Spotlight On Monaco: A Luxury Travel Guide

Casino Square at sunset

Photo Credit: BVergely

Prestigious hotels, high-end spas, private beaches, cocktails by the sea, and royalty: These are the characteristics that define Monaco, a sovereign city-state and microstate on the French Riviera known for its wealth and unparalleled glamour, Princess Grace, and the Formula 1 Grand Prix. It is a destination full of magic, where time appears to have stood still. Here, we highlight why it needs to be on your radar.


MonacoPhoto Credit: Matej Kastelic/

Monaco’s iconic Casino Square has been restored to its former glory while providing a fresh, spacious, and safe place to meet. The renovated Place du Casino not only has more pedestrian-friendly spaces, but also preserves the famous Formula 1 Grand Prix race course, and now has space for Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer Group’s VIP customers to park their Insta-worthy cars. Then, this world-famous locale has always enjoyed the crème de la crème of luxury shopping, but the new One Monte-Carlo district — located between the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo and the Place du Casino — takes things to another level. In addition to boutiques from top designers, including Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Prada, visitors can look forward to haute couture-level snacks at Mada One (helmed by Michelin-starred chef Marcel Ravin), all surrounded by a lush new landscaped area created to continue the principality’s emphasis on sustainable design. On that note, it would be remiss not to mention its lofty green goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. To meet this milestone, the city-state is determined to improve its tourism economy through environmentally conscious initiatives, including the Monaco E-Prix and E-Rally, as well as green transportation that includes e-bikes, e-cars, and e-boats.



Hotel Metropole lobby

Photo Credit: W.Pryce/Hotel Metropole

Ideally located right in the center of the principality, a short walk from the Place du Casino, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo is striking because of its Mediterranean styling, all 125 rooms and 64 suites, of which have been decorated by famous French designer Jacques Garcia. [The most luxurious room is the Suite Carré d’Or, with its 1,200-square-foot private terrace overlooking the water.] The second phase of his property-wide embellishment and renovation will be unveiled in April 2023. Meanwhile, late and great fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is responsible for Odyssey, the stylish outdoor pool-restaurant-bar that’s shielded by gardens, with a heated seawater pool backed by oversize glass screens with black-and-white images portraying the legendary Greek king. This hotel is a gourmand’s dream destination: It offers a whopping four restaurant concepts, courtesy of Christophe Cussac and Takeo Yamazaki. The property is also known for its spa, having opened the third Givenchy spa in the world in April 2017. For an out-of-the-ordinary experience, try the hotel’s Just for You experiences: scrupulously coordinated, bespoke outings that include everything from Grand Prix training to flying a helicopter over Mont Blanc.
Av. de la Madone, 98000 Monaco


Princess Grace Suite at Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo


The Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, situated on the legendary Place du Casino, has been a Monaco icon since 1884, having hosted everyone from the Rockefellers to the Rothschilds, and, specifically, the wedding reception of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace. In 2014, the palace embarked on a $665 million, four-year renovation led by French architect Richard Martinet, emerging with 208 refreshed rooms, including 96 luxurious suites, an open-air, tree-lined courtyard of haute jewelry, two royal-themed rooftop villas (Jacuzzi tubs included), a second Alain Ducasse eatery — ÔMER joined the three Michelin-starred restaurant Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris, and the one-starred Le Grill — as well as a star-stylist-branded salon that offers private yacht service, a first for the principality. The Hôtel de Paris is also, quite uniquely, home to the world’s largest hotel wine cellar, stocked with more than 350,000 bottles, half of which hail from Bordeaux. For the best stay possible, book the two-story Princess Grace Suite, an homage to American actress Grace Kelly, who famously wed the city-state’s Prince Rainier III in 1956. Spanning the entire seventh and eighth floors, the suite pays tribute to the legendary royal through artwork and books from her personal library as well as bouquets of her favorite blush pink roses. Expect mother-of-pearl inlays, 180-degree seaside views, and spa-like features such as a granite-carved hot tub.
Pl. du Casino, 98000 Monaco


