Le Meridien Beach Plaza
Travel Blogs from Monte-Carlo
... one with no line! We hopped on and rode to the hilltop view of the Royal Palace. As Palaces go, it didn’t seem to live up to the hype so we didn’t hop off. In no time we were back to the cruise and realized with the exception of the Palace hill one could walk the entire length of the principality in 30 minutes or so and the Hop off bus was exposed as a rip-off with twelve stops.
We explored all corners ...
Today we took off for Monaco via Aix-en-Provence and Nice. We really only stopped in Aix- as we call it, for a toilet break but in order to do that you have to have a cup of coffee or the like, so can use the restroom - All seems a tad pointless when you have to immediately fill up with coffee!!
On we drove to Nice. We have been there before and stayed in a hotel opposite the ...
... the lovely French Rivera out the window between tunnels. Monaco is the worlds 2nd smallest country after the Vatican & has been ruled for 700 years by the Grimaldi family. The current Prince Albert is only home for 6 months of the year. He is very involved with charities & the environment. To become a resident of Monaco the application itself cost 1 million euros & maybe rejected. It's also a playground & holiday spot for the rich ...
... for the first time, Matthew and Tara Gribble, and their mum Tania. (Dad, Alan, is Tash's first cousin, and he is currently working in Qatar...seems accounting in oil and gas also runs in this family!) The girls were delighted to discover they have French cousins, and the French cousins equally delighted to discover that they were not the only ones in the world with blue eyes and freckles! (A rare phenomenon, it seems ...
... was, not surprisingly, one called "Happy Hour".
We headed up the hill (more stairs) for a view of the Royal Palace - Palais du Prince. We got there just in time for the changing of the guard so that was bonus.
A bit more cruising around Monaco – mostly people, car and yacht spotting – then we headed further around the coast.
Of course on the way out we treated the Blue Meanie to a lap of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix circuit – ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
- Swimming pool
- Room service
Historical Traveler Reviews Le Meridien Beach Plaza Monte-Carlo
Could be worse ... but Check your bill.
So! You want to stay in Monte Carlo for a few days, but (sensibly) you don't want to blow lots of money on the Paris hotel.
The age-old question...where to stay in MC if you don't feel like paying for the Paris!
The Meridien is at the extreme right .. East .. of MC. Indeed, the only other building or structure to the East of the Meridien, before you hit the border, is the sports centre.
So, is the Meridien a good location? Well, not really...most people look for a hotel where you can leave the hotel and immediately step in to, say, a coffee shop.
In the case of the Meridien, you have to leave the hotel, and then take the (groovy) public elevators of Monaco upwards a couple of blocks, and then walk a fair distance (maybe a mile?) until you come to the (totally awesome) shops of the Moulin area.
Alternately if you leave the hotel and stay on the beach level, and walk West, you have to hike along a fair way until you come to, I suppose the Lavrotto area and ultimately the casino area.
(However, if you are a petrol head, and who isn't, all the awesome CAR DEALERS are right there along that strip. Fantastic! Incredibly, we saw TWO yes TWO Maybachs, an SLR, and any number of Bentleys, Lamborghinis and the like for sale. By the way, the "standard" ride for MC residents is a Bentley, either in black or a really eccentric color, with one or two baby seats in the back.)
Of course MC is just a small village overall, so there are no "bad" locations, but do bear in mind you cannot, from the Meridien, fall out of bed and step in to a coffee shop or the Loro Piana dealer.
At the Meridien you can choose rooms that face the sea or rooms that just face the streets and traffic. So if that's important to you be sure to specify.
You expect tiny rooms in a city like MC but, really, the Meridien rooms are reasonably large, which is good. We had a formulation with two double beds (for the two adults and our two small girls) and it was perfectly spacious. All rooms seem to have a small balcony. So, happily, there is no problem with being cramped at the Meridien. We checked out the suites, but it seemed completely pointless - why pay for a suite, it's only a Le Meridien? Suites are only slightly larger than the plain rooms and have some "exciting!" furniture, such as a chocolate-colored rug.
Public areas -- the Meridien has a big, spacious pool area and of course it's own small beach, all of which is great. Generally all of the public interior areas are spacious and generous. For some sort of business conference, it would be great, you'd be happy to be there.
The restaurant interestingly is open 24 hrs, a great idea. However it is INCREDIBLY overpriced. The food is perfectly acceptable but the prices are totally nuts. We ate there only the first night and then had nothing to do with it. The restaurant staff, for what it's worth, are truly friendly...but the prices are plain nuts so you would never eat there.
Really, we found the staff very friendly overall. But of course, the Le Meridien chain has it's ridiculous penny-pinching ways. Absurdly, you have to pay some 60 Euros to use the wireless internet in the public areas for 70 hours or some such (give me a break - "wireless internet" costs maybe $10 a month to provide). Incredibly, I was asked to pay for a cup of brewed coffee I helped myself to in the business area because there was some obscure rule that it is free until 5:15 or something.
