For nearly one hundred years, the Principality of Monaco has played host to one of the most important, glamorous and influential dates in the racing calendar - the eponymous Monaco Grand Prix. Formally started in 1922, the Grand Prix has played host to some of the most exciting names in the sport, including Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and the damnably rakish Graham Hill. It’s also one of world’s the most challenging tracks, typified by multiple elevation changes, a tunnel and hairpin turns winding through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo.
It’s an enormous, exhilarating - and at times exhausting - event to be a part of, however, despite the city’s diminutive size, Monte Carlo’s reputation as a playground for the well-at-heel is definitely earned. The city offers plenty of options for relaxation, entertainment or imbibing, so for those attending this year’s Grand Prix, The Rake presents a curated selection of the crème de la crème.
Stay at the Hotel Metropole
Originally constructed in 1886 and recently reinvigorated and nestled at the base of Monte Carlo’s hills, Hotel Metropole is one of the city’s finest places to stay. The hotel’s baroque Italian style exudes an intoxicating aura of old-world glamour that’s worth visiting year round. However, its brilliant views of the racetrack’s east end make it an especially perfect location during the Grand Prix. The hotel features three restaurants - Joël Robuchon Monte Carlo, a poolside bar and restaurant Odyssey (designed under the guidance of Karl Lagerfeld), and the spectacular, Michelin-starred contemporary Japanese restaurant Yoshi. If the race-watching, imbibing and gastronomy prove all too wearying, Givenchy’s newly-minted on-site Spa Metropole offers a welcome place to unwind from such rigours. Perhaps most excitingly, the hotel also offers a range of curated personal experiences, including the option to drive a Formula 1 car yourself at Circuit du Var Luv in Provence.
Gamble at the Casino Monte Carlo
Obviously. The world’s first major casino, the source of most of Monaco’s wealth and one of the most elegant gambling houses in the world, it’s a must-visit even for the gambling-averse. Featuring several major halls, restaurants with views over the bay and absolutely stunning ceilings and frescos, the Casino Monte Carlo is a beautiful and intoxicating setting to have a flutter in, and the beautiful building has a fascinating history all its own that is well worth discovering.