Lobby Eiffel

This modern and luxurious hotel in the heart of Monaco is the epitome of refinement. Of its many gorgeous Belle Epoque details, the most famous is perhaps its Gustave Eiffel–designed glass dome. With its decorative urns, ornate mantle clocks, and its classic French furnishings, it pulls together that image of a 19th-century palace, and the romance and exclusivity that comes with it. The hotel’s 278 rooms are just as elegant thanks to their Louis XV-style furnishings and period-friendly powdered tones, though it should be noted that the terrace rooms are the ones to beat due to their views of the sea and harbor. The hotel also features a beach club on a totally private stretch of sand, as well as the futuristic, 75,000-square-foot Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo spa, which is among the best in Europe with its heated saltwater pool, hammam, and Jacuzzi overlooking the Prince’s Palace — as well as the totally cool, secret underground passage that leads there.
Sq. Beaumarchais, 98000 Monaco


Restaurant Elsa



Restaurant Louis XV


There are 12 Michelin-recognized restaurants in Monaco, no mean feat for a country that’s under four miles in radius. Start with Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and its three Michelin stars, where Riviera-inspired cuisine marries the finest local produce with stunning vintages to be found in the hotel’s fabled wine cellars. On the eighth floor of the luxury hotel is another star, this one held by Le Grill, whose kitchens have been overseen by chef Franck Cerutti for over 20 years. Yannick Alléno à l’Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo blends the finest gastronomic dishes with healthy eating and well-being — “The best of the simple”— as the three Michelin-starred chef likes to say, on the restaurant’s terrace with unmatched panoramic views of Port Hercule and the Rock. On the other side of the Place du Casino, the Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo’s Michelin-starred restaurant is hidden behind the entrance with its two majestic Roman-style columns. Yoshi is the place to be for lovers of Japanese cuisine, with maki, sashimi, fish, and meat prepared teppanyaki-style by chef Takeo Yamazaki, accompanied by the finest sakes, whiskies, or Japanese green teas. Culinary magnificence continues nearby at La Table d’Antonio Salvatore at the Rampoldi, which earned its first Michelin star in 2021 for its merging of classics and original and creative dishes. Down the famous hairpin bend on the Formula 1 circuit, the sea comes into view along the newly refurbished Larvotto Beach, at the far end of which stands the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort and the Blue Bay. There, chef Marcel Ravin weaves his culinary alchemy to blend Caribbean and Mediterranean flavors to exquisite effect. On the very edge of the principality is Monte-Carlo Beach, which opens every year for the summer season. Elsa, one of three restaurants at this timeless seaside location, is the first serving exclusively organically sourced food and wild-caught fish to be awarded a Michelin star. Other Michelin-recognized dining experiences include La Montgolfière-Henri Geraci, a family-run eatery on a small pedestrian street in Old Town;Song Qi, a swanky gourmet Chinese restaurant opposite Grimaldi Forum; Beefbar, a trendy “meat” bar that serves quality Wagyu, Black Angus, and more on the docks of Fontvieille Marina; and Maya Bay, a Japanese-and-Thai-specific experience.


No stay in the principality is complete without a taste of the local delicacies, and Monaco is positively brimming with places to appreciate local traditions. In the Monaco-Ville District, beneath the pine trees on the Place du Palais, try the Monegasque stockfish, a quintessential dish that you’ll also find in the colorful streets of the Old Town, at La Montgolfière. Continuing through the narrow streets, hidden treasure Club Bouliste du Rocher is the perfect place to relax in the shade on the restaurant’s terrace overlooking Port Hercule. For another very special local experience, head to Perles de Monte-Carlo at Port of Fontvieille, and enjoy their exceptional Monaco-raised selection of oysters.



Photo Credit: cristiano barni/

So what else is there to do in Monaco when you’re not indulging in gastronomic experiences, spending time at the spa, designer shopping, or suntanning? The answer is: quite a lot, actually. Visitors can tour the Palais du Prince (when the royal is not in residence, that is) and explore the lush Princess Grace Rose Garden or the Musée Oceanographique, one of the oldest aquariums in the world. Get your James Bond fix at the Casino de Monte Carlo, one of the most famous in the world thanks to its Beaux Arts–style marble atrium and onyx columns, which served as the setting and inspiration for 2006’s Casino Royale. And, of course, one should make it a mission to catch the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, a race through the streets of the city past Boulevard Albert I, that takes place each May.