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  1. Luxury
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May 14, 2024updated 16 May 2024 7:56am

Monaco Grand Prix: where to be seen when the party comes to town

The 'playground of the rich and famous' plays host to the world's most affluent petrolheads on 26 May

By Suzanne Elliott

With its irresistible blend of high-octane glamour, luxury, and shimmering Mediterranean beauty, Monaco is a captivating destination at any time of year. But during the renowned Monaco Grand Prix, the ‘playground of the rich and famous’ positively hums with excitement as international HNWs and high-rollers gather to watch F1 drivers navigate the notoriously narrow track through the gilded streets of Monte Carlo.

[See also: Monaco Yacht Show: Meet SP80, the boat set to break the world sailing speed record]

Naturally, there is no shortage of places to see and be seen. Away from the adrenaline-fuelled world of Formula 1, Monaco offers Michelin-starred restaurants, elegant hotels and some after-hours hotspots where one might spot Silicon Valley founders or visiting royalty. For those planning to roll into Monaco for the Grand Prix on Sunday 26 May, here’s where to stay, eat and party.

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Where to stay

Hôtel de Paris

The Diamond Suite at Hôtel de Paris

Since its inception in 1864, the Hôtel de Paris has been synonymous with elegance and exclusivity. Over the years, it has played host to royalty, celebrities, and discerning global travellers, each drawn to its timeless allure and impeccable service. From Winston Churchill to Grace Kelly, the hotel’s guest list reads like a who’s who of the international elite. The Hôtel de Paris boasts 207 meticulously appointed rooms and suites, featuring lavish furnishings, state-of-the-art amenities, and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. 

The Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo 

Dating back to the late 19th century, the Belle Époque Hôtel Hermitage has a legacy of luxury and refinement. It has welcomed royalty, dignitaries, and celebrities for over a century and has become an integral part of Monaco’s cultural heritage.

Situated in the heart of Monte Carlo, the Hôtel Hermitage offers views across the glistening Med and easy access to Monaco’s most iconic attractions, including the Monte-Carlo Casino and the Prince’s Palace – and, come F1 time, the race track.

Fairmont Monte Carlo

Sun loungers by a pool
Lounge by the pool at the Fairmont Monte Carlo when you’re not trackside

Situated right on the famous Fairmont Hairpin, the Fairmont Monte Carlo is the ultimate destination for motorsport aficionados during the Monaco Grand Prix. Its prime location offers guests a front-row seat to all the thrills of the race, and guests can enjoy unrivalled views from the comfort of their rooms or the hotel’s terraces.

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The Fairmont Monte Carlo offers exclusive access to behind-the-scenes tours, meet-and-greets with drivers, and other VIP experiences. Whether it’s getting up close and personal with the cars in the paddock or enjoying a private yacht charter for a race day excursion, the hotel can arrange bespoke experiences tailored to each guest’s preferences.

Formula 1 Grand Prix Monaco
The Fairmont Monte Carlo holds a special allure for motorsport enthusiasts during the Monaco Grand Prix, arguably the most prestigious event on the Formula 1 calendar / Image: Shutterstock

Where to eat

Le Louis XV

Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris is as much an institution as a restaurant. Situated within the iconic Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Le Louis XV holds three Michelin stars and is renowned as one of the finest gastronomic experiences in the world – a true culinary destination. The menu at Le Louis XV is testament to the culinary philosophy of Alain Ducasse and emphasis simplicity, purity, and authenticity. Dishes are meticulously composed to highlight the natural flavours and textures of the ingredients, resulting in a symphony of tastes that delight the palate and stimulate the senses.

Rampoldi

Established in 1946, Rampoldi has a rich heritage woven into the fabric of Monaco’s cultural tapestry. The restaurant’s classic Art Deco façade and elegant interior pay homage to its storied past, evoking a sense of timeless glamour and sophistication.

Rampoldi’s menu is a celebration of Mediterranean flavours, crafted with passion and precision by executive chef Antonio Salvatore. Drawing inspiration from the rich culinary traditions of Italy and the South of France, Chef Salvatore’s creations are a symphony of taste and texture, showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients with creativity and flair.

Blue Bay Monaco

Chef Marcel Ravin at the Blue Bay Restaurant / Image: Monte Carlo Société des Bain des Mers

Marcel Ravin’s menu at the two Michelin-star Blue Bay Monaco, located on the terraces of the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, is influenced by the chef’s own Creole heritage.The menu changes every three weeks and incorporates the freshest local produce. One of the most lauded restaurants in the principality, it counts Prince Albert II as a regular guest. 

Pavillon Restaurant at the Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo 

Chef Yannick Alleno at the Pavyllon Monte Carlo Restaurant / Image: Monte Carlo Société des Bain des Mers

Three Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno (who also has restaurants in Paris, Dubai and Korea, and recently opened Pavyllon London). Drawing inspiration from Mediterranean flavours and international influences, the restaurant’s menu features a tantalizing array of dishes that are as visually stunning as they are delicious. From succulent seafood to exquisitely prepared meats and decadent desserts, every bite is a revelation, a celebration of the culinary arts at their finest.

Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo 

In a city renowned for its gastronomic prowess, Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo stands out as a true culinary destination, a place where the traditions of French cuisine are celebrated with innovation and artistry. The menu at Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo features a selection of signature dishes that have become synonymous with the Robuchon brand, including classics such as the famous mashed potatoes, the langoustine ravioli with truffle. 

[See also; The best property advisers in France and Monaco 2024]

Where to drink 

Bar Américain

Located within the iconic Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Bar Américain is a legendary watering hole known for its old-world charm and timeless elegance. Sip on classic cocktails in a setting adorned with plush furnishings and vintage artwork, and soak in the atmosphere of Monte Carlo’s golden age.

Horizon Deck, Restaurant & Champagne Bar

The Horizon Deck offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Monaco skyline. Enjoy a glass of champagne as you watch the sunset after a day of electrifying track drama. 

Where to party 

Amber lounge 

Partying on the Amber Lounge Yacht

Even in a city known for its lavish casinos and exclusive nightclubs, the Amber Lounge stands out as a glamorous, need-to-be-seen-at hot spot. 

This legendary venue has been synonymous with high-octane excitement and celebrity revelry for over a decade. From its electrifying atmosphere to its star-studded guest list, the Amber Lounge has been a fixture on the social calendar of Formula 1 enthusiasts and jet-setters alike since its inception in 2003. This year will be the 20th anniversary of Amber Lounge Monaco so expect the champagne to be flowing – or rather spraying.

From Leonardo DiCaprio to Rihanna, from Lewis Hamilton to Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Amber Lounge is where the world’s elite come to see and be seen.

Sass Café

A favourite haunt of the international jet set, Sass Café is a glamorous restaurant and bar known for its lively atmosphere and celebrity clientele. Enjoy live music, DJ sets, and signature cocktails in an upscale setting that exudes sophistication and style.

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