Is there a world where you can dine morning, noon, and night at the table of the chef with the most Michelin stars on the planet? Where you can lounge in a sumptuous lobby watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous unfold in real life? Where you can retreat to your plush room to soak in an Hermès-scented bath and prepare for bed before the sink scattered with rose petals?
There is such a place, and it is the Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo. Your day at this five-star Riviera hotel begins with golden light filtering through the silk draperies. Pull them back to reveal the blazing blue sky of the Côte D'Azur beyond your balcony. Just over there is the legendary casino, and idling in the drive below you is a candy box of Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
You'll take breakfast at the Karl Lagerfield-designed Odyssey pool and terrace, where you'll plunge into Joël Robuchon's cuisine. Luckily, healthful options are available here; you have a long day of eating ahead, so try a fresh-pressed juice, a perfect croissant, and an espresso. After a swim, head to the spa. Opt for the Ayurvedic treatment, and you'll turn to French butter as the therapist works essential oils into travel-weary muscles. After some blissful time in the relaxation room, it's time to get ready for lunch.
It's a half-minute stroll across the drive to Yoshi, where Robuchon's approach meets exquisite Japanese simplicity. Taking a seat in the intimate space, you could well be in a beautifully lacquered bento box. Pristine sashimi, like so many jewels on the plate, can make an adult weep that this is not for lunch every day of her life.
Afternoons are for exploring the tiny principality or shopping its hallowed boutiques. Return in time for cocktail hour in the lobby, where the people-watching is worth the cost of admission. That $30 drink comes with fine bar snacks, and you can linger indefinitely. Check out the pampered pooch on his own stool, and think of stories about the glamorous citizens of this world, all here to see and be seen.
Dinner is the icing on this resplendent cake, and you'd better have walked enough today to arrive hungry. It's not just about the food you're eating, though. If you're lucky enough to be at the chef's table overlooking the kitchen, this is dinner theater, and the main event is a finely orchestrated production. Robuchon insisted on an open kitchen, so enjoy the show; a dozen-plus staff members speed about the gleaming space with precision and composure.
Think two Michelin stars at a Monte Carlo restaurant and you might think painfully formal. And sure, you'll be dressed for the occasion in the oh-so-elegant dining room. But the polished service manages a sympathique touch, and the sommelier will guide you through the wines with pleasure. The most fun to be had here is on the “small portions to discover and share” side of the menu. Think classics like sweetbreads and foie gras – but the best you've ever had.
But there's more to come. If you have only one menu item, order the mashed potatoes. They are legendary. The foie-stuffed, caramelized quail co-stars with this beyond decadent puree, whipped by hand with butter until they're almost silken. Strewn with truffles, they leave you shaking your head, incapable of speech until the last bit is gone.
By now the kitchen is winding down. The chef, arms crossed, surveys his empire and gives you a look, one cocked eyebrow asking how you enjoyed your meal. You nod, slowly, a slightly guilty smile spreading as you think about just how very much you enjoyed it. And then comes the dessert cart. Your night in Monaco is only beginning.