Palatial pizzaz, roof-top bathing and champagne on the deck ...
A vast vessel of a place stretching out over the Med, with top standards, extraordinary views and an air of pizzaz throughout. The hotel overlooks the most famous hairpin in Formula One racing.
Indeed, if you span off the Fairmont bend, you’d spin straight into the hotel lobby. Fortunately, there’s ample space for an emergency stop before Reception; the acreage of marble and mahogany is huge.
As is the 602-room hotel. Its seven floors have been built from land out to sea on pillars. The exterior is a bit ‘1970s brutalist’ but you can’t see this from the inside. There, a €46-million make-over has rendered the place, if not intimate, then sharp, warm and welcoming.
Reception gives way to a mall of top-end shops, the Sun casino - and ocean-side Sapphir bar. This is a fine place to take afternoon tea and cakes - or the faintly overwhelming "Chocolate Experience". I doubt you'll ever have seen so much chocolate so inventively presented.
Eat it all and you'll be in no shape for dinner in the hotel's Argentin restaurant, which will be a pity. The Argentin's style is of a US diner upgraded to suit luxury Monegasque tastes - and the grilled beef is wonderful.
Upstairs (or, rather, up in the lift) sea-view rooms are like cruise-ship suites – light blues, dark wood furniture recalling the 1930s and nothing between balcony and briny. Garden-view ones have a more colonial feel - but also come equipped with a balcony.
Nor is the Fairmont mean with space. Last time I was there, I could have welcomed Prince Albert and most of his entourage to join me round my mini-bar, if only I'd thought to issue appropriate invitations. Most of us would then have fitted on the balcony, to appreciate the arresting views and, perhaps, a quick smoke.
Or perhaps not. The Fairmont is terribly proud of its new health-inducing arrangements. And, indeed, the Willow Stream Spa and roof-top heated pool look pretty good, though I didn't have the time to try either.
The place is just as proud of the equally new seventh-floor l’Horizon champagne bar. I had my daily Moët & Chandon on terrace there. It was like sipping at sea without all the bother of a luxury yacht. I can’t remember having felt so damned sophisticated.
This is, in short, a hotel from which to tackle Monaco on its own luxurious terms. And, what's more, they're very pleased to see you, even if you're not yet internationally famous. Though competition in the field is not fierce, I've rarely come across a more charming concierge.
Like this hotel? Then check for availability and deals below.
Not interested? See [node:129623] and [node:141323] for more expert recommendations.