The gentleman’s travel guide to Monaco: Where to stay, shop, eat and visit in Monte Carlo, the French Riviera
For every man out there with a case of wanderlust, make Monaco your ultimate goal. Home to the most prestigious gems in Europe’s hospitality industry, luxury men’s fashion, a ubiquitous display of high-end automobiles, and a thriving nightlife scene, Monaco is incontrovertibly one of the world’s most renowned luxury capitals and a playground for the rich and famous.
While shopping may more often be associated with Paris, Milan or London, Monaco has everything a modern, debonair man looks for – including one-of-a-kind wellness centres for you to relax and unwind, 007-style. Here, we bring you an insider’s guide on where to go for a stylish outfit, handsome accessories, a suave haircut, Michelin-star meal, and a night out on the town.
Arrive in style
At Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport, Monacair’s counter is located outside the baggage delivery room. The door-to-door exclusive service takes you to your hotel in just 20 minutes – including a private car transfer and an unforgettable seven-minute flight with unspoilt views of the French Riviera and the Alps. If you fly back to Asia after your sojourn in Monaco, the helicopter transfer also gets you a private check-in at Nice Cote d’Azur airport, away from the queues and the crowds.
In the winter: Hotel de Paris – Monte-Carlo, which launched Monte-Carlo in the mid-19th century is the reference point in the French Riviera. Besides having Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse (the only 3-Michelin Star restaurant in the region), Hotel de Paris – Monte-Carlo is also the epitome of grandeur and luxury and is favoured by the high-rollers of the world.
In the summer: With spacious rooms, large terraces, gorgeous sea views over Monte-Carlo, a trendy cocktail bar, a 1-Michelin Star restaurant (Blue Bay), and the only sandy bottomed lagoon in Europe, Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort has it all – including the most elegant and suave General Manager in Monaco.
For haute couture: The ‘Golden Circle’ of Monte-Carlo, encompassing Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monte-Carlo Pavilions, Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo and the Park Palace (amongst a few), carries the biggest names in men’s fashion such as Prada, Hermes, Ferragamo, and many more. The plethora of international brands with exclusive collections will surely keep you occupied for an entire afternoon.
On the outer perimeters of the ‘Golden Circle’, the Metropole Shopping Centre is a one-stop complex housing 80 boutiques, six restaurants, and a selection of seasonal pop-up exhibitions. Society Club Monte-Carlo offers you an exclusive collection from American, French and Italian fashion houses (such as Tom Ford, Rick Owens, Saint Laurent Paris, and Dolce & Gabbana) and attracts high-profile athletes, Hollywood elites, and even H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.
For exclusive international brands, check out Lull Monaco. This swanky boutique carries a wide range of designer’s t-shirts, slick street wear and vintage pieces. The best offering: gala suits and tuxedo rentals perfect for a night out in Monte Carlo. Want to get your hands on the finest toys for boys? Chopard brings you limited-edition timepieces from its classic racing collection, including a line of automatic chronographs in honour of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique event. Another must-visit is Temps & Passions, a luxury boutique offering watches, jewellery and accessories from independent brands.
Walking down the ‘Golden Circle’, you can’t miss the avant-garde building designed by Lord Norman Foster. The Yacht Club de Monaco represents the icon of Monaco as a yachting capital of the world. For a nautical dapper look, be sure to check out the Shopping Gallery at the Yacht Club and the YCM Boutique for stylish accessories that double up as souvenirs.
If you’re staying in Monaco in the month of April, don’t miss out on Top Marques Monaco, the largest and grandest show for supercars, watches, jewellery, and even super yachts. From environmentally-conscious TESLA motors to vintage David Browns, renowned Jaguars, and Land Rovers, find all your dream toys right here at this exhibition.
Now that you’re equipped with the perfect apparel that ‘maketh the man’, what’s next? Well, one thing you should never miss out in Monaco is a trip to the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the backdrop for James Bond, Ocean’s Twelve – just to name a few. Entry into the casino is formal wear only, so be sure to suit up in your finest two-piece beforehand.
Whether it’s for business or a casual lunch, Vistamar in Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo is where you can enjoy the best local sea food and stunning views of the Yacht Harbour and the Princely Palace across it. It has a 1 Michelin star but Vistamar’s lunch menus are incredibly affordable.
Eqvita, by Novak and Jelena Jokovic, is a hot spot in town for health-conscious men seeking the celebrity effect. “From Nature with Love” is their motto and the all-organic food and drinks are all scrumptious. For those who want to indulge, head to the original BeefBar in the Fontvieille district. Since 2005, it has elevated butchery to new levels of sophistication and can now be found globally in Mexico, Mykonos, Cannes, and Hong Kong (where it holds 1 Michelin Star).
For all you workaholics, Monaco offers the finest in masculine pampering. Thirty Nine Monte-Carlo, created by ex-international rugby player Ross Beattie, incorporates a modern sports club with a bar, restaurant, hair salon and beauty parlour. Thirty Nine ensures that you look your best every single time and is truly the place to ‘feel good, look good’.
Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, with more than 150 years of expertise in the area of personal well-being, recently developed four exclusive stays designed especially for hardworking executives. It aims to alleviate problems associated with the modern hectic lifestyle – weight gain, insomnia, hypertension – by offering fitness and slimming treatments that optimise your physical and intellectual performance. For a comprehensive grooming experience, Thermes Marins’ hair salon gives you an authentic old-fashioned barber experience, complete with essential oils, a soothing massage, a shaving balm, and a hot towel placed around the face for the ultimate relaxation.
As a regional hub for nightlife and entertainment, Monaco has no shortage of bars and clubs to end your night in Monte Carlo on a high note.
Dubbed as Monte-Carlo’s temple of clubbing, Jimmy’z is home to the Formula 1 Grand Prix after-parties. The best DJs, the best booze, and the best view of the Mediterranean: it’s no wonder why this legendary nightclub attracts VIPs and Hollywood A-Listers all year round. Fancy a VVIP treatment? Check in to the exclusive Boom Boom Room in Jimmy’z, specially decked out by acclaimed fashion designer Philipp Plein in his signature rock-n-roll grunge style.
Twiga Monte-Carlo, on the other hand, is your ideal itinerary after sunset. Restaurant Sumosan offers contemporary Japanese menus serving tasty sushi and sashimi, as well as classic Italian starter menus. After 1am, Twiga Sumosan transforms into the hottest nightclub in town. If you fancy somewhere more private, request to enter the Shisha Lounge, an elegant terrace inside Twiga where you can unwind after a long night. Another household name in Monaco is Sass Cafe, owned and run by local celebrity Salvador Treves and his son Samy. The buzzing atmosphere of this restaurant-club often attracts many international pop music and movie stars who can be spotted there during the peak season.
Finally, how could we forget the prestigious Amber Lounge during the Monte-Carlo Formula 1 Grand Prix? The most star-studded, luxurious, and glamorous of all of Monaco’s nightlife scene, Amber Lounge Monaco hosts VIP race viewing, F1 drivers’ fashion show, and the hottest F1 babes-packed after-parties in town.
This article was contributed by Benoit Badufle and Zhi Heng Yew from the Monaco Government Tourist Bureau Asia Office.