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Free WiFi / Hotel WiFi / Monaco Hotels / Monte Carlo Hotels / Boutique Hotels / F1 Hotels / Sports Hotels / → All Tags
Ah, Monaco, a place so ridiculously, frivolously expensive that most of the hotels expect you to pay for WiFi. Pay for WiFi? Well, not if you use their basic service, of course – but if you want something that does more than pull in a single email every hour or so, you usually have to pony up for a faster connection (notable exception: the Fairmont, which gives free WiFi to members of its Presidents Club).
So huge news from Monaco this week with the news that the Columbus has become the first Monegasque hotel to offer free, highspeed WiFi to all its guests and visitors. It’s a 50MB connection, with an auto-login – so no annoying passwords to re-enter, and your login lasts a month, so if you only stay a night, you know where to hit up the bar for some work time.
And if you really can’t believe that no hotel in an entire country has done this before,
then you haven’t been to Monaco this is what they say:
Charges for keeping your own stuff in the hotel minibar – that’s so Vegas. Our sister site VegasChatter spotted a $50 “restocking fee” at MGM Grand last year, and the story went round again last month at MGM’s sister property Mandalay Bay.
But a “corkage fee” for merely having a bottle of water in your room? Now that’s a new one.
This was a note we saw in the info book at the Fairmont Monte Carlo when we stayed earlier this year. The Fairmont is one of Monaco’s iconic hotels, right on the Mediterranean. At check in, we were impressed that staff went out of their way to tell us that we should sign up for the President’s Club in order to get free WiFi (if you can’t be bothered to do it now, do it at some point during your stay and we’ll take the charge off at check out, they said, which was awesome).
And then we stumbled upon this note. This penny-pinching, parsimonious note. “A corkage fee will be charged on an item purchased outside and consumed at the hotel”, it said. €15 for champagne and spirits. €10 for wine. €5 for soft drinks and water – water! Not bottles illicitly stored in the minibar, remember – bottles merely kept in the room.
There are so many problems with this. For starters, the sign wasn’t prominent – it was buried in the info guide, which is only read properly by geeks like us. Not a peep on the minibar, not a squeak on the bedside table.
For another, how can the hotel distinguish between drinks consumed in-room and bottles from drinks you bought earlier and didn’t bother to throw away? Chuck out that empty bottle of water in your bag you’ve been carrying around all day, and suddenly it’s chargeable.
Hotel Renovations / Hotel Closures / Monaco Hotels / Monte Carlo Hotels / Luxury Hotels / SBM Hotels / → All Tags
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.