Victoria Aitken's Top Ten tips for enjoying Monte Carlo in style.
1. Take the helicopter to Monaco
from Nice airport - it's cheaper than a taxi (yes it's true!). In Nice airport the helicopter
reception is just out side arrivals, you can't miss it, looking for the posters in red and white (the colours of Monaco's
Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock
2. After a day at the beach grab some ice cream at Haagen Dazs (next to the casino) and stroll around - the sexiest and flashiest cars in Monaco are usually parked outside. Look out for the yellow Lamborghini, it's usually always there. The doors slide up, like in the film 'Back to the Future'.
3. If you're staying in Hermitage Hotel there's the Hermes salon. Pamper yourself like a 'Holiday Goddess' with amazing treatments - being next to the sea it offers unusual sea treatments such as seaweed wraps, seaweed bath, salt scrubs and so on - they are meant to be the best in the world.
4. There's a small beach between the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel
and the beach club, which is perfect for a summer dip (and no charge for sun-lounges either!). Plus the beach is a stone beach, so no sand will get in your bikini, shoes or books.
Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel
5. Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel
offers the most amazing yoga classes. Every day there's a different style of yoga class to choose from, from Kundalini to Ashtanga. Just choose which one fits your mood. Classes run throughout the day.
6. The Nightlife in Monaco seems to work in sections of Monaco. The cheap side - where there's the public swimming pool and the supermarket there's Stars n'bars, a regular bar serving beers to guys in scruffy jeans and t-shirts. In the middle there's the great hotels and casino's with the flashiest cars lined up outside. Sass café, the Zebra bar - with you've guessed it Zebra prints on sofas. Finally the on the other end of Monaco you can go to Jimmy'z for clubbing. The nightclub is right next to the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, and don't arrive too late (if you want to avoid the big line to get in).
7. Walk along the port at night and look at the beautiful yachts
- it's so romantic. Look out for the small boats too, there are some beautiful J-craft boats at the end.
8. See what talks are on offer at the Yacht Club de Monaco, too, the yacht club is on the pier next to all the yachts. I once heard Alvaro Maricharlar talking about his experience jet skiing around the world there. Afterwards, order a beer at Stars N' Bars next door.
9. In case you arrive with nothing to wear fret not, Monaco's streets are full of very expensive designer but luckily to make up for the unaffordable shopping, shopping for mere mortals can be done right across the other side of Monaco on the Italian side there's a market with real bargains. Window-shopping in Monaco can be a fun experience even if you can't afford anything... There are hundreds of boutiques lining the streets. And they are full of unique items you can't find anywhere else.
10. For supermarket shopping go to France in the hills above or to Italy - a 10-minute drive across the boarder - it's half the price of Monaco. On the Italian side, it's famous for its half price designer handbags and shoes.
The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide will be published by HarperCollins in November 2011.
Words by Victoria Aitken