Hôtel de Paris
This is the most extravagant of the hostelries owned by the Grimaldi-run SBM. The 1864 rococo-style palace in which it is housed is quintessentially Monaco—a glamorous gilded-stucco confection once frequented by grand dukes, royals and heads of state and today still the first choice of visiting VIPs. If money is no object, book the spectacular two-bedroom Churchill suite (where the great man actually stayed) or the equally impressive, enormous Garnier suite. Some of the less expensive rooms can be disappointing, since not all have been recently refurbished and display a dowdiness that will take more than a new plasma screen to spruce up. But even here, there are touches of luxury: the bathrooms are stocked with Hermès bath products, and breakfast is served on gold-trimmed Limoges porcelain. For lounging, soak up the atmosphere in the old-world bar. And for one of the most memorable meals you may ever have, reserve a table for dinner at Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV restaurant. Rooms from $536.
Owned by the SBM, this Belle Époque landmark is a quieter alternative to the Hôtel de Paris, imbued with an understated elegance that is evident from the moment you step into the newly redone lobby, not least in the Jardin d’Hiver, a stained-glass-domed greenhouse designed by Gustave Eiffel. Most recently revamped are harbor-side rooms, which have great sea views. If you can tolerate the loud red-flower-printed fabrics and curtains, you can count on comfort, gleaming marble bathrooms and all the modern amenities. Up on the top floors are eight new worth-the-splurge Exclusive Suites, whose decor is more in tune with the old-world grandeur of the building’s interiors. The hotel lacks the buzz associated with being on the Place du Casino (and perhaps because it has nowhere inviting to lounge), but the majestic hushed atmosphere is also deliciously restful. Rooms from $484.
Since its recent multimillion-euro makeover, this 146-room Italianate Belle Époque palace, one of the only luxury hotels in Monte-Carlo that are independent of the SBM, has become a favorite of those seeking deep comfort whose tastes fall somewhere between ornate old-world and flashy high tech. Celebrity decorator Jacques Garcia went for the Mediterranean palazzo effect and transformed the vast lobby into a cozy bar and lounge with his trademark jumble of opulent styles: Renaissance colors, a 15th-century Gobelins tapestry, armchairs upholstered in striped Pierre Frey fabrics. The rooms are done is soft beiges, some with shiny orange taffeta curtains and a few decorative Corinthian columns thrown in, and boast chic chocolate brown bathrooms with floors patterned in checkerboards. And with Joel Robuchon’s restaurant located here—and supplying room service—you don’t have to leave the hotel, or even your room to have an exquisite meal. Romantic, elegant and impeccably run, the Métropole is a breath of fresh air. Rooms from $517.
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