Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Hôtel Metropole

France

The ideal 5 star hotel in the heart of the vibrant principality of Monaco

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Hôtel Metropole

Location

Monte-Carlo in the Principality of Monaco

Travel Information

Nice Airport - 35 mins

Top Tips

The hotel is able to organise almost anything - take advantage and create tailor-made expeditions to ensure your stay is extra special

5-Star X-Factors

The exceptional Suite Carré d'Or with its sensational roof terrace overlooking Casino Square

Right in the zone

The Hotel Metropole in Monte-Carlo is a beautiful and delicious surprise. Perhaps we are becoming a little shy of stuffy formality, tired and over-glitzed lobbies and marble floors beneath glaring chandeliers. Instead we are looking for a new renaissance in five star luxury hotels. It is here that you just might experience this, with a touch of high renaissance revival in the opulent flow of the glorious atrium.

This bijou grand-luxe gem gives Monaco the face-lift it needed, without the knife, but with all the benefits. French designer Jacques Garcia, who has a brilliant eye for combining contemporary elegance with creature comforts, has been at the heart of the major refurbishment programme in recent years.

A trip to the Côte d'Azur is not complete without a stay in the ultimate playground of the R&F: Monte-Carlo. It's not a picturesque city, though it has some classically stunning architecture, along with a wealth of flourishingly exotic and manicured gardens, particularly pristine in May when the Grand Prix circuit comes to town.  High-rise apartment buildings became a necessary addition in order to pack in the wealth that gravitated to this glittering tax haven, snuggled attractively between the Maritime Alps and the Mediterranean Sea; the setting is wonderful.

The world's most celebrated casino, designed in 1878, is perhaps Monte-Carlo's trump card, surrounded by fleets of opulent cars, while the square-shaped port, a short walk below, is so flash that it is quite simply another world. All this shameless display of plutocracy is a few steps from what is now the jewel in Monaco's luxury hotel crown: The Hotel Metropole.

Roses galore

We arrived to a cornucopia of exquisite bi-coloured candy pink and cream roses: not just one mega-urn, an entire hotel-full! These roses set the scene for us, and I'm sure for many other satisfied guests, throughout our deliciously rubescent stay. The enticing interpretation of seasonal 'themes' changes with the solar covenant, the star of which governs the principality with more hours of sunshine than almost anywhere else in Europe.

The roses were transformed into a cultural celebration of 'arty spring', combining a twin-colour scheme of aniseed green with mauve. This dynamic duo spread intriguing splendour throughout the public spaces, including the Joël Robuchon Restaurant, the bar, the spa and the boudoirs.

The hotel is superbly located near to the casino and it also sits above the chicest shopping mall in Monaco. This means that you can walk out of the hotel, past the plethora of exquisite flora, through the privet arched entrance, turn right then down the escalator to boutique Babylon: a five-minute stroll to perfect hair.

Spa-luscious

Shop, drop your bags and then enter the glorious Metropole ESPA spa. You could genuinely just chill out here for a few days before taking in the beauteous 'bling'. Being seven months pregnant, I opted for the total pre-natal indulgence. The treatment rooms are amazing with the entire spa beguilingly designed in order to maximise on personal privacy, while still providing that ethereal 'other world' experience.

The therapists are highly trained and totally skilled in the realms of alternative treatments and, with a body carefully worked over using gallons of ESPA products, the relaxation room transported me to the very best of Thailand, that part of the world that excels in all things 'spa-luscious'. There is something here for everyone.

A few steps up from holistic goodness, the freak-out pool area – with groovy bar, poolside teak-deck dining, palms, vines and box hedging – was having its yearly facial, and looked set to shimmer with alluring intensity from April onwards. Master chef, Joël Robuchon, has created inspired menus, for both spa junkies and poolside-dreamers. Why go to the beach? This hotel seems to have it all as an utopian urban retreat.

Cosy luxe

What seemed to set our comfortably-coordinated, classically-decorated 'Deluxe Junior Suite' apart from most was the extraordinarily large and lavish bathroom. In fact, the bath was so large that it took almost an entire bottle of the reviving ESPA moisturising bath remedy in one fill, while the shower room was the size of most people's generous bathrooms.

With a bottle of Moët chilling beside a vase of those roses and a silver platter of petit fours (including a lemon tart that knows no superior) we felt seriously spoilt. Once we stepped out onto our small balcony with views across to the casino in front of a blazing spring sunset, we knew that Monte-Carlo was a necessary pit-stop in our Côte d'Azur sojourn. What's more, I haven't even got to the greatest course of all - the delectable cuisine.

Divine dining

One could argue that the real stars shine in Monte-Carlo's celebrated kitchens. It really is a cosmic culinary fest here, making The Hotel Metropole, with its two Michelin stars at Joël Robuchon and Yoshi, a Japanese restaurant worth helicoptering in for, a tough act to follow.

We were lucky to get a table at JR that night. This restaurant buzzes with a fizz that is the result of superb food and an incredible atmosphere, enhanced by the open-plan style of a super-slick 'kitchen-on-view' with a service as effervescent as the vintage Krug. A meal here is not to be rushed, instead you are invited and encouraged to taste many small courses, tapas style, of the most delectable and innovative creations. Choosing is the hard part, so for some the 'Discovery Menu' – a mini feast of nine sensational dishes – makes your mind up for you.

We opted for several plates from the ' à la carte 'small portions to discover and taste' menu. Iberian Ham, pricelessly aged, on full-leg display and carefully sliced in view, together with diced tomato on bruschetta; crab two ways, either in a light crustacean sauce with Swiss chard or as king crab stuffed with a medley of sweetly spiced, immaculately diced vegetables; fresh artichoke with squid, thyme and chorizo, a dreamy combination; and John Dory as you've never had before.

It continued up and up to the succulent young rock lobster and ultimately to the soft boiled egg coated in light and crispy breadcrumbs then smothered in a sea of caviar. The latter two will set you back but it's all there if you want it. Dining here epitomises la dolce vita – the namesake of my dessert – drop-dead delicious praline crunch with mascarpone sorbet. An enzyme-engaging three hours!

Eastern touch

As if this were not enough, the following day we had the pleasure of lunch at Joël Robuchon's more recently-opened Japanese restaurant, Yoshi. If this place doesn't become the Nobu of the Côte d'Azur, I will be amazed. The room is fabulously proportioned with wall-side leather banquettes in burnt orange, with luminous jade green chairs matching a startlingly verdant Japanese garden beyond the walls of glass.

It is a stunning room. The food is equally amazing – some of the most exquisitely presented and most palate-pleasing Japanese fare we have yet enjoyed. This addition, with its alternative cuisine style and menu, makes Hotel Metropole a serious contender for most delectable stay in Monaco.

 

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer