Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo was built in 1886 on land belonging to Pape Leon XIII, but acquired by Lebanese developer Nabil Boustany in the 1980s and known as the Metropole Palace.
It became the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo after a multi-million-dollar renovation by French designer Jacques Garcia in 2004, and remains the only independent hotel in Monaco. The hotel is also a member of Leading Hotels in the World.
Where is it?
Within the Carré d’Or (Golden Square) area of the Principality of Monaco, steps from the famous Casino and raft of designer shops, as well as a 20-minute walk to the Palace.
It is also located on the most dangerous bend of the F1 racetrack circuit, giving guests the opportunity to watch cars whizz past (or slow down) from the Les Ambassadeurs by Christophe Cussac restaurant. The hotel is also a 45-minute drive from Nice Côte d’Azur International airport, or you can arrive by boat and helicopter should you have the means to do so.
What's it like?
A sports car-lined driveway flanked by Italian cypress trees sets the scene for a palatial experience, with the beautiful Belle Epoque façade forming a U-shape around a picturesque Tuscan-style courtyard and fountain.
The 125 rooms and suites are housed on the left-hand side of the building, while residences fill the other half which also includes a beautiful turquoise-embellished dome.
Lavish interiors by Jacques Garcia combine old-world décor with a dash of modernism. Warm gold and yellows provide a light, contemporary and fittingly Mediterranean feel, while the rich textiles have a historic feel – from a large tapestry hanging from the back wall to Baroque upholstery, chandeliers and gothic-style gates. Seasonal installations also jazz up the lobby area – during my visit, there were whimsical blue birds hanging from the ceiling.
To the left of the central lobby area is a moodier dimly-lit salon, where guests can sit amongst legends thanks to a backdrop of gold-leaf silhouetted profiles of well-known figures. In keeping with the décor, keycard-operated gold-embossed lifts transport guests to equally luxurious suites.
Natural light floods the restaurant Les Ambassadeurs by Christophe Cussac on the right-hand side – more on this later – while bookshelves of vintage tomes pave the way to a glorious bar just off to the side, with a Picasso oeuvre soon to be exhibited on one of the walls.
Corridors for the guest room floors are reminiscent of wings of a palace, with the rooms fulfilling their duty as majestic quarters. Of the 125 rooms, 64 are suites. Room décor is much brighter than the moody public spaces, with floor-to-ceiling windows flooding the spaces with natural light – though deep red cushions, chandeliers, bone china lamps and heavy curtains tie in with the property and bring back that historic flair.
My spacious Prestige Junior Suite (55 sqm) on the seventh floor (the top floor of the property) was majestic, with a supremely comfortable bed facing a lounge area. The real draw is the balcony complete with a sunlounger, where I lounged in a fluffy robe and slippers and pretended I was part of the Monegasque royal family.
Carrara marble-clad bathrooms, meanwhile, have double sinks, a deep bathtub, luscious Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries (though in small bottles) and expansive walk-in showers with massage jets.
Food and drink
The hotel has four restaurants: the Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Yoshi; the recently opened fine dining Les Ambassadeurs by Christophe Cussac (which is open for dinner Thursday-Monday but also offers a daily buffet breakfast); the laidback poolside restaurant Odyssey which offers Mediterranean fare; and the Lobby Bar.
Yoshi has a very relaxed feel for a Michelin-starred venue, offering delicate sushi in a modern, colourful setting designed by Didier Gomez, with floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a Japanese-inspired garden. Light lunches by chef Takeo Yamazaki are beautifully crafted, with platters of sashimi, nigiri and California rolls alongside melt-in-the-mouth black cod and miso soup.
Les Ambassadeurs by Christophe Cussac is the hotel’s newest restaurant, launched in June following two years of closure – the site was previously a Joel Robuchon restaurant. The dining room is bright, with luminous yellow chairs and natural light from the beautiful terrace which overlooks Monte-Carlo and the F1 track below. See our review here:
The hotel has a range of salons that can accommodate from 10 to 120 people, as well as the opportunity to privatise restaurants.
On the first floor is Odyssey, a pool area conceived by the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, with a heated saltwater pool and photographic fresco-style glass panels depicting scenes inspired by Ulysses. There are sunbeds, private cabanas and a restaurant here too, and the pool is covered in winter. Walking up the outdoor stairs to the pool area reminded me of the balcony at the Capulet mansion in Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.
The ground floor is home to the Spa Metropole by Givenchy, designed by Didier Gomez, with treatment rooms, a hammam, sauna, caldarium, ice fountain and sensory showers – plus a large gym.
Guests are also provided with a card which gives them free access to the Monte-Carlo Casino, and the hotel also has a ‘Just For You’ programme, which includes exclusive experiences for an added cost, including after-hours visits to the Oceanographic Museum and the Prince’s Palace.
The hotel works with the ‘Mr Goodfish’ convention to preserve endangered marine species, serving only responsibly caught and seasonal fish in the restaurants. When booking a room, you can also sponsor a tree in the Amazon and participate in reforestation efforts. The hotel also has electric vehicles for transfers from the airport – and an electric charging station in the car park.
Hôtel Metropole Monte-Carlo offers palatial stays in the heart of Monaco, with grand décor, plush facilities, excellent service and commendable restaurants – plus a location fitting for car and yacht enthusiasts.
- Best for: Feeling like royalty
- Don’t miss: The bread and dessert trolleys at Les Ambassadeurs by Christophe Cussac
- Price: Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in September start from €1,040 for a Prestige Suite (€485 for entry-level)
- Contact: 4 Avenue de la Madone BP 19, MC 98007 Monaco Cedex; +377 93 15 15 15; metropole.com