People like talking about business or drinking coffee and gossiping a little, in a hotel lobby both in the world and in our country. There, they feel like they are in another, finer world. However, there are hotels where it is simply impossible to do so.
I have entered many hotels in our country and in the world, but entering the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo in Monaco, was, let’s say, cold. At first, the bellboy didn’t want to let me in. I suppose I didn’t look likes a rich lady who can afford to pay € 40.000 for a night in the suite. Since I had an appointment with the hotel’s press office, he looked at me grimly, but he had to let me in.
Entering the huge hall literally took my breath away! Marble pillars with high vaults, crystal chandeliers shining with the power of the sun, huge, thick silk carpet specially made for the hotel, white walls with a golden accent and in the middle the mighty statue of King Louis XIV - make the entrance into this spacious and magnificent lobby magical like entering a fairy tale! I had to admit that I had never been in a more luxurious place!
A combination of contemporary and classic
Hôtel de Paris is the most sought place in the world for "displaying" your wealth. It's so expensive that even many millionaires avoid it, but some billionaires who have recently wanted the hotel to be refreshed with new furniture, better technology remain loyal,... “In every hotel’s life there is the time when despite the efforts to maintain the infrastructure on the highest level, it simply becomes out of date” – explains the general manager Ivan Artolli. “It happened with our air conditioning system and all the interior details needed to be completely restored. That is because our guests have become accustomed to the best of the best!”
It is a miracle that the hotel opened 130 years ago doesn’t become out-of-date since the last adaptation was made in 1909! The reconstruction, which began in 2014 and was finally completed in early 2019, under the watchful eye of two architects - Richard Martinet and Gabriel Vior, was run in stages: first, the two out of four hotel wings were demolished and rebuilt; then they made Le Patio – a luxurious exotic inner garden of 2.400 square meters. This venture cost at least € 250 million, but the hotel still kept its soul and all its original characteristics. That's why they call it a hotel icon. Moreover, it is one of the rare hotels belonging to the Monegasque brand: its owner is SBM - Société des Bains de Mer (Association of sea baths), that also owns the Casino and the Opera.
Today Hôtel de Paris has 207 rooms in four categories: Exclusive City View, Superior Courtyard, Exclusive Sea View and Exclusive Casino. Even 45% of new accommodation facilities are suites, in combination with modern and classic, with details such as: white marble floors, elegant wooden furniture, Louis XVI style pieces, bronze fabrics, chandeliers and Murano glass lamps… With all that, the new air conditioning system is practically silent, WiFi is super fast, and key cards are used instead of classic room keys…
When French entrepreneur François Blanc decided to found Monaco in 1863, he created a “hotel that surpasses all the hotels!” And indeed, between the famous Casino and the wide blue sea the hotel in the style of secession, with domes, large accessory sepals, all in gold was erected. Over time, few adaptations have been made, such as the renovation of Prince Rainier III's apartment (costing 51.000 Euros per night) and Princess Grace (45.000 Euros), in which a reception was held in honour of their wedding and where there are personal items of this royal couple.
But before them, there was also the apartment of Winston Churchill, who, like Frank Sinatra and Roger Moore, loved Monaco very much. On the seventh floor, surrounded by huge windows overlooking the sea and a huge terrace, the suite of this passionate politician and amateur painter bears the name "Diamond". There are several pieces of furniture and other minor objects of this English statesman. On the wall, there are his aquarelle paintings, which he made in his leisure time, resting between the wars. The ceiling is the real sexy side of this war magician: it's all in mirrors!
Mediterranean food inspired by “freedom, emotion and passion”
In 1987, Prince Rainier invited already famous Alain Ducasse to take over the kitchen at the hotel. Thanks to him the 50-seat restaurant Le Louis XV has 3 Michelin stars. In this restaurant, under the direction of Dominique Lory, the head chief, in which you can enter only if you are properly dressed, they serve Mediterranean food, "inspired by freedom, emotion and passion", which, by the way, is considered to be the highest quality on the entire Côte d'Azur. Alain Ducasse opened in 2019 his own restaurant at the hotel – Omer, which serves food from Greece, Lebanon, Turkey and Morocco.
On the hotel’s roof there is a third restaurant - Le Grill, with fantastic panoramic views, under the direction of the head chief Franck Cerutti.
In the bar, known for live music - Le Bar Americain allows casual clothes, but in Salle Empire - informal but chic. On four floors there are spa, wellness, fitness centre, sauna, steam bath, indoor and outdoor swimming pool... which with their appearance and service impress even the most demanding and the richest guests.
I visited a wine cellar that looks like a pharmacy. Never-ending shelves with bottles give this space a little lab-like look, of slightly darker colours, though. Today, 600, 000 bottles of wine are waiting for their devotees. During the Second World War, the management of the hotel sealed valuable bottles of wine in the wall to prevent the Nazis to take them away. When the war ended, the walls were knocked down and Churchill was the first to taste that nectar. On that behalf, Churchill won the title “Lord of the Cellar of Honoris causa”!
I came out of the hotel a little stunned by numerous conversations, seeing, checking, examining... Hôtel de Paris left so powerful impression on me that even today I think of its beauty, value, elegance and chic!