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.
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.
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.
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.