On arrival at Nice airport, we were bundled through another, smaller airport security to catch our helicopter ride to Monte Carlo. From there, our car drove us to the Hotel Metropole, purring its way up the drive and passing tiers of butterscotch stone walls and lush greenery until we reached the courtyard with obligatory 5* fountain.
Naturally, our luggage was whisked away by the concierge and we were free to enter the hotel and really appreciate our new surroundings. The first thing that struck me was the amazing fragrance; an mesmerising blend of vanilla, oak and musk (which I later discovered to be Ambre du Nepal and which also comes as a candle) amplified the experience of what I saw; both senses worked in overdrive to absorb the entirety of the reception and lounge. V
Visually, the Metropole is very traditional and French; arm chairs and sofas in rich fabrics and low backs sit neatly round knee-high tables stylishly decorated with small, sparkly vases of pink roses set on mirrored trays. A huge display of hydrangea bloom beautifully beneath a sparkling chandelier, while a giant golden frame decorated with an array of pink flowers makes for a great photo opportunity. It was a joy to see and all the while the unforgettable scent complemented what I saw; luxury in the most approachable way.
This traditional vibe is juxtaposed with more modern aspects, such as the Japanese restaurant Yoshi, the pool area (Odyssey) and bar designed by King-of-Fashion Karl Lagerfeld (who also enjoys staying at the Metropole) and the clean lines and wooden panelling of the spa.
As for location, Hotel Metropole is perfectly positioned for exploring Monaco. Just a few steps from the famous casino, which is right on your doorstep, along with some of the world’s most luxurious boutiques such as Fendi, Celine and Chanel. (Make sure you explore the underground shopping mall, situated right outside the hotel). A fifteen minute walk downhill will take you to the marina, where you’ll pass Prada and Gucci before laying eyes on the most exquisite yachts. Having one of these yachts would contribute to (but would by no means guarantee) becoming a member of the yacht club, the building of which has just been rebuilt and opened in June this year. It’s strictly members only and very exclusive – we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the building (thank you, Claire), which is stunning and has been designed to look like a huge liner, all sustainable wooden flooring and white metal exterior. The views are breathtaking and the interiors are second-to-none, with Fendi furniture, glistening trophies and thousands of books and various yachting memorabilia. If you are ever offered a look inside, you simply mustn’t refuse – for most of us, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With a heavy heart (and a heavier sigh), we left the yacht club and its uber rich members – who sunbathed or ‘lunched’ – behind, returning to the hotel for one last cappuccino before taking our car back to the helipad – the last of our 48 hours in the life of the rich and famous.
Stay tuned for my next post, covering the restaurants and food at Hotel Metropole.
In my panic packing, I didn’t have time to iron my top for Sunday night’s dinner – no worries, I thought, I’ll iron it at the hotel. Of course, Metropole guests don’t do their own ironing, so there was no iron in the room. I bagged up my top and sent it to housekeeping to be ironed; it returned half an hour later in a dry cleaning bag, swaying from a padded hanger and, my goodness, it was pressed to perfection. This service cost me 14 Euros. My top was from Tesco. The ironing cost more than the top, but the expert job made my top look a million bucks.
It’s the simple things in life that make us most happy and – as much as breakfast at Odyssey isn’t cheap – sitting by the pool, the Mediterranean sun beating down on my skin and tearing apart a light-as-air croissant while reading Vogue, I felt totally and utterly relaxed. The monochrome bar and restaurant area is super peaceful, the sound of the water lapping against the side of the pool and the chilled out music allowing diners and bathers alike to completely disconnect and feel at ease. Bliss.