Monaco is a sovereign city state located on the côte d’azur, which has a relatively small coastline with a 3.83 km stretch. Known for its annual F1 Grand Prix, luxury shopping and grand Casino de Monte-Carlo many may argue it wouldn’t necessarily be the first place to consider as a family friendly destination.
However, after our family stay at the luxurious, five-star Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo, voted as the Top Hotel in France/Monaco by Condé Nast Traveller Reader’s Choice Awards, I came to realise there is more on offer for families in this spectacular enclave then one would first imagine.
With my toddler appointed as official hotel inspector, I’ll highlight the reasons why Monaco makes the ideal family escape with all the bells and whistles included.
Arriving in Style – Return Helicopter Transfer from Nice to Monaco
We flew with British Airways direct from London City Airport to Nice, France which took just under two hours. We were then greeted by representatives from MonacAir in preparation of our helicopter transfer to Monaco.
Visitors have the option of driving to Monaco, which takes approximately 30 minutes or taking a private helicopter which takes less than 7 mins. I would recommend the latter as the views are certainly worth it. For my daughter, the highlight was when she received baby ear muffs from the friendly team at MonacAir and then proceeded to be mesmerised by the view of the Mediterranean from our front row seat of the helicopter.
Once we landed on the helipad tarmac in Monte Carlo, a chauffeur took us on a quick car ride to Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo located in the heart of Monte Carlo.
Our Suite – Family Friendly Exceeding all Expectations
Our Jacques Garcia designed junior suite had partial views of the ocean and of Monte Carlo Casino. We also had a great view of the hotel’s cypress tree lined entrance. The configuration of our suite included a large entrance which led to the main space consisting of a king sized bed for me and a large cot for Ava, walk in wardrobe, study desk, two bathrooms and a lounge area with ample seating.
The lounge area leads to two large french doors with a balcony. There is also another balcony off the bedroom. The walk-in wardrobe is large to say the least and comfortably fits in an entire wardrobe for two people. The suite also had two marble and mahogany bathrooms, the master had dual sinks, a large bath tub and a separate jet shower. I also loved the small touch of the fresh seasonal flowers in the suite.
Apart from the cot, I was impressed the suite also had a high chair, nappy changing station complete with nappies, wet wipes and cotton pads and a baby bath. The suite’s bathroom also contained Little Prince range toiletries specifically for Ava. The hotel’s baby bottle warmer was also much appreciated. As we had an in-room high chair for Ava, on most occasions we ordered breakfast to the room. This made in-room dining with a toddler that much easier.
The real surprise was the personal touch as each child is welcomed to the hotel with thought, and attention is given to their age and preferences. Ava had her very own welcome package with a home made apple compote, yoghurt from Normandy and freshly squeezed orange juice. The welcome package also included her own kids’ melamine feeding set which was very handy at meal times. There was also a sweet little stuffed hotel bunny mascot for Ava, a Sophie La Giraffe set and baby slippers, which she loved.
Sophie La Girafe – When the first signs of teething appear, Sophie La Girafe helps babies stop crying! – Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo
Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo include these family necessities and welcome package for all families staying at the hotel, and from this I could see careful consideration was given to the comfort of families when travelling.
For larger families there are interconnecting rooms available. If budget is no option, families can enjoy the ultimate luxury by staying in the Carré d’or suite on the top floor for €8,800 per night. Ava and I were lucky enough to receive a special tour of the Carré d’or suite, which is 195 sq m including 110 sq m of terrace with a jaw dropping view of the Mediterranean and Monte Carlo. And if you so wish, the whole of the 7th floor is available to book privately.
Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo – The Jewel of Monte Carlo
The Hotel has a range of activities for families to enjoy, from the heated winter pool complete with a watchful lifeguard to the kids club in the summer months from July to August. Interestingly, in winter the pool is indoors and heated to a very pleasant 22 degrees celsius, while in summer it turns into an outdoor pool.
The hotel’s Little Chef program is also fantastic which has been designed for 6 to 10 year olds who are keen to cook. Children have the opportunity to bake their own cupcakes and chocolate eggs.
The lobby also has a seasonally themed dramtatic art installation which is quite spectacular and a sight to behold. Our visit coincided with the ‘Frosted Winter’ display which Ava found fascinating.
The pool and Odyssey restaurant were designed by the late Karl Lagerfeld, and have a wonderfully stark monochromatic feel which is inline with the aesthetic of the House of Chanel which Lagerfeld was at the head of for so many decades.
Lagerfeld shot a series of black-and-white tableaux that were then etched onto large glass panels – Architectural Digest Magazine
Odyssey has a fantastic menu for hungry little post swim appetites. The selection of meals available for children was great and Ava choose the kids’ spaghetti with freshly squeezed apple juice. Dessert was a must with the hotel making its own in-house ice cream.
We also visited Spa Metrople by Givenchy where children are surprisingly welcome when accompanied by an adult.
The relaxation room is a great place for families to unwind with fresh fruit, assorted nibbles and freshly squeezed juice available.
