Monaco lives up to its reputation. That's
impressive, considering that the tiny Riviera principality
situated a few minutes between Nice on one side and the Italian
border on the other is famous as the home of the late Princess
Grace, as well as for having more billionaires per acre than
anywhere else on earth.
Approaching Monaco via a Heli Air Monaco helicopter from the
Nice airport - and if you're planning an incentive trip to
Monaco, air transfers are de rigueur - the thing that strikes
you is how ruggedly beautiful Monaco's terrain actually is. The
country, which is less than a square mile in total, is set on a
hillside, and while it is easily walkable, the public elevators
between levels are a nice touch.
Four of the principality's grand hotels and all of its casinos
(there are four year-round, five in summer) and one of its
great spas are part of Monte Carlo SBM, which created Monaco as
we know it by building the Casino de Monte Carlo 150 years ago
next year. The magnificent belle epoque structure also houses
the Monaco opera and faces Casino Square, which is the heart of
the principality's nightlife.
The Hotel de Paris on Casino Square was built right after the
casino itself, and is generally considered the top property in
Monaco. But the five-star, 280-room Hotel Hermitage, where our
group stayed for half of its visit in April, is spectacular
enough that incentive groups have split between it and the
Hotel de Paris a block away without either feeling they are in
lesser or unequal facilities. Both are Leading Hotels of the
World members, and the Hermitage's stained-glass domed, Gustave
Eiffel-designed rear lobby is a stunning group check-in area.
Another nearby Leading Hotels member, the Hotel Metropole Monte
Carlo, can be added as a third for particularly large groups. A
smaller, more intimate property offering touches like private
in-room check ins, it will also appeal to gourmands, as the
staff of its Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo restaurant manages all
The Fairmont Monte Carlo, at which we also stayed, is a
stunning property, although it has a more modern feel to it.
Overlooking the Port Hercule yacht basin, the three-country
view from its open rooftop restaurant, Horizon deck, makes it
an amazing venue.
Another property worth considering is the Le Meridien Monte
Carlo, one of the largest at 400 rooms. With the only private
beach in Monaco, and a beach club with several event rooms, it
offers plenty of outdoor options.
For more about what to do when in Monaco, from sports and museums to dining and nightlife, see Monaco by Day and Night