by Leo Jakobson | March 21, 2014
Monaco is generally known for hosting small- to mid-size incentive groups that want to give top performers an unbeatable and unforgettable experience, but it can handle larger groups as well. A major North American insurance company recently brought 820 guests to Monaco for an incentive program, splitting them between the Fairmont Monte Carlo and the Hôtel Hermitage.

Working with the LaFayette Monaco destination management company, the group took over Le Deck restaurant, overlooking the pool at the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel, for a marine-themed party featuring beautiful hostesses in "bubble" dresses and dancers inside illuminated bubbles floating in the pool. Another night, the group was divided among a series of catamarans, vintage boats, and modern yachts for a cocktail cruise to nearby Villefranche, and returned to three separate venues: a garden party at the Villa Rothschild, a mythical Mediterranean-themed party at the Villa Kerylos, and an evening featuring the stunning panoramic view from the Eden Terrace, 1,300 feet above the sea. The group then departed for Paris via a pair of specially chartered French TGV high-speed trains, with full food-and-beverage service aboard, before being divided up among seven different hotels in the City of Lights.

The coastline plays a big part in any incentive trip to Monaco, and beginning in June there will be a magnificent new venue that takes advantage of the splendid views and bracing air of the French and Italian Riviera that surrounds the principality. The new Yacht Club, designed by famed architect Lord Norman Foster, features a series of deck-like observation terraces overlooking a harbor with room for everything up to and including the 300-foot super yachts of the super rich. The facility will include several glass-walled event venues (one of double height), an exhibition space, a restaurant, and ground-floor shops and other amenities designed to enliven the harbor’s pedestrian area. There will also be a sailing school, with a rooftop green space that will form a new pedestrian link to Casino Square. Built on reclaimed land, the club also features environmentally friendly solar heating and seawater cooling systems in line with Monaco’s environmental standards.

There are a number of new venues and restaurants this year, most notably an outpost by the famed Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, the Nobu Fairmont Monte Carlo. And the Port Palace Hotel has opened La Marée, part of the chain of Russian seafood restaurants.

The Hôtel Métropole on Casino Square is putting a new emphasis on group business and has added three new conference rooms to the series of spaces designed by the famed designer and frequent Monaco resident Karl Lagerfeld, which are perfect for board meetings. It is home to three Joël Robuchon restaurants, two of which are Michelin-starred, and a 21,000-square-foot Spa by ESPA. The Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo has created a three-bedroom, 3,885-square-foot Diamond Suite Penthouse, suitable for VIPs with entertaining duties. The Columbus Monte-Carlo has turned a former fitness space into a naturally lit, 645-square-foot meeting and banquet room.

The popular nightclub Jimmy'z Place du Casino, part of Monte-Carlo SBM Group, reopened in October, and can host private events for 100-260 guests, depending on the day, from April through October.