Much More Than Just Millionaires
If I mentioned Monte Carlo to you, you might think luxury, class, elegance, grand prix but most of all you’d think expensive!! Monte Carlo is renowned for being the playground for the rich and famous. From the outside looking in we think it’s full of millionaires and is out of touching distance for most of us mere mortals. I have to admit that I thought the same until about a month ago when I was invited by Leading Hotels of the World to visit the south of France and Monte Carlo to see what it has to offer an incentive group.
First things first, we flew out of T5 and I have to say I love that terminal, clean, efficient and very modern everything that Britain should be advertising ourselves as to the world. Basic as it may sound, it’s worth paying attention to the boards and how long they advise it takes to your gate as they aren’t joking, the last thing you want is your group running for the plane.
Little tip when you arrive into Nice Airport, take a helicopter transfer to Monte Carlo. Firstly because it makes you feel important, secondly because it sounds impressive and thirdly because it will cost similar to go by road and roughly take about 30mins rather than the 5 minutes it takes by air.
Once in this fabulous principality you do get an instant sense of the wealth around you, but don’t let that put you off, it’s subtle rather than offensive vulgarity. You do however come across some characters that may be wearing over the top outfits, but overall everything here is very elegant.
Our first visit was to the Hotel Metropole, just off the main square where the world famous casino is. This beautiful building will contain 133 rooms once the refurb is completed and has a chef, Joël Robuchon with 27 Michelin Stars: I know you probably don’t believe me but trust me once you taste the food, especially the mashed potato there is no doubting it, but whatever you do don’t ask how much butter he puts in it!
This property is great if you’re just touching down in Monaco for a night or two, the rooms are luxurious and the staff are so attentive. To be honest though you could even just pop in for lunch or dinner as dinner including wine can be arranged for about 100 Euros, not bad considering it will be one of the best meals of your life. Hotel Metropole is a hotel that doesn’t scream and shout about its offering, which is quite enchanting. It knows it can/will deliver excellent service and that’s why numerous celebrities can be seen in and about this wonderful property.
From there we moved to the Hotel De Paris, once again world famous and right on casino square. A massive selling point for the hotel and for any event is their private wine cellar, with 600,000 bottles held there, 6000 bottles needing to be turned daily and a team of 8 dedicated to this collection full time; it truly is an impressive sight! Anyone thinking about a little present might want to think twice though as some of the bottles will set you back £40,000 to £50,000. A group can either have a tasting session here for 75 people or even dinner for around 30. Overall the history of this building and the collection will make your jaw drop, for example did you know that Churchill lived in the hotel for a time?!
Anyway regarding events space, the hotel offers a few different styles of room however the La Salle Empire (the gold room) can fit 450 theatre style and faces the casino front. With access for cars and large windows, it would be great for any type of launch and could be used to create a bit of a PR buzz. With 182 rooms the hotel doesn’t lack space but would probably work perfectly for an incentive group taking 60 bedrooms. Where possible the hotel would also try and place your groups rooms together. March is a tricky month to get bed space in this region though as a few large congresses are held in the surrounding areas so bed space is at a premium.
Finally Hotel Hermitage; this 280 bed hotel is simply stunning. Designed with a separate events entrance and registration areas, this hotel can cater easily for any type of event upto a maximum of 300 theatre style. My bedroom here was super spacious yet slightly feminine if I’m being ultra critical, however once you visit the spa (Thermes Marins, Monte Carlo) you will view life in a totally different way. With Bvlgari products free flowing and menu of massages available trust me your guests will have an amazing time. Word of warning though, make sure you select the right massage though as one of our group found out the sometimes a massage can be a little more intense than you necessary expected!
In the next piece I’ll summarise Monte Carlo and walk you round their convention centre as well as move along the coast to Cannes to show you all it has to offer.
Ash EL Menshawy, Events Team