The Fairmont is a huge establishment that was built facing the sea, affording breathtaking views across the waters of Monaco. The hotel is typical of the American-style 'resort' hotel, meaning that everything here has been designed so that guests don't actually need to leave the sometimes maze-like hotel for anything. That being said, the Golden Square is just two minutes away for those who do fancy venturing out.
The Fairmont Hotel is located on the tightest hairpin bend of the Grand Prix circuit, behind Monaco's Golden Square (so-called because the area is framed by the Hotel de Paris, the Casino and the Cafe de Paris) and resembles a vessel being launched onto the sea from the coast. Indeed, the bend was even recently officially baptised 'the Fairmont bend'. If you're looking for something a little more cultural, it's worth bearing in mind that the hotel is just a 2 minute walk from the Palais des Congrès.
The hotel is particularly popular with Formula 1 fans, who flock here every year in May hoping to get one of the guest rooms that offer breathtaking views of the slowest turn on the circuit and of the battling drivers.
The hotel was opened in 1975 by Princess Grace herself and, partially built on stilts, was the first to bring the American 'resort' hotel concept to the principality, the idea being to cater to every need of the hotel's diverse clientele under one roof. Needless to say that with its 602 guest rooms, this establishment is the cruise liner of Monaco's hotel fleet. As soon as you set foot in the huge lobby, complete with marble floors and a variety of sculptures to be found all around, you'll be taken aback by its sheer scale. Follow through past the selection of luxury boutiques and you'll find yourself faced with the breathtaking panoramic views from the 24-hour Saphir 24 bar, where you can relax in the comfort of the modern sofas provided and imagine setting sail on a virtual cruise through the large picture windows overlooking the sea and the boats mooring off the coast. This is also where you'll find live music in the evenings.
The famous L'Argentin meat restaurant is located on the ground floor of the hotel, as is the largest gala room on the Côte d'Azur, not to mention the hotel's very own casino. Access to the guest rooms is along a series of seemingly endless but nevertheless pleasant corridors featuring decor based on a nautical theme, with the doors designed to look like cabins on a ship. The hotel offers breathtaking views from its furnished roof-top terrace on the 7th floor, where you will also find the relatively small 15m long freshwater outdoor pool and solarium terrace. Furnished with deck chairs, it is open from 8:00am to 10:00pm, as is the bar. Visitors to the hotel also have the option of visiting the superb spa, which opened in 2009, from 9:00am to 9:00pm. Other options include sweating it out in the spacious and very well-equipped fitness centre, trying your luck in the Casino - just a 2 minute walk away, relaxing with a drink in the Champagne Bar, or heading down to the restaurant to enjoy a bite to eat on the panoramic terrace.
This hotel alone accounts for 20% of the principality's hotel capacity, with a selection of 602 guest rooms in various categories, namely Sea or Garden View, Deluxe Sea or Garden View, and Suite. Those with a garden view will find themselves overlooking a self-contained area of greenery with a nevertheless disappointing outlook, whilst those overlooking the sea enjoy superb views from their small balconies. The rooms themselves are large, the average floor area being 35m², with large wardrobes containing an iron and ironing board and an all-marble though somewhat outdated bathroom, with separate toilets to the left. It is rather unusual though, that there is no brush for cleaning. The decor in the guest rooms features nautical and colonial-influenced touches and a few paintings on the walls, whilst furniture includes a writing desk and chair that guests will no doubt find practical for taking care of business matters. Amenities include individual air conditioning, a free safe, a mini audio system on the bedside table, and a welcome tray. The somewhat 'standard' nature of the decor in the guest rooms, as well as the cathode-ray televisions and the charged cable Internet access are rather disappointing. You may be interested to know that the hotel has two rooms adapted for guests with reduced mobility.
The L'Argentin restaurant, a well known Argentinian eatery among meat-lovers, which even attracts diners from neighbouring Saint Tropez, is located on the ground floor of the hotel and consists of a superb modern dining room with elegant chandeliers and tables beautifully laid with locally produced artisanal crockery. The 130-seater dining room itself is edged with the same large picture windows found in the lobby bar and offers the same breathtaking views across the sea. The restaurant is open from 7:30pm till midnight. Meanwhile, the rooftop Horizon restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and provides a high level of service, first rate cuisine and breathtaking views. This restaurant can accommodate 300 covers inside on the wooden deck, and a further 80 outside on the terrace.
The hotel has no direct access to the beach but it does provide a free shuttle service, complete with translators, and guests are provided with a bag containing complimentary towels. Having arrived at Larvotto beach, you'll find coarse sand and clear waters but a rocky seabed and/or some seaweed. Guests have a choice of 5 different settings here, each with its own specific ambience.
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