The view from one of Hotel Metropole's private roof terraces stretches to the Mediterranean.

Where to Stay for the Ultimate Monaco Experience

Designer Penny Drue Baird checks into the uber-chic Hotel Metropole

Sequestered in the heart of Monte Carlo, the Hotel Metropole offers visitors a new experience in the Principality. Constructed atop of an underground four-story shopping mall, the hotel retains its elegant, early 19th-century architectural splendor. Originally built as a Papal Residence, the converted hotel began welcoming guests in 1886 and quickly became known for its glamour and refinement. A century later, the property changed ownership, becoming what it is known as today: The Hotel le Metropole.

Today, the hotel has become the “it” destination in Monaco, attracting a young, international jet-set crowd: At any hour of the day, a constant parade of exotic sports cars line the front courtyard and the long driveways.

Odyssey, the hotel’s elevated pool area, was created by Karl Lagerfeld and features 18 etched backlit glass panels depicting models draped in Lagerfeld-designed togas. The heated saltwater pool is open year-round.

Jacques Garcia, the internationally known architectural and interior designer based in Paris, extended his signature luxurious—yet full of whimsical touches—style throughout the decor of the hotel. The lobby exudes a sophisticated, yet warm and inviting, atmosphere reminiscent of the famed chateaus of 16th- and 17th-century France.

Upon first entering the main lobby through imposing double doors, you see an enormous 18th-century Gobelins tapestry depicting a scene from the L’Allégorie à l’Antique on the back wall. Dark jewel-toned fabrics drape the Garcia-designed furniture that has been placed throughout the skylit room, creating an atmosphere of modern royal splendor—surprising in a resort region of the Côte d’Azur, where most hotel interiors are light, airy, and traditional in design.

The main lobby is adorned with classic oversized 18th-century French Gobelins tapestry that depicts the theme of L’Allégorie à l’Antique.

One of the most unusual features of the hotel is its spectacular elevated swimming pool. Referred to as The Odyssey, the terraced area takes its name from the enormous glass screen around it. Black-and-white photographs are printed on backlit glass panels that are framed by magnificent views of Monte Carlo.

Designed by fashion maestro Karl Lagerfeld, the stunning scene can be interpreted as an ancient Greek fashion advertisement with beautiful models draped in Lagerfeld-designed Greek togas dancing across the 18 frescoed panels.

Reflected in a grand foliage-ornamented mirror, in the “Salon des Princes,” is an antique neoclassical chandelier that was original to the 19th-century building.

The Hotel Metropole looms large as a palace, yet is surprisingly intimate. Garcia’s fanciful details, such as the upholstered leather entrance doors and walls, embellished with framed daguerreotype portraits of former presidents, alongside oversized artworks and mirrors, create a romantic and soothing atmosphere for a seriously pleasurable visit to a place you will yearn to return to.

Cover: The view from one of Hotel Metropole's private roof terraces stretches to the Mediterranean.


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