The spa menu includes the signature face and body Givenchy treatments to full day spa treatments which include a ‘heat experience’, fitness studio work out and a special ‘Noir Couture’ lunch by Michelin starred chef
Joël Robuchon. I particularly enjoyed the Givenchy make over station where busy mums can enjoy a flash make up session.
The Hotel’s gardens are also beautiful and a great place to explore during the day. Opposite the hotel there is also a wonderful garden, Jardins de la Petite Afrique – The Little Africa Gardens, with a duck pond and an exotic green oasis for kids to explore. Should you require it, the hotel also provides strollers for when you go on walks around the city.
5 Family Friendly Activities in Monaco
Metropole Shopping Centre is fantastic if you fancy a little designer retail therapy, the hotel is conveniently next to Metropole Shopping Centre with 80 boutiques over three levels from Hermès, Céline, Christian Dior, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel and Prada to name just a few. There is also a great selection of children’s boutiques including a large Gucci Kids. The centre also has a cafe with an ice cream menu, which was a lovely post-shopping treat for Ava.
Oceanographic Museum – Aquarium of Monaco is worth a visit if you are in Monaco with kids. It has a vast variety of fish including a Shark Lagoon and Turtle Island. Children and adults can enjoy unique experiences such as watching fish feeding, a light and sound show, or letting your senses awaken in the touch tanks. The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium is just a 10 minute drive or 30 minute walk from the hotel.
The Exotic Garden and the Japanese Garden are both surreal green spaces in Monaco which are great for children to run around in and explore. Both are approximately a 10 minute drive from the hotel. The Japanese Garden was built at the request of Prince Rainier III in line with the teachings of Zen design by architect Yasuo Beppu.
The Exotic Garden, in addition to its wide variety of plants and cacti, has a splendid underground cave with impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
Changing of the Guards is where children can explore the historical side of Monaco by going for a walk not far from Port of Fontvieille. Once here you will find the Cathedral of Monaco and the Prince’s Palace. At the Prince’s Palace, kids can enjoy watching the changing of the guards ceremony which occurs every day at 11:55 am. Conveniently, the previously mentioned Oceanographic Museum is also located nearby.
Princess Antoinette Park is designed for children and includes a dedicated kids outdoor play area and an 18 hole miniature golf course. Kids can also make use of the multipurpose sports grounds. Activities at Princess Antoinette Park include ball games, table tennis tables, badminton, volleyball and a small skateboard park. For the youngest visitors, there is a mini farm to visit.
Michelin Stars: Dining with Kids
The Hotel has four separate dining areas on the premises, two of these are Michelin starred restaurants, Japanese at YOSHI and the Joël Robuchon Restaurant with its Mediterranean inspired menu.
We dined at YOSHI as Ava is a Sushi fan. Despite being Michelin starred, the restaurant staff brought out colouring books and crayons for Ava and the Chef also made her custom baby Maki avocado sushi.
My meal was exceptional palette of flavours with a modern twist on traditional Japanese, I started with a Japanese vegetarian salad followed by a salmon teriyaki main. YOSHI overlooks a Japanese garden which is wonderful to gaze at whilst dining.
If Michelin starred dining isn’t to the liking of your little ones, then don’t despair. Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo is situated right next to the iconic Café de Paris Monte-Carlo and many other restaurants which are located just a few metres from the hotel.
Overall Experience: Très Magnifique
Monaco is the epitome of elegance and sophistication and the independently owned Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo is the pièce de résistance when it comes to catering for families. This is due to the attention to detail, which is just extraordinary.
This attention to detail is seen in every aspect of the hotel from the tastefully finished interior to the attentiveness given to guests. An example which springs to mind is when Ava had a Cinderella moment, or Cendrillon in French, where she lost her little shoe in the hotel lobby. Thankfully a charming Les Clefs d’Or concierge by the name of Philippe quickly rushed in to help without hesitation.
Philippe not only located the shoe in question but then delicately placed it back on Ava’s little foot. The hotel staff took the extra effort to learn our names and always made sure we were well looked after, as they do with all guests who stay at the hotel.
A weekend away at Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo is the perfect family getaway for our us, it is close to London with a short 2 hour flight and includes a little bit of everything we enjoy as a family, from aquariums to exploring exotic gardens. As a family we could comfortably relax at the hotel and take advantage of the family friendly facilities whilst also enjoying the luxury synonymous with Monaco.
Booking Details: London to Monaco
Airfare from London City to Nice with British Airways City Flyer starts from approximately £226 per person return.
MonacAir private helicopter transfers from Nice to Monaco are approximately €260 per person return (this rate increases for the Grand Prix period). Children 12 years and under are approximately an additional €75 per child and infants are not charged.
A room inclusive of breakfast at Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo starts from approximately €440 per night and a suite which we stayed in, with breakfast starts from approximately €780 per night. Bookings can be made via Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo direct here.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about our family friendly stay at the wonderful Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo, do pop them down below!
Kerstin // Lux Mumma
*This is an honest review of Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo by way of a media stay in March 2019.