I am sitting in a golden atrium of light and glass. The saxophone is weeping soulfully; the rising notes straining against the humid night air. Frank’s on the mic, doing the ‘Strangers in the Night’ routine. A pair of lonely emerald eyes cut through the champagne gloom. Maybe they’re looking for someone or just staring unseeingly through me. I’ll never know. The song changes and the magic is broken.
I’m staying in the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.
Something about this place makes me feel like a fly trapped in the resin of 50s sophistication. An era of Kelly, diamonds at breakfast and gentle manners.
Inevitably, the idyll is occasionally punctuated by visions of hapless men being wrestled from the clutches of bronzed Amazonian limbs by irate wives; but the spectacle is all part of the charm.
Before I stayed here, I was under the impression that the Hotel de Paris was traditional, stuffy and unwelcoming. In short, I thought the place was the ultimate retirement home, zimmer-frames and bed pans at dawn. How wrong I was. The facilities are by far the best in Monte Carlo, even if the breakfast(hotel breakfasts are my favourite part of travelling)is utterly unremarkable.
However, everything else has left me ooing and ahhing. Every blink presents you with a new, mesmerising vignette of beauty. And so the ranking has shifted and Monte Carlo Bay has been deposed to second place- we have ourselves a new favourite: even if there is more gold than the Sistine Chapel.