When I think of Monaco, a few things come in mind : the grand collection of uncommon supercars that you don’t ever get to see in KL, the majestic grandeur of the Casino de Monte Carlo, the mega yachts (And here I thought, Dubai had it all), Grand Prix and of course, the glamorous men and women dressed in luxury from head to toe. Although, shamefully, I must admit that I quite admire the sight. Something about being surrounded by the kind of women you would only see in fashion magazines – tall and slender, perfectly manicured nails and perfect blow out with the kind of fashion sense that ostensibly screams $$$ and yet, mildly graceful and effortlessly elegant. It sure does keep you grounded. 🙂
Being the second smallest country in the world, it only takes 45 minutes to cross Monaco from east to west. It leaves me with such disparate emotions to be in such a place. On one end, I am staying in a place amidst the multi-millionaires and billionaires ( It is said that one in a three is a millionaire in Monaco) where everything and everyone seems perfectly in order and perfectly poise, and just a few minutes walk from where I stayed, I would now find myself in Beausoleil, amidst the struggling working class in France, with badly dimmed streets that smelt like piss and youngsters smoking joints in the corner. Every now and then, you could hear the blaring police siren with a glimpse of its blinding light from afar.
Not having much to offer other than the famous casino square, the luxurious ambience and the supercars, the highlight of my trip in Monaco would be our exceptional stay in Hotel de Paris.
From the moment we arrived, we were treated with such warmth that I surreptitiously wondered if they had confused us with someone famous. From the lovely doormen, to the same lovely receptionist that was always keen to greet us whenever she sees us, the bellboys that were always too generous with their smile and greetings, the housekeepers that would attend to our room three times a day ( In the morning, afternoon, and night time). Their attention to detail were simply impeccable and my limbs were terribly spoiled.
Built in 1864, once you step into the hotel, it is like stepping into a James bond movie scene ( quite literally). The interiors are gilded and with marble colonnades that stretched from floor to ceiling, men in perfectly fitted suites lounging about reading papers at the lobby, women in cocktail dresses. Every few minutes, you could hear the orgasmic sound of supercars from the hotel’s façade. At night, it is even more magical. Crystal chandeliers illuminating the room with subtle golden glow, accentuating the ever so stunning Belle Epoque decoration, champagne glasses clinking in the background, live music that blended well with the ambience.
The suite itself is as spectacular and nothing short of luxurious. I loved the private terrace that we had, and the stunning marbled bathroom that I would definitely like to recreate in my future home. I relished every second of my time at the hotel. Some nights, we would just dine in our room and enjoy the Michelin starred dining. I especially loved the risotto.
Although, the highlight would be the magnifique breakfast hall that i look forward to see every morning with a nice spread of French breakfast including macaroons and marvellous pastries. In the afternoon, it would be converted back to a part of Cafe de Paris for non guests to dine in.
Outside, the square is constantly thronged with tourists from 10 am, admiring the beauty of the casino and of course, the trail of supercars that are parked at the doorstep. Hotel de Paris is situated right at the casino square. Once you step outside, you would find yourself amidst the boisterous crowd of car admirers lurking around someone’s Bugatti. It is always a different Bugatti every time I step outside. It fascinates me how standing there, I could easily spot more than 30 Ferraris and Lamborghinis each day. If you fancy such sight, you could rest your feet at the Cafe de Paris. I must admit, I had spent most of our time at the Café enjoying their exquisite affogato. I could not recall how many affogatos I had but all I can say is, not enough.
In the morning, there is stillness in the air and Monaco in every corner seems breathtaking when the tourists are still asleep and the square is vacant with only the locals going about with their day – by that I mean, walking their dog in 6 inch stilettos and adorned in Versace dress. At night, the crowd petered out and the city is quiet again, and this time, is illuminated by the street lights and it’s just as stunning.
It feels somewhat unreal to be here again. Three years ago i was only here for a short trip and this time, i had plentiful of time to savour every inch of Monaco. I do not know why but I have got a feeling that this won’t be my last.