beachfront hotel

© Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer

In the second part of our luxury travel views column from the Autumn 2021 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai discovers a new side to Monaco at the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel

Just getting to the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel puts you in the mood. Unlike some of the grand hotels of the principality, the Beach is what it says it is. We drove past the entrance to a huge outdoor swimming pool and waterfront water-sports complex, and then down a narrow driveway to the entrance of this pink stone mini-Palace.

The vibe is deliberately casual, boutique glamour rather than formality. A low-key reception area, then up to the room with a balcony overlooking the terrace, swimming pool and sea, looking back out at Monaco in the mountains above. It was only from here (or from the yacht) that you recognise the vertiginous nature of the place: Monaco is built basically at the bottom of the cliff face, the land rising relentlessly upwards to become the Alps.

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It’s a few steps from the front entrance to the swimming pool and beach area. The pool is huge, and you have the choice of sunning yourself there, in a cabana or on the pier – when we were there, this seemed a little too adventurous as it was being washed by some rather lively waves.

beach restaurant

The Monte-Carlo Beach’s La Vigie Lounge and Restaurant. © Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer

We had a pleasant aperitif on the seafront terrace and were then whisked off to Yannick Alléno at the Hôtel Hermitage in town for dinner. A new addition to the Monaco dining scene, this restaurant is overseen by superchef Alléno and occupies a crescent-shaped, sea-facing terrace amid the grandeur of the Hôtel Hermitage. It is a quite spectacular gastronomic experience: Alléno was inspired by the years he spent in Japan, and the precision, focus, perfection and lightness of the cuisine – without being in any way ‘nouvelle’ and shrunken – is mind-blowing. The best new restaurant of 2021?

Breakfast and lunch the next day were both taken at the hotel, by the sea at the beach – it is the one place in Monaco where you feel you are away from the admittedly glamorous hustle of the town. The lunch terrace restaurant, Elsa, is noted for being the first 100 per cent organic restaurant to receive a Michelin star; wild-caught fish play a starring role here and my local white fish, in a vegetable broth, was just what was required ahead of an afternoon’s swimming in the pool, accompanied by a reviving glass or two of Deutz.

Book your stay: montecarlosbm.com

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2021 issue.