A haven for A-listers such as Grace Kelly since the 1920s, this laid-back lavish beachfront hotel in the French village of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin has entered a new era of Riviera sophistication.
Set on a pine-shaded rocky headland the historic, five-star Monte-Carlo Beach hotel is famed for its faultless, efficient service, and epic cabana-lined private beachfront.
With the recent launch of two venues aimed at a young superrich crowd – a vintage-style al fresco cocktail lounge, Maona, and bohemian beach club, Club La Vigie – the hotel’s future is proofed, likely making it even more impossible to bag a Riviera-chic room here than ever before.
WHAT TO PACK
A Cote D’Azur legend that oozes the chronically overused term: timeless glamour. Roll up the shady, fig tree-lined drive before sashaying through sliding-glass doors and into the cool-grey, polished-marble lobby. Do so while wearing the widest straw-brimmed hat possible: gleaming-Mediterranean views await and arrival here feels like the ultimate extravagance.
Inside, the terracotta-coloured dreamscape is the kind of place where elegant women saunter besides the Olympic-sized pool in sheer gold ankle-length cover-ups paired with Valentino sandals, while men in crisp-white linen shirts smoke cigars at lunch. Karl Lagerfeld spent 10 consecutive summers in the shadow of Villa La Vigie – a 600 square metre, three-story villa making up one of the hotel’s accommodation options – it’s a world intentionally designed to hold you captive. With every whim taken care of at the drop of a hat, Monte-Carlo Beach is a challenge to break away from – though should you wish to, it’s just a 10-minute ride to central Monte Carlo with its glitzy restaurants, casinos and designer shops.
Light and airy rooms, 40 in total, each come with a balcony overlooking the sea. Drink in the views over a glass of chilled Provence rosé, a strong morning Nespresso or an aperitif before dinner – each delivered in record speed by a uniformed waiter. Or take in the landscapes from under your rain shower: airy marble bathrooms have porthole windows, so you needn’t take your eyes off it for a second.
Design-wise, Parisian designer India Mahdavi’s carefree interiors seem to reflect the Riviera’s 1920s creative heyday, featuring striped wallpaper, Matisse-style, wall-size murals, cream curved corner sofas with red cushions, round tables and statement lights. For a total fantasy splurge, the hotel’s Diamond level suite, Sunshine, is its biggest with two bedrooms, a lounge, a huge roof terrace and Jacuzzi.
The Food + Drink
Monte-Carlo Beach hotel’s overriding aim is to please and hold the attention of affluent guests, and it boasts three appropriate high-level dining options – each with copious amounts of chilled wine on tap. Le Deck, overlooking the pool is the place for a simple summery lunch. Think artichokes in lemon oil to start and lobster spaghetti to follow. For breakfast, the heavenly sea-facing terrace at Elsa is a sleek spot, with white parasols shading white-clothed tables; a setting which transforms come dusk when a smart crowd in jackets and dresses rock up for a fine-dining dinner of beautifully-presented Mediterranean dishes created by female chef, Melanie Serre.
For colourful sharing plates in the shade of a plant-hung pergola make a beeline for the new, uber-fashionable and boho-styled, Club La Vigie, accessible from Monte-Carlo Beach – or by boat if you’re not a hotel guest – before a nightcap at Maona. This shiny new, open-air lounge and restaurant, with a vintage-chic style, harks back to the hotel’s 1960s heyday when the likes of Liza Minnelli and Michael Caine lived out la dolce vita on summer evenings. Nowadays, you’re more likely to spot ladies in halterneck jumpsuits and heels, and men in white jeans busting out their best moves to a 1970s disco playlist.
A haven of wellbeing between the pines and the Mediterranean, a trip to this tiny terracotta spa is ideally located; you’ll find yourself moving from sun-lounger to massage table in a matter of seconds.
Here, a sustainable French skincare brand, PAOMA, takes centre stage in many of the treatments on offer. The massages, whether the relaxing, Swedish or deep tissue option, make a particularly dreamy mid-sunbathing interlude, before devouring a bowl of sliced watermelon on ice. The spa is also the place to book into open-air yoga, pilates or meditation classes held on the famous Monte-Carlo Beach pier.
The Little Extras
Guests at Monte-Carlo Beach get free access to Thermes Marins, a vast emporium of wellness spread across an adjoining space in the Hôtel de Paris and Hôtel Hermitage, two further hotels in the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains portfolio. There’s an outdoor pool and jacuzzi, solarium, hammam, sauna and panoramic fitness room – and a team of experts including therapists, a doctor, a nutritionist, and health and sports trainers are on hand with advice. Elsewhere, private tours of the hotel’s wine cellars can be arranged for guests in diamond-level suites. Set underneath the Hôtel de Paris, it’s where the thousands of bottles of French wine served in all the hotel’s restaurants are stored.
The To-Do List
There’s no excuse not to jump on the Monte-Carlo Beach shuttle bus into the centre of town, not least for a snoop in the historic Monte Carlo Casino. While you’re here, nip into the magnificent Hôtel de Paris, for lunch at its exquisite Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Grill, with magnificent views, and a retractable roof that opens to the blue Cote D’Azur sky.
Designer shops galore pack the streets in the centre of town, but if green spaces are more your thing, the pretty Jardins de la Petite Afrique offers shade on scorching days. Further afield, Monte Carlo’s old town offers a slice of authentic Monaco away from the supercars. Here, life slows down and American actress, Grace Kelly – Princess of Monaco – lays at rest inside the stunning St Nicolas Cathedral.
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