All-out opulence and typical French charm collide in Monaco. Now is the time to discover this gem on the Côte d'Azur, which is loved by stars including Beyonce, who has holidayed in the destination on several occasions with her husband Jay-Z and their daughter Blue Ivy.
Nestled into a splendidly manicured enclave in the Carré-d’Or, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo takes on a glorious, old-world allure. The lobby is scattered with little jewel box-like niches to cosy up in and drink frosty glasses of champagne, and upstairs in the bedrooms, beautifully crisp linens mingle alongside dark wooden desks and elegant bedside lamps. Odyssey, the smart-as-a-pin space on the hotel’s rooftop, was dreamed up by none other than Karl Lagerfeld and boasts a heated swimming pool just right lazy laps in the cooler months along with a restaurant that serves dishes inspired by the restorative Le Soin Noir treatments on the spa menu.
For simple yet sophisticated dishes, make for Valentin - a pleasingly laid-back spot with a tempting lunch menu and even better coffee. Fancy an expertly mixed tipple or three? Hit up Buddha Bar on Place du Casino. At Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo, impossibly good, mediterranean-led cuisine is the focus; snag a seat at the grand table to watch the talented chefs work their magic and don't forget to order the mashed potatoes - they’re pretty much life changing.
The Didier Gomez-designed Spa Métropole by Givenchy is a vision in white marble and glistening gold. Rituals begin with a fragrance journey - during which guests select a scent from the exclusive L’Atelier de Givenchy collection - and wind-up in the softly-lit relaxation suite where you’ll sip green tea and tuck into the gooiest, fudgiest brownies around. Opt for the radiance-boosting Le Soin Noir signature facial and expect to leave far glowier than when you arrived.
Monaco’s initial drawing card has to be the Casino de Monte-Carlo, and the changing of the guard at the Prince’s Palace is really quite something, but there's a more laid-back side just waiting to be discovered. Make like the locals and browse open-air Le Marche de la Condamine for fresh flowers and regional delicacies, and visit the Sainte-Dévote chapel - a delightfully pretty example of 11th-century architecture in the Valley of the Gaumates.
What to wear:
Le Soin Noir & Blanc Masque, £196.50, Givenchy; tel: 01932 233 824
Octagon medallion necklace, £169, Lucy Williams x Missoma; visit missoma.com
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