But that's just the sort of penny-pinching idiocy you expect from Meridiens, nothing unexpected.
Of course -- CHECK YOUR BILL at any Le Meridien!
Every single time we have stayed at any Le Meridien in Europe, there has been a substantial error (coincidentally, in the hotel's favor) on the bill, which I had to have corrected with much fuss. Every single person (say, five people) I have ever spoken to about their stay at Le Meridien, has had the same experience.
In the case of our stay at the Le Meridien in MC early in 2005: when I checked out I (naturally) carefully checked the bill. There was a minibar charge of about 400 Euros. Of course, no one ever uses the minibars in a Meridien for any reason, due to the prices! But I had taken one soft drink (4 Euros) at one point during the stay.
Incredibly - and this is funny - when you bring such an error to their attention, the attitude is, oh, come on Mr. May, surely a man like yourself wouldn't even waste your time to figure out such a minor error. Give me a break! After much actual screaming we figured out that the room cleaner's handwritten report (4.00 Euros .. one soft drink) was misinterpreted as 400 Euros. OK. Anyway, you really have to check your bill carefully at any Le Meridien.
Also - and this is incredible - another example of Le Meridien penny-pinching. I had booked the hotel from a certain date for four nights. But, on the way, I realized I had the date wrong and we were arriving one day later than the original date. This was in the slowest of seasons so it was no problem to change it. Note that I was not "taking away" one day's revenue from them, just moving everything forward one day.
Incredibly ... they insisted on charging us for the extra first day!
Again, that sort of thing is the norm at Le Meridien, so you have to just expect it.
Also, infuriatingly, the indoor swimming pool was under renovation but no-one bothered to mention this when I made a booking - so be sure to check on anything important to you.
Generally service (in terms of getting your room cleaned, etc.) is about what you would expect -- "OK". My wife had to call endlessly to get more towels, etc. (Indeed, Le Meridiens remind you, perfectly, of the difference between a 3 or 4 star hotel, and, a genuine 5 star hotel. The difference is true service.) We found the door staff really genuine and friendly, which can make a nice stay.
So ... where to stay in MC if you don't want to blow the money on the Paris?
Well from "right to left" there is the Meridien: furthest from the action, nice private beach and in-and-out swimming pools, fairly spacious.
The next one along is the Mirabeau in the cool Italianish part of town.
Then next along is the Monte Carlo Grand (now confusingly supposedly called the Fairmont) which is that large chunk of MC which projects into the ocean with a sort of ugly 70s angled front...the famous F1 race tunnel is actually under or through that hotel. Really this is the most central location of the non-Paris hotels.
Then you have the casino square itself, with the Paris (and the eccentric Hermitage).
Finally the "whacky" choice around the corner in Fontville (in a sort of "suburban" area) is the Columbus. This is a vaguely Schlager/Starck hotel (remember the 90s?) in the middle of nowhere, an enormous walk from anything, but that option is there if you want it.
Monaco is still Monaco. If you are basically a left-wing, environmentally-thinking, criminals-rights sort of person, you will probably loathe Monaco! Bear this in mind before going! If you are a gin-guzzling hyper-capitalist, who thinks buskers are plain criminals, and a V8 is a nice economy engine, you will love Monaco!
There is absolutely no crime...you will see two under-ten-year-old sisters walking alone hand in hand on an errand in perfectly safety, and of course the stern white-gloved policemen are visible everywhere.
Famously, there was some sort of trend around 2000 to have babies in MC, so there are small children just everywhere -- MC is overrun with toddlers. (There are innumerable couture children's clothing shops - best selection in the world, much better than the adult boutiques!) The situation has almost reached a point where those without children may find MC slightly annoying!
Monaco is of course, and remains, quite formal and correct. Leave your jeans and trainers at home. No t-shirts. Men would probably feel more comfortable wearing a jacket and slacks all the time everywhere. Ladies, if you can't dress up here you can't dress up anywhere, so dress up fully all the time. You can wear any real jewels with utter safety.
So, the Meridien on the beach at MC. Great views, many genuinely friendly staff, reasonably spacious rooms, and generous pool and public areas. At the extreme right-hand end of town so a bit of a walk to anywhere.
Is it worth saving thousands of dollars to stay in a-hotel-that-is-cheaper-than-the-Paris, instead of just staying in the Paris and be done with it? A difficult question!
Happy 40th birthday
As my birthday treat my partner took myself and my son for a week at this luxurious hotel! My parents had arranged for flowers to be sent to our room and they arrived in a vase. When my mother requested champagne - she was informed this would be on the house as it was for a birthday! This too duly arrived, along with some strawberries.
