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And so the wave of grande dame hotels embarking on major renovations continues: this time, it’s the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, in the tiny principality of Monaco, which will start four years’ worth of work this October.
While we initially thought the hotel would close its doors entirely, it’s taking a slightly different approach and will continue to operate “on a reduced scale”. In order to prepare for the work, the hotel will indeed shut from October 6 to mid-December, but reopen for the holiday season, with full work kicking off on January 18 next year.
Though it's only been open several months, Hotel Monaco Philly is already the hottest ticket in town, as far as rooftops are concerned. The hotel's 11th floor Stratus has become legendary for its outdoor patio, indoor bar, two private lounge areas, and outdoor fireplace*.
Most days of the week, it's possible to head up to Stratus, enjoy a few cocktails and be on your merry way. But the lines to get in on Friday and Saturday can get pretty long, and once you enter the bar, it can be difficult just finding a seat.
As a result, Monaco will soon start issuing membership cards just to access the bar. We heard from an employee that a designated number of seats will be set aside each night for card-holders. Of course, hotel guests get priority automatically, but when it comes to random people walking in off the street, Stratus members will definitely have the upper hand.
The dress code at Monte Carlo's Hermitage Hotel may be 'chic' and 'elegant attire,' but if you see guests wandering around the lobby in robes and slippers, as we did, there's no need to call the fashion police. These people have just come been enjoying the hotel's spa, Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo.
We had the chance to try a treatment there recently, and we gotta say, there's more going on here than just scented candles and Swedish massages. The spa is known for its sports programs, high-tech machines and nutritional counseling, all of which draw high-profile athletes and the dancers of the local Monte Carlo Ballet.
Then there's that huge solarium-style pool with views of the Mediterranean...
While we're rather partial to Monte Carlo's Hotel Hermitage for its quiet elegance, and dig the water views and amenities over at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, all of the big names who visit Monaco stay at the Hotel de Paris.
That includes the gamblers. As the closest hotel to the Casino Monte-Carlo, and with rates that warrant a turn at the blackjack table, Hotel de Paris is a natural choice for anyone keen for a flutter. What we learned when popping into the Hotel De Paris for dinner recently, was that it is tradition upon entering the hotel's lobby to rub the knee of Louis XIV's horse.
You won't have any trouble remembering which knee of the statue to caress, either--as you can see from our snapshot, the many years of lucky rubs have left their mark on the ol' steed.
If you've seen the latest iPhone ad, you know that Santa is using Siri to navigate his way around the globe this Christmas. One place we know he'll be hitting up is the pretty Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo.
The posh hotel, the more subdued sister of the famous Hotel de Paris, is offering a special Christmas package partly inspired by the growing number of families who have to choose sides when it comes to where to spend Christmas. And they're throwing in an appearance by Père Noël aka Santa.
We already told you about the hotel's Christmas package here but if you're in need of a very, very last-minute stay in MC for Xmas, here's what the Hermitage is offering:
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
This killer view seems to be actually even better than the hotel promo pictures suggest. It was taken at the luxurious Fairmont Monte Carlo so you can be sure that this kind of view ain't cheap (an attempt at this view might set you back something like 350 Euro but rooms can go well over a thousand Euro a night).
The hotel has a zig-zag design that maximizes the number of rooms that really do get the yacht-drifting-past-your-window view, though. If you've been in the last few years you might've thought, like many previous guests, that the Fairmont was in need of a reno to get away from its 70s roots, and this is now underway.