Land Based Casinos in Monte Carlo (Monaco)
In 1993 I played semi-professional tennis in France and the principality of Monaco (Monte Carlo) was one of my stopovers. I had to pinch myself since I couldn’t believe I was finally in a principality regarded by many as the playground of the world’s rich and famous.
Monaco is a visual treat, it is flushed with so many picturesque scenes it’s simply mind boggling. Some of the scenes that caught my eye me was the tranquil Mediterranean sea with its many yachts and passenger boats, the multi-million dollar villas spread across the hillsides and not to mention Casino De Monte Carlo which is the jewel in Monaco’s crown!
In itself Monaco is very small and situated between the South of France and Italy. I did not play any tennis tournaments here since a friend of mine (Sadri Gueche) basically forced me to visit this decadent and wonderful place! Before I continue I’d just like to point out that Monaco is very expensive and for the most part really glamorous. I wouldn’t say Monaco is the gambling Mecca of the world, to be honest it is not by a long shot.
Las Vegas and even London surpasses it when it comes to gambling. The thing is with Monaco it caters predominantly to an exquisite and reserved clientèle. You’re most probably wondering how casinos originated in Monaco? The idea belongs to Princess Caroline an astute businesswoman who proposed it in the mid 1800’s. The revenues from the casinos were used to save the Grimaldis from bankruptcy.
Sadri and myself decided to pay a visit to the infamous Casino De Monte Carlo. I might add it’s a stiff upper lip affair and extremely formal. Luckily a friend of Sadri’s borrowed me his tuxedo, suffice it to say we were dressed to kill…sorry to gamble. We had to pay an entry fee of 200 French Francs per person enough to make Midas weep. Armed with just 300 French Francs I decided to try my luck at some of the slot machines. After losing 100 francs in a jiffy I suddenly got the auspicious feeling that lady luck was not my friend after all. I called it quits and left the gambling to the rich Italians who can afford to lose copious amounts of cash.
Casino De Monte Carlo
Gambling at Casino De Monte Carlo is a costly affair not only were the limits exorbitant but the staff were unfriendly as well. We decided to grab a bite at the casino’s restaurant, when I saw the prices on the menu I nearly choked on my margarita. We settled for a burger at the local Mcdonalds instead. After gobbling down our burgers and coke we decided to explore Monte Carlo’s night-life At first glance the top hotels are truly luxurious flanked by five star restaurants and beautiful marina views. The renowned Casino Square is awash with famous actors and good looking people admiring each other and the cars they drive. If you want to pamper yourself to good old French cuisine we highly recommend the Hotel De Paris.
Casino de Monte Carlo is situated at the bottom end of the Casino Square it offers beautiful and refined gaming rooms and vaulted ceilings. Table minimums usually start at 50 euros for Blackjack and other table games. The minimums for Roulette is slightly lower and the most popular game in the casino. Beware 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 offers live music, concerts and exquisite food. If you enjoy the sensual and erotic ask about the secret nightclub beneath the casino.
A gilded lift will take you to another world. Unfortunately there are no Slots or Player’s Card schemes available in Monte Carlo. In other words average gamblers can forget about a free drink and snacks. May is a superb time of the year to visit the South of France and Monaco. 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 is extremely busy and prices tend to go through the roof overnight.
There are numerous little restaurants that offer a light snack or early evening drinks. The old town is at the top of the hill it is full of expensive shops which sells expensive designer goods. Away from the Marina and the old town the principality looks rather drab showcasing the large villas of the multi-millionaire tax dodgers. If you are looking for some good casinos and you have the cash to boot we highly recommend the Sporting Club and Monte Carlo Bay Hotel. Most casinos only open their doors for business at 2 pm and some not until 4 pm. If you like playing slot games we recommend Casino Café de Paris since it appeals to contemporary gamblers. Slots and table game aficionados can try their luck at the Sun Casino since it is as trendy as it gets.
The Monte Carlo Grand Hotel offers a birds eye view of Formula One cars which race at breakneck speed through Monaco. The hotel has that 60’s look and offers a superb view of the Mediterranean. It also boasts a rooftop terrace and swimming pool. I must warn you that this hotel is very expensive! If you are a high roller Monte Carlo’s SBM operates most of Monaco’s casinos and many luxury hotels and nightclubs. Contact them in advance and make a reservation you will be treated like royalty.
One thing I’ve learnt from my visit to Monte Carlo in order to enjoy her earthly charms you must be rich. I can honestly say apart from being cash strapped I had a wonderful time. Just goes to show you, you don’t have to be rich to have a great time![addtoany]