Head to Monte Carlo Beach Hotel for a cat-eyed and languid retro mood, glistening Mediterranean views and unapologetic glamour.
This resplendent retreat harks back to 1950’s glamour, a go-slow playground for silver screen icons. Honeymooners after a palm-fringed, lounger-lined, movie-star backdrop need to check into the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel.
Set the scene:
There are few locations as exclusive or as dripping in movie-star legend as the Cap-Martin coastline, and, in particular, Monte Carlo. Smothered in pines and perched atop a dramatic ridge, the fabled Monte Carlo Beach Hotel wraps itself around this splendid coastline and layers down to create a calm, kaleidoscopic bay.
Aston Martins, Ferraris and Lamborghinis jostle for space in the carpark and confirm that Europe’s beau monde still flock to this exclusive bolthole when Monte Carlo switches on the sunshine.
Designed by famous architect Roger Seassall in the 1920s, this terracotta coloured haven effortlessly oozes an easy, languid old school glamour.
As you step into the lobby’s elegant interiors, the sea winks ahead. The view is punctuated by a smattering of vast super yachts and a jetty where guests can arrive, movie-star style, hopping onto the long private beach. It’s the cinematic backdrop of the olympic-size pool against the blue bay which steals the show at Monte Carlo Beach Hotel.
With two terraces of restaurants tipping over the sea and the swimming pool, this nautical pavilion evokes an Art Deco-style layering marvel of Gatsby reverie. But it’s the dramatic cliff edges looming over the property that create a sense that the whole place is carved into the rocks.
Efficient and confident staff zip around with their frequent and friendly reassuring ‘bonjour Madame,’ keeping the golden age of travel (and film) alive.
Uniquely (and wonderfully for honeymooners) every single one of the 40 suites has sea views and all categories of room enjoy private terraces. India Mahdavi’s interiors embody a restrained retro splendour with fresh tones, white and grey panelled walls, and mid-century furniture. Accents of orange on the bed linen subtly infer a more art deco style. Matisse-inspired murals adorn the walls and animate otherwise subdued rooms, which open through French balcony doors to endless shades of blue (and the soundtrack of the sea gently lapping the craggy rocks below).
Food and Drink:
Michelin-starred suppers are choreographed by Melanie Serre, the resident Chef at Elsa, Monte Carlo Beach’s radically organic and wild-caught fish restaurant.
Provenance and a dedication to zero waste underpins all operations at Elsa, with a menu that includes fillet of red mullet with potato gnocchi, baby rocket and black garlic condiment and the remarkably tasty vacherin, a melt-in-your mouth pudding of red fruits on black pepper meringue, with strawberry sorbet and verbena. The restaurant stands on its on gastronomic feet without the hotel, luring in elegant diners from far and wide in its own right.
Elsa transforms itself into an idyllic breakfast spot for honeymooners with a feast of fresh pastry baskets, fruit platters, charcuterie, smoked salmon and cooked options including eggs and pancakes. The view also transforms, no longer a sun melting on the horizon but endless indigos animated with brilliant morning sunlight.
Le Deck is the achingly chic sister restaurant, an elegant poolside brasserie where newly-weds can (again) gaze, dewy eyed out to sea. It also doubles up as stellar people watching territory – surveying the well heeled regulars weaving their Birkin bags between the packed tables after a lunchtime feasting on the menu. Highlights include a zingy sea bream sashimi, smoky grilled octopus in hummus, a flavoursome salmon tartare and the signature fish of the day, reeled un mere hours before and cooked four ways.
The Côte a’Azur has long been synonymous with Hollywood glamour, inspiring some of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s best works and luring literary aristocrats, politicians and Hollywood glitterati (many of whom feature as characters in these works). Those credentials still hold true today, though with a curious blend of bling and discreet wealth, seeing refuge (particularly the Monegasque club members escaping the hustle and bustle of Monte Carlo).
As it’s both a hotel and a members club popular with the cognoscenti of Monaco, it’s unsurprising that the facilities are designed to cater for families. Parents can lounge around on a beach recliner or wander down to the jetty for a cooling dip, safe in the knowledge that the club’s top-drawer kid’s club will keep little ones occupied with a roster of activities from water sports to cooking classes.
If honeymooners can bear to peel themselves off the sun beds lining the olympic-size pool, a sleek hotel spa beckons. An array of heavenly treatments include the expected list of massages and more imaginative facials using Paoma Skincare, an organically certified luxury skincare range that uses ingredients grown in France.
Unusually for Monaco, there is no danger of coming across the tourist hordes here. The small bay, accessible by boat from the private jetty, provides complete privacy. Nice airport and Cannes are both reachable within the hour, the Monaco tennis club is a five minute stroll away and a jaunt into the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo is a mere 10 minutes in the resort’s complimentary, high-roller shuttle. Monte Carlo Beach Hotel keeps guests cocooned in its own lovely bay, until they’re ready to dive into the legendary casinos, restaurants and bars.