FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
United Airlines

Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo

by Irvina Lew

Jan 13, 2020

Monte Carlo SBM


While considering dreamy destinations for a romantic rendezvous, Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo immediately came to mind. I convinced my late husband, Bob, to take me there after a solo trip to Monaco (via helicopter from Nice-Cote d’Azur) on my first trip to the South of France. Our stays together left such an indelibly delicious memory that I’ve returned multiple times, including in 2018 and 2019. It’s a venue I recommend at any time, especially Valentine’s Day.


Lobby. Photo: Monte Carlo SBM


Imagine a majestic, multicolored, glass-paneled dome where sunlight bathes the Belle Époque lobby and brightens a sultry, lipstick red, two-sided couch. Consider light and airy bedrooms, like the spacious, high-ceilinged room one we accommodated. The suite-sized space boasted a striped foyer, coffered molding, a garden mural behind the king-sized bed and French doors opening to a balcony and port views. I recall a huge television, an event-worthy chandelier, decorative closet doors and a collection of ornately framed mirrors above an Empire-style day bed.

Princely Diamond Suite. Photo: Monte Carlo SBM


In winter, few things are as sensual as a hotel spa, and Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo is one of the world’s most extraordinary. Its oversized, oval-shaped, heated, indoor saltwater spa pool is the centerpiece of a four-story, standalone, 75,000-square-foot complex. Hotel guests can reach it wearing bathrobes via underground corridors from both Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo and Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, and from the street. Among the spa’s attractions is the remarkable panorama from the terrace and through multiple grand and porthole-style windows, showcasing the ship-shaped Yacht Club de Monaco, the mega-yachts docked portside and the ultra-blue Mediterranean.


Whether or not you choose to participate in an à la carte spa service or package, the spa is a swimming, sunning (yes, even in winter) and dining destination.

Restaurant Vistamar Terrasse. Photo: Monte Carlo SBM


Within the interior reception area, a staff of English-speaking experts describe and schedule various La Prairie beauty services, Phytomer body treatment packages and extended-stay wellness protocols that maximize the benefits of a team of doctors, nutritionists, therapists and trainers. My most recent thalassotherapy treatment started with a 20-minute soak in a multi-jetted hydrotherapy tub, followed by a grapeseed and sesame seed oil rub and scrub exfoliation called gommage, with sel de guerande, sea salt from Brittany.


The extensive programs offer fitness activities and thalassotherapy to anti-aging and slimming, complete with haute cuisine minceur, or gastronomic spa cuisine menus at l’Hirondelle: Le Menu Wellness (with calorie counts), Le Menu Veggie (vegetarian options) and Le Menu du Marché (fresh from the market), plus à la carte selections. Last year, I sampled scrambled eggs, topped with truffles; a circle of tabbouleh decorated with citrus segments and greens ;and grilled fish which arrived under a silver dome topped with teeny cherry tomatoes, parsley and red onions. Eating there reminded me of the formality of our first meal on its terrace; six people were chatting at an adjoining table — three bath robe-wrapped men and three bikini-clad women — while three servers lifted the silver-dome cloches atop their entrées, in choreographed unison. Wow!


Photo: Monte Carlo SBM

For dining, multiple options at the Société des Bains de Mer are fascinating to fabulous. One of the best meals of my life took place at Louis XV, Alain Ducasse’s Michelin three-star within the adjacent Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo. The caviar- and truffle-enhanced meal displayed the purity of le style Ducasse and illustrated amazing attention to detail. A server placed a hand-stitched, needlepoint-topped foot stool next to my seat for my purse and used a silver scissor to clip fresh herbs growing in pots within a long, plant-laden cart.


Whenever I’m in Monaco, I opt to people watch at Café de Paris on Casino Square, where I always order salade Niçoise. Last April, we enjoyed Asian fare at Buddah Bar. This past August, we dined late at OMER, Alain Ducasse’s newest Mediterranean-menu restaurant on the terrace of Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo, and enjoyed a selection of light, tapas-style dishes and desserts at another new restaurant, Mada One.


The hotel is within Monte Carlo, the magical center of the fairytale principality of Monaco, famous for its gorgeous casino, exclusive shops, exotic gardens, Oceanographic Museum and Royal Palace and a multitude of annual events, from the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament to the Grand Prix.


Monaco is reached via train, taxi or helicopter from Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport. Cars are a nuisance; unless you are just driving there for a day or dinner, use taxis, buses and a Société des Bains de Mer hotel shuttle.


Insta Feed
North America
Jul 5, 2022

Summer Offerings in Huntington Beach, California

Plan your next family travel vacation in Huntington Beach, California. Affectionately known as Surf City USA, Huntington Beach offers visitors fun activities for the summer.

Take the perfect family vacation with Celebrity Cruises


Travel Tips
Jul 5, 2022

Must-Visit Aquariums this Summer

Nothing excites little kids more than seeing one of their favorite animals up close. Allow your family travel to take your group on an adventure this summer to some of the best aquariums in the United States.

Jul 5, 2022

Ecotourism for Families in Southern Europe

As ecotourism and responsible travel become more popular, destinations look for ways to promote their rural and natural areas and preserve local ways of life. Agritourism — staying in farms or rural houses — is perfect for family travel, offering a chance for children to meet and interact with local people. It is not only a highly sustainable form of tourism, but also a more relaxing vacation compared to trips trudging through cities with children in tow.

Take the Family Vacation of a Lifetime to Alaska with Celebrity Cruises

Embark on a family journey through The Last Frontier with Celebrity Cruises® and experience an unforgettable luxury vacation in the untouched natural beauty of Alaska. The breathtaking landscape of this pristine wilderness sets the stage for every memorable moment from up-close, awe-inspiring views of glaciers to observing native wildlife, including whales, bears, bald eagles, and moose. This corner of the world offers not only spectacular scenery, but also opportunities to learn about the history and culture of Alaska — from the native people who’ve lived here for centuries to the adventurers seeking their fortunes during the gold rush. No matter which sailing you choose, you’ll journey through the ever-popular Inside Passage — one of the most popular experiences on any Alaska vacation — and visit Hubbard Glacier or Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier.

Jul 4, 2022

Aurora Expeditions Partners with UpSchool on Arctic Education Course

Australian adventure travel company Aurora Expeditions announced its partnership with Australian-based education platform UpSchool on an Arctic education program, perfect for family travelers. The 10-week course explores the importance of the Arctic region. The program encourages children to create a plan for how their community can contribute to positive environmental change.