In addition to ushering in 2013 with positive energy and an appetite for fresh discovery, our annual tradition at JG Black Book is to commemorate all that we and our partners have experienced in the past year.
Celebrate with us each day this week as we pause and rewind to some of our favorite, most popular Black Blog of Travel entries from 2012.
Thanks for the memories!
Cheers to 2013,
-the JG Black Book team
From the deepest caves in Belize to the highest Italian peaks, we've explored the world and in this series called On The Road, we're here to update you with our stories and some must-know insider travel tips!
Ah, Monte-Carlo. So much excitement and luxury packed into one little city! I began my trip in the French Riviera at Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, the legendary playground of the famous and fashionable. The December weather was beautiful, which allowed me to pack a lot of excitement into my brief stay. From Fragonard Perfumery tours, to Ferraris and Casinos, Monte-Carlo was an exquisite adventure.
After a quick 1.5 hour flight, I arrived in Paris, the City of Love, where I stayed at the stunning Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière. As I walked into my room, I was stunned to find myself staring down the Champs-Elysees with the L'Arc de Triomphe staring right back at me. It was incredible! The French cuisine, the people watching and Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière’s luxurious spa made my first-time experience absolutely unforgettable. Take a look at the On The Road Q & A below or for more of the story, read Forget Not Fouquet's and Excitement & Luxury in Monte-Carlo, Monaco on the Black Blog of Travel!
Q: What stood out to you the most at Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo?
A: While the views overlooking the Mediterranean are spectacular, I was blown away by the hotel's interior décor. Depending on the season or particular events throughout the year, the hotel takes on a specific "mood" that inspires not only the lobby's immaculate floral decorations, but also special welcome amenities, drinks at the bar and decorations in the restaurants. Even the music revolves around the theme! The current mood is "Happy Summer at The Metropole", but last July in honor of Monaco's Royal Wedding, the theme was "A Fairytale at The Metropole" and a gorgeous tree was placed in the middle of the lobby. Truly amazing!
Q: Monte-Carlo is widely known for its casino. What was that like?
A: We headed to the casino after an incredible dinner at Joël Robuchon's Michelin star restaurant, Yoshi. As a guest at the Hotel Metropole, entering the casino is a breeze with the VIP access ticket you receive at check-in. Though there's a dress code to enter, it maintains an air of elegance and makes you feel like James Bond could be playing Baccarat right around the corner. We had a glass of wine and toured the casino's gorgeous rooms, admiring the frescos and murals depicting Ancient Greek Mythology. If you're in Monte-Carlo, visiting the casino is a must.
Q: What other activities did you partake in?
A: One afternoon, we were treated to a Ferrari ride. We didn't drive, but instead a professional driver took the wheel topping speeds of 200 miles per hour throughout the curvy streets of Monte-Carlo, the same roads where the World Formula One championship races take place... such a thrill!
Q: What stood out to you the most at Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière?
A: From the moment I walked in the doors, my experience at the hotel was extremely luxurious and relaxing. Though it was my first time in the city, after a long day in Monte-Carlo and the flight to Paris, I wanted nothing more than a warm respite from the wintry evening. I checked in around midnight and was quickly guided up to a large but cozy, softly-lit suite. A lovely display of small treats and fresh flowers invited me to relax with the hot tea that had just arrived from downstairs. Everyone from the doormen to the in-room dining gentleman spoke in low tones and with a warmth that was genuinely welcoming!
Q: Lastly, tell us about your experience at their famous restaurant!
A: Dining in the Fouquet's Restaurant, I understood Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière's role as a Parisian institution. The restaurant's atmosphere glowed with elegance and nostalgia - the walls hung with black and white portraits of the rich and famous at their favorite tables throughout the restaurant. I felt like I was part of the hotel's century-long history and with the exquisite French service, like part of its celebrity as well. I definitely recommend the Lobster Bisque with Wild Mushroom Raviolis and the Steak Tartare.
Tips from the JG Team
If you want a good taste of the shopping scene in Monte-Carlo, head directly outside of the hotel and down the escalators to the Metropole Shopping plaza. They have lovely stores ranging from unique jewelers and shoe stores to my favorite, the European Drugstore. The aisles of lovely smelling skin care and cute hair accessories made it fun to buy a few things to take as souvenirs.
Take advantage of the Spa area at Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière, available for the use of guests at any time during their stay - not just with a treatment. You'll definitely want to head to the U Spa to unwind after a long day of walking and exploring the city.