Here are links to some of my hotel reviews in Monaco and Southern France for The Daily Telegraph:
In the Rhône Valley:
In the Côte d'Azur:
Best of Côte d'Azur and Monaco:
Read below for my review of Hôtel de Paris:
Hôtel de Paris, Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Everything about this landmark palace screams over-the-top decadence from its three-Michelin-starred restaurant to the world’s largest wine cellar. A magnet for the world’s glitterati, numerous stars have filmed here from Bond actors Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan to Audrey Tatou and Selena Gomez.
For the ultimate Monte-Carlo experience, it’s hard to beat this fabled Casino Square location combined with Mediterranean harbour views. Step out of the hotel into the square to listen to opera in the Salle Garnier, attempt to break the bank at the casino, browse the parked Ferraris over coffee at the Café de Paris or explore the immaculately manicured gardens. Designer shops and restaurants are within 100 metres, while the port is a five-minute walk.
The sculpted Belle Epoque façade sets the scene for interiors of marbled colonnades and crystal chandeliers. A top-to-bottom hotel renovation due for completion in September 2018 includes the construction of a modernistic bedroom wing, an interior garden courtyard, spa, pool and private top-floor villa. If the architectural plans are anything to go by, this four-year renovation will take the hotel to an unprecedented level of luxury.
Service & facilities 6/10
The thermal spa is the place to detox beside the sea, while the private beach resort with its striped beach cabins is a five-minute shuttle ride away. Guests get a card to charge all Monte-Carlo SBM resort facilities straight to their hotel bill. Considering the wealth of facilities at hand, it’s a pity that a sneering froideur takes the edge off the competent service. Whether being interrogated by a bouncer-style porter at the hotel entrance or having champagne upgraded to a more expensive brand without asking in the American Bar, sharp service tricks are more reminiscent of a nightclub than a five-star hotel.
Until the renovation is completed in 2018, guests may experience some noise disturbance. Older rooms remain available overlooking the casino square with Empire-style mahogany furniture and marble bathrooms. A lucky few can enjoy the pop-up Suite 321 (from €4,500/£3,885 per night) with changing themes. The first batch of renovated bedrooms with sea views will arrive for May 2017 so you may want to wait to book until then.
Food & drink 10/10
Gastronomy is a strong suit. Set in a Rococo dream with modernist touches, Louis XV restaurant serves up three-Michelin-starred cuisine– try the blue lobster with myrtle berries and ginger – accompanied by wines from the 600,000-bottle wine cellar.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Salle Empire serves credible Mediterranean cuisine; make sure you grab a table on its casino-facing terrace to enjoy a generous à la carte breakfast. Expect freshly-squeezed juices, plentiful chopped fruits such as mango, raspberries and blueberries, and lots of pastries including waffles (around €45-€50/£39-£43 per person).
The top-floor Le Grill with its sliding roof is the best place on the French Riviera for soufflé, while Côté Jardin is designed for lazy outdoor lunches; both are currently closed for renovation until the May 2017 Grand Prix. No trip to Monte-Carlo would be complete without a post-dinner drink listening to live Jazz at the American Bar.
Value for money 6/10
From €630 (£544) per night. You pay for the unparalleled location and luxury. Keep an eye out for special offers on the website, particularly in low season.
Access for guests with disabilities? Yes
Not an obvious family option, but cots and babysitting are available.
Place du Casino, MC 98000, Monaco (+377-98-06-30-00, www.hoteldeparismontecarlo.com).