I am beaming from ear to ear as I write this feature; it's one of those secrets you just cannot keep to yourself! Eager to tell you of my experience in Monaco, the playground for the rich and famous, renowned for its princesses and excesses, with Monte-Carlo, the centerpiece of the Riviera Principality. I had just finished my five night stay in Paris, and took the TVG train through the beautiful French countryside stopping in Nice, then switching to a regional train headed straight for Monaco. Within the Principality, just a few steps from Monte-Carlo’s legendary Casino, lies one of the world's best hospitality venues, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo. I had the pleasure of staying in this former palace, and I must confess it is among the best times of my life!
Arriving at the Metropole Monte-Carlo via private driver, it was a feast for my eyes, a scene out of a classic Riviera film. Entering through the hotels iconic boxwood 'Arc de Triomphe,' I was lead to an equally impressive private Romanesque road flanked with Italian cypresses on both sides. I was simply captivated; I was the king arriving home to my palace, or so I had thought. Walking into the lobby, a sense of wonderment and charm immediately came over me, I felt like I was on location of some new Bond film.
After a quick check-in I was kindly escorted to my room, a De Luxe Junior Suite. I opened the suites heavy wooden door, which felt of age and wisdom, I quietly gasped, my room was perfection. The De Luxe Junior Suite was exquisite, mildly ornate in all the right ways, and flooded with wonderful natural lighting. The suite was spacious measuring 538 sq. ft. (50 sq. m).
The culinary experiences at Metropole Monte-Carlo for me are not just among the best in the world, but are the best. I am a dedicated foodie, so I know the difference between good and great gastronomic experiences. The hotel's signature restaurant, Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo has 2 stars from "Guide Michelin," it offers Mediterranean cuisine, executed by Head Chef Christophe Cussac, a protégé of Robuchon. The open Teppanyaki-style kitchen creates a special relationship between the Chef and guests. I should know as I sat at the chef's table, watching the magic of culinary masters at work. During my dinner I chose the 'Seasonal Discovery Tasting Menu,' (starting €199). It was an excellent 8-course menu. I wondered after that taste bud altering meal, would their second culinary option, the "Guide Michelin," 1 star YOSHI, be equally as good. I arrived the following day, confident this would be a meal like no other, as it is the first Joël Robuchon Japanese restaurant in the world! It offers healthy, modern cuisine created by the Japanese chef Takéo Yamazaki, under the guidance of Joël Robuchon and Christophe Cussac. I ordered LE BENTO BOX, which comes with a starter, main course and dessert. To sum up my lunch, who knew the best sushi outside of Japan was in Monaco! (LE BENTO BOX and more - from 60 € per person)
As if I wasn't already in a Zen-like state after experiencing much of the hotels wonderful offerings, I decided to try Metropole ESPA Monte-Carlo. This ESPA is a member of the "Leading Spas of the World." What sets Metropole ESPA Monte-Carlo apart from all others is the attention to detail in service, which is found throughout the entire hotel; you are treated with the highest level of respect, kindness, and luxury. The treatments are customized to your liking via consultation with your personal masseuse. I chose a vigorous full body and facial massage, rubbed with essential oils from afar.
Words can only go so far, a description of Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo fits this conundrum. I can tell you how amazing it is...but the only way to understand is to go. The ambiance is a bit richer in Monaco, the buildings shine just a bit brighter, the yachts stretch meters further, and the luxury goes beyond compare, it is a wonderful experience. In my travels, I look for ways to better myself, and bring knowledge home to build a better Bahamas. What I've learned from this iconic hotel is that service, is everything; it makes your experience come to life so beautifully. Metropole’s staff is of the best caliber in the world, and is trained in the ‘Luxury Attitude Paris’ program "The Human Dimension of Luxury." Their skills are precognitive and symphonic.
I am excited to have seen the French Riviera first-hand; in December 2014 the world will welcome, Baha Mar, ‘The Bahamian Riviera.’ Looking at the design of this new hotel, I can see homages of the amazing Cote d’Azur. If Baha Mar can bring the level of service found in the Provençal towns of the French Riviera, we will have one of the greatest jet set playgrounds on the earth. I truly believe when we improve our service sector, we will be the most beloved destination; our waters, landscapes, culture, and location create this opportunity. The French Riviera is giving way to a Bahamian Renaissance; I’m optimistic the level of luxury and service in Monaco, will find its way down to the beach.
About the Author: Quinn Russell is the founder of TravellersBazaar.com,, which focuses on luxury
travel, architecture, art, style, people, and all that is beautiful
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Quinn visits the site of Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas this week.