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Our little black book of enchanting places


No yacht? No problem

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Vintage poster for the Grand Prix de MonacoIt’s the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend (26-29 May). Formula One champion Nelson Piquet used to say that racing through the streets of Monte-Carlo was ‘like trying to cycle round your living room’, and twice cars have ended up in the harbour. But on the last weekend of May, the principality is the only place to be, and if you’re not lucky enough to have your own yacht moored in the harbour, here are three equally glamorous places to stay.Hotel Metropole Monte-CarloHôtel Métropole, Monte-Carlo

There are several grandes-dames hotels in Monte-Carlo, but for foodies it has to be the Métropole, which has not one but three restaurants managed by the world’s most Michelin-starred chef, Joël Robuchon. Dating from 1886, the Belle-Epoque hotel had a major refurbishment 20 or so years ago and has been recently spruced up by Karl Lagerfeld, no less. It’s also a great place for lunch, though you’ll never get a table for this weekend. In fact, you might think about booking now for 2017’s Grand Prix. From around £370 per night.Château Eza, Eze

The medieval hilltop village of Eze is around 8.5km from Monaco. It’s one of my favourite places on the Riviera: by day flooded with tourists, by night deserted, romantic and just a touch eery. There are two hotels of note here, Château Eza and the Château de la Chèvre d’Or, both with stunning views over the coast. I think the 400-year-old Château Eza wins by a very narrow margin: once owned by Prince William of Sweden, it's still very much the grand country house, its 14 rooms and suites decorated in opulent French style, with fine antiques and original paintings. Eze is car free but don’t worry about hauling your heavy suitcase up the narrow winding lanes: at Château Eza, your luggage travels by donkey (though you'll have to walk). From £570-£1,160 per night. Hotel Cap Estel, Eze

Perched on a tree-lined peninsula below Eze, Cap Estel was created at the turn last century by the Irish writer, Frank Harris, a close friend of Oscar Wilde. It became a favourite retreat of the great and the good: Greta Garbo, President Georges Pompidou and Sir Laurence Olivier to name but a few. The hotel was pretty much rebuilt between 2000 and 2003 but it has retained that Hollywood glamour feel: it reminds me of the set for High Society – it’s easy to imagine Tracy Samantha Lord, aka Grace Kelly, wafting across the terraced garden. Cool, sophisticated and very classy – just like the late Princess of Monaco herself. From £1,230 per night.



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