There is something undeniably alluring about Monaco’s district of Monte Carlo. Perhaps it’s the combination of classic and modern—the area was only formally founded in the 19th century, but ever since trains made it accessible in the 20th it has been the playground for Europe’s rich and famous. Perhaps it’s the ultra-romantic, swoon-worthy French Riviera location, or the auto racing, or the yachts gliding on the Mediterranean. Perhaps it’s the intimate population of approximately 3,000 people. The mere mention of the name evokes Old World glamour and elegance, and the area’s hotels do much to uphold the reputation.
The dazzling lights of Monte Carlo in the French Riviera
Take the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, formerly known as Le Metropole Palace, a Leading Hotel of the World that dates back to 1886 and recently reopened after an interior and exterior redesign by Jacques Garcia. Most of the 146 bedrooms have undergone complete refurbishment, while others have been subtly refined with touches that create a fresh new look. Odile Firmin-Guion, press and public relations manager for the Hotel Metropole, calls the hotel—and Monaco itself—an ideal retreat for girlfriend getaways.
“Monaco is an ideal destination,” she says, “as it is a very secure place [with] year-round sunshine and glamour. It’s easy to get to, and everything is within walking distance, so even if you’re wearing stilettos, you can walk around easily. It is also very rich in terms of culture, nightlife and—of course—shopping, so [there is] lots to do.
“The Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo has a lot to offer women traveling together,” she continues. “The hotel oozes chic and glamour while emphasizing intimacy.” Specifically, she praises the heated outdoor seawater pool where guests can relax on sunloungers or on the sundeck. Lunch is available around the pool, and the menu offers healthy dishes by Joel Robuchon, who holds a world record of 25 Michelin stars worldwide.
The Metropole ESPA Monte-Carlo, also designed by Garcia, sprawls out over 21,500 square feet and offers a large range of treatments devised by the internationally recognized ESPA brand. The spa has 10 treatment rooms, including one single and one double, “ideal for girlfriends’ pampering days or for mother-and-daughter treats,” Firmin-Guion says. “We are soon introducing yoga, abs, stretch and pilates lessons, which will take place in the morning on the sundeck, exclusively for hotel guests and spa members.” The classes will be private or limited to groups of five, she adds. New treatments at the spa include Yoshi-Ki, created exclusively by ESPA for the Metropole and inspired by Japanese ancestral massage techniques and reflexology.
The suite Carre d'Or has a 1,076-square-foot terrace ideal for dinner parties.
Firmin-Guion also recommends the Yoshi Experience, which offers the opportunity to enjoy a Yoshi-Ki treatment at the Metropole ESPA followed by a healthy lunch at Joel Robuchon’s new restaurant, Yoshi, located opposite the spa entrance across the courtyard. Yoshi is Robuchon’s “contemporary and poetic vision of Japan, his first Japanese restaurant, which opened in December 2008 and offers traditional dishes with a western touch in glamorous surroundings,” Firmin-Guion says. Those who prefer a more European flavor can enjoy the Joel Robuchon Restaurant, a Michelin-two-star experience that features Mediterranean products and flavors. Firmin-Guion calls it “ideal for epicurious ladies.”
For the Girls
For girlfriend getaways, Firmin-Guion recommends the Junior Suite Luxe rooms, which offer twin beds and a lounge area. The bathrooms include two basins, jet shower and bath with separated independent toilets. For ladies in search of more luxury, however, she praises #707, the Suite Carré d’Or, which can be booked along with the adjoining Prestige Suite (#706). The Suite Carré d’Or has a stunning 1,076-square-foot terrace that overlooks the sea and the casino and is ideal for private dinner parties. Butler service is available for all Suite Prestige, Suite Luxe and Suites on the seventh floor.
A view of Monte Carlo from the Suite Carre d'Or
The Hotel Metropole offers several packages that will appeal to women traveling together; for example, the Metropole ESPA Time Offer includes a double room for one night, a healthy breakfast and two hours in the ESPA. It also provides the Metropole Lifestyle card, which gives the bearer complimentary access to the Monte-Carlo Casino; a personalized welcome and exclusive access to the outdoor heated seawater pool and to the Fitness Studio in the ESPA; priority access and transfer to a private beach in Monaco (upon reservation, at an additional cost); and privileges and special attention from partner boutiques. The price for this package begins at approximately $991 for two people. Guests interested in only one hour of spa time can opt for the Relaxing Break package, which begins at approximately $755 for two people.
The general manager of the Hotel Metropole is Luca Virgilio ([email protected]).