Monaco has announced its membership in the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA). Now more than ever, the Principality is a fitting backdrop for couples’ celebrations such as honeymoons, anniversaries and proposals to that special someone.
All year-round, visitors can experience an enchanting getaway. The Belle Epoque-style Hôtel Hermitage, a cozy cocoon ideal for spending time with loved ones, will be the perfect place to celebrate any special occasion in a magical setting overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the legendary Princely Palace. The luxurious hotel features twelve Diamond suites. Home to a myriad of treasures, the Hôtel Hermitage provides guests with ambiance fit for royalty.
Another luxury oasis awaits at the Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo. Located on the Golden Square, the Métropole, designed by renowned French architect Jacques Garcia, offers beautiful rooms and 64 exceptional suites, including the sumptuous Suite Carré D’Or penthouse overlooking the Casino de Monte-Carlo and featuring Louis XVI furniture and majestic art.
Couples may experience a romantic, relaxing treatment and an unforgettable spa experience at the newly renovated Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo spa which can be accessed via an underground walkway from the Hôtel Hermitage. A true haven in the heart of the Principality, the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo focuses on wellness and preventive health with seawater and massage therapies that are unique to Europe. The luxury spa combines ancestral know-how with innovative techniques and cutting edge treatments, including the only two European cryotherapy rooms. Your visit would not be complete without a healthy and tasty Mediterranean lunch on the solarium terrace of the spa’s restaurant, L’Hirondelle, overlooking the Port Hercule.
Located in the luxurious Hôtel Métropole, Métropole ESPA Monte-Carlo, a 22,000-square-foot spa, member of the “Leading Spas of the World” and winner of the 2015 world’s best luxury spa award, features a holistic approach to well-being. Métropole ESPA unveiled in 2012 a new swimming pool space “Odyssey” designed by world-renowned French designer Karl Lagerfeld along with Chef Joël Robuchon’s third restaurant within the hotel.
Options for an exquisite dining experience abound in Monaco. The Principality boasts an impressive collection of Michelin-starred restaurants. For starters, the acclaimed Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse at Hôtel de Paris, a three Michelin star restaurant, presents a new setting evoking the Riviera’s art de vivre and menu in 2015. The restaurant features a world-famous and legendary wine cellar (containing 400,000 bottles of many rare and valuable vintages from around the world) and a dining room reminiscent of 17th century Versailles. Dining with Ducasse will ensure a most romantic and unforgettable evening.
Other enchanting dining options include the two Michelin star Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo, at which the kitchen opens onto the dining area, featuring luxurious draped fabrics and colonnades. The classic setting effortlessly combines with Chef Christophe Cussac’s artistry to create a delicious, memorable evening.
Also, the gourmet Blue Bay restaurant, which was a awarded a Michelin star in 2015, has a unique culinary style that skillfully combines Chef Marcel Ravin’s West Indian origins with the gifts of Mediterranean land and sea. The refined restaurant, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is among the elite in Monaco.
Finally, another fabulous option is the Michelin starred Elsa, named after American society chronicler Elsa Maxwell, is an all organic gourmet restaurant at the Monte-Carlo Beach headed by Chef Paolo Sari. The authentic menu, inspired by the culinary history of the Rivera, is sure to please, incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables from nearby hinterland to get back to the basics of seasonal cuisine.
Ideal bars for pre- or after-dinner cocktails include the Sea Lounge and Buddha Bar. The Sea Lounge, located right on the coast at the Monte-Carlo Beach Club, draws crowds as the sun sets and, at nightfall, becomes a party-goers’ favorite throughout summer, serving cocktails, hookahs, and authentic, organic cuisine in a relaxed and upscale environment.. Located in the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the Asian-inspired Buddha Bar provides an exotic ambiance and striking flavors in a chic lounge setting. Both are perfect locations to spend an evening in paradise.
Diverse Art and Culture Scene
Monaco has a wealth of opportunities to explore the nation’s rich culture through various museums and collections. The New National Museum of Monaco, composed of the Villa Paloma and the Villa Sauber, offers visitors the opportunity to delve into the history of Monaco in a beautiful setting. The two separate buildings have their own unique characteristics such as the magnificent Italian-style garden that surrounds the Villa Paloma, and the stunning Belle Époque style of the Villa Sauber. Despite their stylistic difference, both buildings showcase temporary exhibitions that combine modern and contemporary art with architecture and design.
Perched on top of “The Rock” of Monaco, overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean, the Princely Palace is home to the Family of the Principality. This magnificent 16th century architectural wonder houses an extensive collection of 18th and 19th century European art. Additionally, a traditional ceremony of the Changing of the Guard occurs daily in front of the Palace doors at 11:55 am.
After a visit to see the collection, travelers may wish to visit the Oceanographic Museum & Aquarium, created in 1910 by Prince Albert I of Monaco the “Navigator Prince,” and considered as one of the finest in the world with over 4,500 fish in 90 tanks representing species from every ocean on the planet.
Guests of the Principality also have the option to view a private collection of the late H.S.H. Prince Rainier’s 100 exquisitely restored vintage cars from all over the world and representing almost every decade since the invention of the automobile.
Couples’ may seek a relaxing trip to one of Monaco’s gorgeous gardens. The Japanese Garden, designed in accordance with strict Japanese gardening principles, offers a Zen space teeming with a harmonious combination of stone, water, and greenery. Additionally, the Princess Grace Rose Garden provides visitors with a calm environment to reflect on their time in the Principality. The garden, composed of three hundred different varieties of roses, is the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful stroll with a loved one.
For the ones looking for a more adventurous outdoor excursion, a visit to the Exotic Garden to see 7,000 succulents found around the world with breathtaking panoramic views of the Principality, and especially the Observatory Cave is not to be missed. This incredible journey takes you 320 feet underground, to nearly sea level, among millennia old stalactites and stalagmites.