is most definitely not enough in this hotel. Next time, I’ll be sure to stay at least two nights—especially when the sun is shining and Odyssey, the majestic pool area, is calling my name in a siren song.
The best thing
It’s hard to pick just one best thing, but if hard-pressed, I’d have to choose the Spa Metropole by Givenchy. There are 10 elegant treatment rooms along with a sauna, hammam, caldarium, ice fountain, sensory showers, gym, and innovative mani-pedi studio by Bastien Gonzalez, “foot specialist to the stars.” I tried the 45-minute “Lift & Glow” facial, which was created in celebration of the spa’s one-year anniversary.
I’m not being over-dramatic when I say the whole spa experience was literally eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-your-head amazing. First, you’re cocooned in what is probably the plushest spa robes and slippers ever created, then you’re asked to choose a Givenchy scent—one of twelve, which will feature in your treatment. I chose the feminine and floral Chypre Caresse . Treatment rooms are spacious and intimately lit with golden tones and textured walls. My custom-scented facial featured a cryogenic treatment, facial and hand message, and afterward, I was given a booklet featuring “beauty secrets” (a mix of Givenchy product listings and personalized advise). Thanks to this considerate little touch, on my to-buy list, you can now find Givenchy’s L’Intemporel Blossom Beautifying Radiance Serum, which my skin just drank right up during the expert therapy.
The second best thing beyond the spa? The Hermes toiletries in Eau D’Orange Verte. As you may know from reading my other hotel reviews, I am totally obsessed with good hotel product lines that are representative of the establishment and the locale, and these Hermès products these are completely swoon-worthy.