Sleep: Hotel de Paris, Monaco
The Hotel de Paris owes its existence to the famous casino across the road: in 1863 on the verge of bankruptcy Prince Charles III of Monaco enlisted the help of a French businessman, who established the casino on the hill (Monte Carlo = hill of Charles). Gambling was illegal in France and Italy and soon the casino owners Societe des Bains de Mer were turning over a small fortune and had to build hotels including the Hotel de Paris and Ermitage to accommodate its wealthy clientele.
To this day the SBM still owns Monaco lock, stock and smoking roulette wheel. Guests of the hotel gain free admittance to the casino – though the 10 euro fee is hardly going to deter high-rolling non-residents. The Belle Epoque style Hotel de Paris opened in 1864 and has become one of the world’s most famous hotels with cameo appearances in countless films. A word of warning: go easy on the Martinis before you enter the casino or you might find yourself shaken and stirred.
The rooms are traditionally furnished and of course appointed with every luxury you would expect from one of the world’s best hotels. If you can afford to stay here then you can afford to pay the extra for a room or suite with a sea view at the front of the hotel. During the Grand Prix these rooms offer some of the best vantage points over sections of the circuit and the super yacht clogged Porte Hercule. Winston Churchill was a regular guest and his suite (The Winston Churchill) is still furnished with rare pieces that he left behind.
Guests gain free access to the Thermes Marins de Monte-Carlo one of the biggest thalassotherapy spas in Europe built over four floors overlooking the sea which includes a huge filtered seawater pool.
The hotel has two gourmet restaurants. The three-star Alain Ducasse Louis XV puts the haute in cuisine and is a slightly cheaper option than an evening on the Blackjack table. The one-Michelin Star Le Grill on the 8th floor offers some of the best views of the bay and stars when the roof is retracted (weather permitting). Reassuringly expensive the Grill is famous for seafood and (surprise, surprise) grilled meats. If you are celebrating the wine cellar carved out of the rock below contains some 600,000 bottles. In 1940 all the most precious wines were bricked up in the Maison du Maitre Chais to keep out those thirsty Germans.
The Hotel de Paris is really one of those musts before you die (or lose your fortune next door).
Hotel de Paris – Place du Casino – 98000 Monaco -
Tel : +377 98 06 30 00