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April 9, 2013

Destination Overview: Monaco and Monte-Carlo




 

As spring (slowly) begins to return to the northern hemisphere, seaside locations for meetings and conferences begin to seem much more attractive. We reached out to Cindy Hoddeson, Director of Meeting and Incentive Sales at the Monaco Government Tourist Office, to find out more about hosting events in the small principality on the chicest spot on the French Riviera.

Business travel, Hoddeson told International Meetings Review, makes up 30 percent of room nights in the principality. “It could be incentive travel or board meetings,” she said, adding that there is not much in terms of association business. “We’re a corporate destination. Of our room nights, the biggest market is French, with meetings of different types followed by the British and US markets with a mix of meetings and incentive travel. Our French business travel is pure meetings,” she added. “For the vertical sectors, we see business from insurance companies, financial companies and technology companies, some TV/radio stations—it’s somewhat an incentive for advertisers. We see some business from direct-selling companies like Avon or Mary Kay. Reward travel is part of their compensation packages.”

The small principality, which covers less than a full square mile, has 2,500 rooms in its hotels, most of which are either four- or five-star. Due to the laws of Monaco, however, hotels with more than 250 rooms cannot have a fifth star, so some larger luxury properties like the Fairmont Monte Carlo (with 602 rooms and suites) are officially graded at four stars. “The exception is the Hermitage,” Hoddeson noted. “They fought for that fifth star and they got it…We have some three-star properties that would have four stars in other countries,” she added. Devotees of certain brands (like Fairmont) may be aware of the quality of a certain hotel despite its star ranking, but some guests may need to be informed of the principality’s hospitality laws. “We have a range of rooms in terms of caliber,” Hoddeson continued. “There’s modern deluxe, traditional European, and more boutique style. We have something to offer people in all areas, whether they’re looking for intimacy or extensive meeting space.”

Where to Hold an Event

Hoddeson recommends three properties for meetings and events: The Fairmont Monte Carlo is “large by European standards,” she said. It has 18 meeting rooms and up to 15,000 square feet for exhibit space. It can also hold banquets for 920 people or 900 theater-style. For small events like board-of-directors meetings, consider booking a private room like the Grand Prix Suite, which covers 915 square feet and has three balconies, including two oceanfront and one that’s just above the famous Grand Prix Hairpin. To book a meeting or event, contact Marc Violi ([email protected]; +377-93-15-10-52). 

Le Méridien Beach Plaza has 12 meeting rooms (most of which have natural light) that can accommodate up to 520 people theater-style, and can hold banquets for up to 360 people. “They have their own meeting facility, the Sea Club, with direct access to the hotel,” Hoddeson added. Contact Carole Pichot ([email protected]; +377-93-15-78-17) to book a meeting or event at the hotel. 

The Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel has 10 meetings and function rooms that can accommodate up to 340 people seated theater-style. Banuqets can be arranged for up to 260 people. Contact Director of Group Sales Cathleen Kelley ([email protected]) with Monte-Carlo SBM New York.

Another property that is good for a pre- or post-conference vacation (or for a meeting of up to 100 people) is the Hotel Métropole, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Consider booking the Carré d’Or Suite, which has a huge outdoor terrace overlooking the Mediterranean and Monte-Carlo’s Casino Square. Note: The suite is on the seventh floor with an array of other suites that interconnect. Suites with sea views here are Prestige Suites Nos.704, 705 and 706; they also have views of Casino Square. Contact Caroline Zambrano, group and banqueting manager ([email protected]; +377-93-15-1340), for any event needs.

Good to know: For the 13th consecutive year, Ernst and Young will hold their Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monaco.  Over 1,000 past winners, nominees and judges will convene in the principality this June. And, Hoddeson added, all of Monaco’s hotels have meeting and incentive packages guaranteed in US dollars.

 


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