Blue is the new colour for festive times, says the gal. Homes all round the world seem to be ditching red decorations for blue, and the trees in Monte-Carlo’s Casino Square are no exception. Sparkling as crystal by day, at night they evolve from one colour to another, spending more time blue than any other hue. Tourists gaze for ages taking photos, and yes, there are a lot of tourists in Monte-Carlo, even in winter. Italians drive here, for a good meal and superb shopping, with perhaps some time in the Casino as well, joining the dedicated Asians gamers there.
The Casino‘s favourite decorative colour is actually pink, which perhaps puts people into a good mood before they hit the tables. This casino is truly unique. The rooms are monstrously large, like 100-foot hemispherical domes, with finely tiled interiors, that have just landed. The tables and their croupiers look lost inside all this volume – Palladio, who believed that columns, for instance, should fit the proportions of a room, would not approve. But he might applaud what the Casino’s director, John Galvani, is doing, filling some of the spaces with occasional boxing matches and other events (the press conference and weigh-in of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Martin Murray will be held here before the February 21st, 2015, fight at SBM’s nearby Sporting Club).
After dinner – with an outstanding Dover sole – in the Casino’s Le Train Bleu restaurant, I went back home, to 062/063 in Hôtel Hermitage, and deliberately set my alarm to use my jacuzzi before sunrise, and then watched the sun come up over the harbour. I wonder if the tax exiles who live here, to avoid filling the coffers of the nations of their birth, ever get tired of this? I had no time to be tired as another busy day loomed. We were off to the Monaco Yacht Club, to see if this institution could, like every hotel I visited, produce outstanding food.
The answer is a resounding yes. To fit into the Yacht Club scene, men should slip into blazers and ties, with chinos. Women look best if they can slip between the struts in the chairbacks … and yet, oh that antipasti buffet. Every luxury hotel I visited here in Monte Carlo serves really memorable meals, and this place (which has the view to boot) does too. Farewell Monte-Carlo, for now.