The principality of Monaco is located between the South of France and Italy. It’s tiny, extremely expensive, picturesque and for the most part very glamorous. Despite being world-renowned as a gambling “Mecca”, beware-all is not what it seems…
Monte Carlo is not such a wonderful place to gamble, the limits are too high, the staff generally impolite, and the action slow and pretty staid. However, this is not to say it’s not worth visiting. It certainly is but you must be rich to enjoy its charms. The top hotels are truly luxurious and offer wonderful accommodation, five star restaurants, and if you pick carefully beautiful sea and marina views. The renowned Casino Square is awash with famous Hollywood stars and good looking people admiring each other’s Ferraris and Lamborghini’s. If you want to pamper yourself to good old French cuisine we highly recommend the Hotel De Paris.
Just off the main square you’ll find numerous restaurants and bars that offer a light snack or early evening drinks. At the top of the hill is the old town, full of expensive shops selling tawdry nick-nacks and expensive designer goods. Away from the Marina and the old town the principality can look quite jaded and grey showcasing the large villas of the multi-millionaire tax dodgers. Now to the casino itself, there are few Slot machines and those that are there are notoriously tight. The rules for Blackjack and other casino games are usually restrictive, and if you hit the busy summer weekends you’re unlikely to get near a table without a fight. Don’t be surprised if you find Italian gamblers, at best of times they are pretty loud gamblers and enjoy watching them especially if they time time to make a wrong decision at playing Blackjack.
Here’s our selection of casinos you could visit. To reach the Sporting Club and Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, you may prefer a taxi. Many casinos only open at 2 p.m, and some not until 4 p.m, and all expect at the very least, smart casual attire.
- The Casino de Monte-Carlo located at the bottom end of the Casino Square is worth a visit just to experience the stunningly beautiful and refined gaming rooms, the hushed tones and the vaulted ceilings. Table minimums usually start at 50 euros for Blackjack and other Table Games, and slightly lower for Roulette, which is a mainstay. Beware that not only will you have to pay to get in (and show identification), but in the summer months much of the action moves to the Sporting Club, which also offers live music and concerts, fine dining, and obviously sports. If you enjoy the sensual and erotic, ask about the secret nightclub beneath the casino. A gilded lift will take you to another world.
- Casino Café de Paris is a modern and more relaxed casino, with the best selection of Slots in Monaco.
- Sun Casino calls itself trendy and expects guests to dress as much. The casino offers some Slots and Table Games.
- Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Casino boasts that it has one of Europe’s only casinos using cards and ticket-paying Slots. It claims to 145 Slots, and is open from 2 p.m until to 2a.m each day.
- Monte Carlo Grand Hotel was formerly Loewes Hotel-the tunnel beneath which sees the Formula One cars roar through on Monaco Grand Prix day. It is modern built in the 60’s style, but the small guest rooms enjoy lovely Mediterranean views, it also has a rooftop terrace and pool. Expect high prices for accommodation and meals even if it’s just light snacks and drinks.
- Monte-Carlo SBM operates most of Monaco’s casino’s and many luxury hotels, as well as nightclubs and the Monte-Carlo Golf Club and the Monte-Carlo Country Club. High-rollers should contact the casino in advance; the casino treats them like royalty.
Poor Player Benefits
Unfortunately there are no Slots or Player’s Card schemes in operation in Monte Carlo, so your average bettors will not gain any benefits, and even getting a free drink may be hard to find.
Treat Yourself to a Helicopter Transfer
The closest airport to Monaco is Nice. The ideal way to arrive in (and depart from) Monte Carlo is by helicopter, and if you book in advance, you can stroll from your plane to the heliport and be whisked over the mountains and into Monte Carlo, enjoying the dazzling view as you go. It’s bit of an extravagance, but well worth it.
Avoid Grand Prix Month
May is a superb time of the year to visit the South of France and Monaco. However, if you are not a millionaire we advise you not to not to visit Monaco whilst the Grand Prix is taking place (mid-May), it’s extremely busy and prices tend to rise astronomically over night.