Meeting and event planning in Monaco is all about glamour…glitz…Monte Carlo. James Bond. Grace Kelly. On the Mediterranean beside a southeast corner of France, Monaco conjures up images of jet-set lifestyles, fabulously sleek yachts and haute couture. It's densely populated with the most millionaires (and billionaires) per capita in the world. Correctly known as the Principality of Monaco, this small speck—three-quarters of a square mile—is the second smallest sovereign nation on earth; however, it keeps getting fractionally larger, with land reclaimed from the sea, to accommodate expanding Monaco event venues.
Heavy-hitters arrive in the Principality via the Monaco Heliport (MCM), but everyone can come in (there are no border formalities) from Nice Cote d'Azur Airport (NCE), which is the only airport the heliport services. Approximately 20 miles to the southeast of Monaco, the airport in Nice has only seasonal direct service from New York City, on Delta, and most North Americans will arrive via Paris. Almost as quick, France's exceedingly fast TGV trains travel direct to Monaco from Paris.
The Principality's convention center is the stunning Grimaldi Forum Monaco. It has 8,157 square meters of space, which includes three exhibition halls, three theaters and 11 meeting rooms.
Despite the limited space here, there are 14 hotel venues in Monaco. Probably the most famous is the sumptuous, 182-room Hotel de Paris, which opened in 1891. It is a few feet from the Place du Casino, has an Alain Ducasse restaurant and contains 11 meeting rooms. Also on offer are the 602-room Fairmont Monte Carlo, which has 18 meeting rooms; the 334-room Monte Carlo Bay & Hotel Resort, and the 280-room Hermitage, which has 13 meeting spaces (including five luxurious suites with terraces). Available too is the 281-room Novotel Monte Carlo, which has meeting space for up to 200 persons.
Special event venues in Monaco for groups to gather and feel fabulous include the Sea Club Conference Center, next door to its sibling, the 403-room Le Meridien Beach Plaza, which has 14 meeting rooms and reception space for up to 2,000 persons; the world-famous Le Sporting Monte-Carlo, which has space for 1,500 persons and an enviable waterside vantage in its Salle des Palmiers and Salle des Etoiles rooms. Salle du Canton, in the Principality's Fontvieille district, has a 17,000-square-foot theater that can be used for receptions of up to 1,500 persons. Sporting d'Hiver has Art Deco style and five gorgeous function spaces. Groups can also gather in the atrium of the Monte-Carlo Casino, or the beautiful and scenic Casino Terrace. Perhaps the coolest, toniest spot in all the Principality is the Wine Cellar at the Hotel de Paris, which hosts up to 50 persons amid some of the world's greatest vintages.
Groups will eat well here, if not cheaply. Monaco's phenomenal restaurants include the Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo, within the stunning 141-room Hotel Metropole; that aforementioned, three Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Hotel de Paris, the Louis XV, and Mandarine at the 50-room Hotel Port Palace. Two good, more down-to-earth non-hotel choices are the Castelroc, which has group space and a wonderful view from a terrace, and the very trendy Cafe Llorca, connected to the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, which has space for 1,200 persons. The outdoorsy Cafe de Paris is a natural meeting place, but it can also accommodate groups of up to 100.