Situated on the glistening French Riviera, with its glamorous history as the former residence of the luminous Grace Kelly and her perfect Prince Rainier, the tiny French principality of Monte Carlo (Monaco) has transfixed romantics all over the globe.
Each year, more than 100,000 guests flock to this gorgeous area, overwhelming the mere 15,200 residents of Monte Carlo. From the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix to world championship boxing bouts, the European Poker Tour Grand Final, the World Backgammon Championship and the Monaco International Auto Show, the narrow winding streets of Monaco flourish with bodies day-in-and-day-out.
Yet, the allure of walking, eating, sleeping and shopping on the same streets as Princess Grace of Monaco truly makes this principality one of Europe’s leading tourist resorts. For those who only have a weekend to spare, summer is the perfect time of year to explore the Riviera.
If you don’t have access to the Royal Palace, feel like a princess at the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel. Open seasonally from late spring to early fall, this gracious hotel has all the trappings of a luxury brand, as well as being home to the elegant restaurant Elsa, the first fully-organic Michelin-starred restaurant. Helmed by Executive Chef Paolo Sari, he sources all ingredients within a 60-mile-radius from Monte-Carlo thus ensuring everything in his kitchen is strictly sustainable.
Once settled and satiated by food, enjoy a private tasting in the Hotel de Paris wine cellars, as the hotel itself is currently undergoing a massive multi-year renovation.
For those who would rather focus on attempting to look like Princess Grace rather than eating and drinking like her, try a beautifying weekend with a series of spa treatments at Thermes Marins spa. Recently restored in 2015 for its 50th anniversary, enjoy facials, body treatments and a state-of-the-art cryotherapy session.
Finally, if love or marriage is in the cards, the next trend in over-the-top ceremonies takes place 40 feet below the sea in Monte Carlo. The Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo recently launched an underwater wedding package led by the world-famous free diving champion, Pierre Frolla. On Monaco’s Larvotto Beach, all necessary diving gear is provided: a wetsuit that replicates a top hat, bow tie, and tailcoat for the groom and white neoprene wetsuit with a voile skirt, pink scuba tanks and veil for the bride.
Up to 22 guests can partake in this underwater ceremony, with packages ranging from $4,500 – $7,300, including transportation to and from the water, videography, music and a reception featuring champagne and French pastries.