The gilded Riviera principality is sprucing itself up—and letting its hair down (a bit). These days you’ll find casual restaurants and modernized spas, along with plenty of seaside glamour.

By Lane Nieset
October 20, 2016
Courtesy of Les Perles de Monte Carlo

Beyond the White Tablecloth

It’s not all Michelin stars—the Monegasques are going wild for simple, stylish (and surprisingly affordable) new restaurants.

Tennis champ and Monaco resident Novak Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, have opened a casual vegan spot, Eqvita, with the help of chef Lee McClay, who fueled the star at the Australian Open. Try a protein-rich buck- wheat pancake or an energizing lettuce wrap with spicy almond butter and veggies. entrées $15–$22.

Popular lunchtime haunt La Halle du Marché de la Condamine is now a gourmet food hall by night. Members of Monte Carlo’s society set swing by the evening market, dubbed Halle Gourmande, to nibble on Monegasque specialties like barbajuan, a Swiss-chard-and-spinach-stuffed fritter. 15 Place d’Armes; 377-93-30-63-94.

Although oyster nursery Les Perles de Monte-Carlo supplies some of the most high-end restaurants in town, the vibe at its harborside location in Fontvieille is decidedly laid-back. Call ahead to reserve a spot and sample the two types of oysters the nursery raises, freshly shucked and served on ice platters. oysters and wine from $28.

Where to Stay

There’s already one major fashion collaboration at Hôtel Métropole (doubles from $530), in the form of a chic Karl Lagerfeld– designed pool. In February, the hotel will launch Spa Métropole by Givenchy, replacing the current Espa facility. The Métropole also claims three of Monaco’s 22 Michelin stars (two for Joël Robuchon Monte- Carlo and one for Yoshi, Robuchon’s Japanese place). The 150-year-old landmark Hôtel de Paris is still undergoing a renovation (they’re adding a rooftop pool, two villas, duplex Jacuzzi suites, and a spa). But if you want a sneak peek before the rooms debut in May, book Suite 321, designed by Studio Harcourt with photos from Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête (through January 21; from $3,743 per night). Or channel Princess Grace at Hôtel Hermitage, where you can stay in a sea-view Jacuzzi suite and sip her namesake champagne-and-rose-petal cocktail (doubles from $470).

A Day in Place du Casino

The Casino de Monte-Carlo—a famous Bond backdrop—is just one highlight in this central square. Here's how to spend a day at Monaco's swankiest address.

9 A.M.: Start at the Casino Café de Paris with a cappuccino by the slots—entry is free and bets start at 2 euros. Then head to Pavillons Monte-Carlo, five pebble-shaped pop-up boutiques from Chanel, Chopard, and others.

12 P.M.: Have lunch at the newly renovated Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo seaside spa. L’Hirondelle restaurant serves great seafood—sit on the terrace for views of the Prince’s Palace.

3 P.M.: Stick around for a 90-minute La Prairie treatment followed by a dip in the heated seawater pool overlooking the Mediterranean. A day pass here costs $170, but it's complimentary for Hôtel de Paris and Hôtel Hermitage guests.

7 P.M.: Have dinner at Alain Ducasse’s legendary gilded restaurant, Le Louis XV, which has reopened at Hôtel de Paris. Then try your luck at Casino de Monte-Carlo next door—evening dresses and jackets recommended.