You would expect nothing less from the playground of the rich and famous than luxury and ease of living like nowhere else in the world. And that’s exactly what the Societé des Bains de Mer (SBM) has achieved throughout the Principality of Monaco. The 151-year-old resort is a network of properties, which includes Monaco’s exclusive Beach Club, a number of five-star hotels, the iconic Casino de Monte Carlo, award-winning spas, 33 restaurants and bars, and nighttime hotspots like Buddha Bar and Jimmy’z – to name but a few. As a result, guests of SBM can expect the same commitment to excellence and attention to detail whether they’re spending a day at the beach or dining at one of the Michelin-starred restaurants. Further in the way of unparalleled convenience, guests of SBM can use their room key cards as credit cards throughout the Monte Carlo SBM Resort, with the expenses added to their hotel bill as part of a benefits scheme called ‘Cercle Monte Carlo’.
I had the privilege of spending three days in the care of SBM earlier this year, and was treated to one of the most luxurious and memorable experiences of my life. I stayed at the Hermitage Hotel in the center of Monte Carlo, a stone’s throw away from the Casino de Monte Carlo and the popular Café de Paris, where celebrities and tycoons while away long afternoons on the sun-drenched terrace. The hotel itself epitomizes five-star luxury, and its whitewashed wall moldings, marble-covered gardens, Belle Époque-style rooms, and Gustave Eiffel-designed features ooze Old-World charm.
The Beach Club was closed during the cooler winter season, which meant I could make full use of the fantastic Thermes Marins facilities without feeling guilty about hiding out underground – yes, the spa is built underground, inside the cliff that is Monte Carlo, and is directly accessible from the Hermitage Hotel as well as the legendary Hotel de Paris (also an SBM property). I spent my mornings relaxing between the indoor analytical pool and the massage rooms, enjoying a number of state-of-the-art treatments and customized massages. As for my Monegasque afternoons, they were spent walking through the cliff gardens of Le Rocher, the high rock that towers over Monte Carlo and houses the Palais de Justice and the Palais Princier, and discovering the incredible boutiques that sit alongside the world’s leading fashion brands.
The culinary highlight of this foodie’s stay was undoubtedly a five-course, black truffle-based meal at Le Vistamar restaurant in the hotel. The level of service at this Michelin-starred establishment was like none I have every experienced in all my years of traveling to some of the most luxurious destinations in the world. Unfortunately, the thundering rain on the night of the dinner – a rare occurrence in a country that enjoys almost 300 days of sunshine – meant that I couldn’t make the most of the panoramic view that Le Vistamar is so famed for.
If your holiday checklist includes luxurious accommodation, unparalleled quality of service, Michelin-starred meals, high-fashion shopping, and the kind of easy living that is worthy of Princess Grace, then look no further than the Principality of Monaco’s SBM Resort.
Photos: Courtesy of Hermitage Hotel