The staff could not have been more helpful, cheerful and pleasant.
The beach and pools were lovely and clean - all in all a totally amazing birthday treat. We will return again - and again!
We thought we were splurging and opted for the suite with "magnificent sea views with floor to ceiling windows". Unfortunately we wasted alot of money on an average room. Our fantastic view was on the side of the hotel overlooking the street with a side view of the ocean, this was not what was described on their web site. Lots of construction which included having to walk through the rain to breakfast and then the tents started to leak all over the buffet!!! I won't be back....I'll head for the Grand Hotel next time.
Excellent 2 week holiday
This was the 2nd time that we have been here and it was just as great as the 1st -everything about the hotel and the location is superb. There is building work going on at the moment but with very little disturbance - the bar, restuarant and reception have moved into the Sea Club conference centre, but is still connected to the hotel. All the staff are extremely helpful and the rooms are a great size, and we only had a sea view standard room.All in all, and excellent hotel, with good amenities and we will returning again next year.
So good had to go back
I visited this hotel on a girlie holiday back in nov 2002. It was our first time in Monaco and we were extremely pleased with our holiday travel arrangements (arrived in monte carlo via helicopter from the airport) and even moreso the hotel its self. On arriving in reception we were greeted by friendly and helpful staff and the surroundings were fabulous. On reaching our room we both had a queen size bed and small seating area with mini bar and a very luxurious bathroom, (Id love to see what the superior rooms are like !!!) The restaurant was excellant with lovely staff and an extensive menu. All in all our visit was such a success we went the following year nov 2003 with another 2 friends who were as impressed as we were. A definate one not to miss. We WILL return !!
Next time the 'Grand Casino Hotel'
I have tried this facility twice. The first was a company trip and then we returned on our own. The hotel was nice, which is why I returned for more bad treatment. I thought the bad treatment was due to the company trip,but much to my chagrin it wasn't. The proximity to Paris must put these folks in a rude attitude. Beautiful beaches ,and rude ***** I guess that's it.
Try somewhere else
please try to book elsewhere in Monaco - we had a very disappointing stay recently, half of the staff were rude, the hotel is undergoing extensive modernisation and is half closed - its looks as it is overlooking a building site and is very noisy throughout weekdays - the reception, bar and restaurant are all temporary and very soulless. Try somewhere else until December 2004 when building work is expected to be completed
Very nice hotel. Rooms are very large and include all amenities. The rooms overlooking the sea are more expensive, but well worth it. The staff were all very friendly. However, I noticed that people who didn't make an effort to speak French were not as well received. Just try a little. The hotel has a huge outdoor pool, and a private beach. This can't be said for many hotels in Monaco-- it was great. I can't speak for the food at the hotel as it was too expensive for our budget. There were many restaurants within a 10 minute walk on rue de Portier. The hotel was not near the center of the city, but that was OK as the bus system is very easy to understand and is reasonably priced. Only a 5 minute bus ride to the casino area, and a 10 minute bus ride to the Prince's palace.
Try another hotel
One of the only nice things about this hotel was that it was on the water. Half the staff was rude-half were great, the bed uncomfortable, and the food very overpriced (although they did have a great menu, the food was good to eat and they had no trouble making me something I was craving not on the menu). I stayed on the top floor and was supposed to have special amenities. They would do things like bring you a water bottle - then take it away if you didn't drink it by a specific time. They did bring champagne and apertif's around 7 pm. The Hermes products are nice if you are a man- but not a very nice smell for a lady. I would have asked for a different product- but any question was met with disdain. I was upposed to have a private check-out- but that never developed and my last immpression was of a smart alec woman at the front desk. I have stayed in hotels all over the world- this was one of the worst experiences I have ever had. I wish I could have written a glowing review- I did not go into the drilling and hammering going on....(as this is temporary-yet not for me) but I could not. I have tried to point out some of the nice qualities...Monaco was a marvelous place to visit- I would find a different hotel though.
First, I should qualify my review by saying my stay was brief, as we were transiting southern France, arrived late, and checked out relatively early.
An important consideration for us selecting this hotel was that they took pets. We were traveling with two large dogs (scottish deerhounds). The dogs are experienced travellers, but in southern France (as in most of Italy), dog friendly hotels start to become scarce. The Meridien accepted our dogs readily and didn't bat an eye even when they saw how big they are (although I believe there was a slight charge for them).
The hotel accommodations were quite good, although our room was one of those that faced away from the sea. We were outside the circuit covered by the Grand Prix, so anyone wanting to attend, but not wanting access limited by the road closures, still has access. We were still within easy walking distance of the Casino and other points in Monaco.
For anyone with the money, it's a good value at an exceptional location. WIsh we had been there long enough to appreciate the pools and othe amenities.