For sportsmen and gambling enthusiasts around the world, there is no place on earth that is more steeped in the romantic tradition of indulgence than Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco. Located on an escarpment at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera, Monte Carlo is one of the most sensually picturesque locales on earth, and with its unique combination of natural beauty and old European opulence. Because the local society and economy makes an unapologetic commitment to catering to a redolent and hedonistic lifestyle, the city’s very name has become synonymous with wanton extravagance and icy-cool luxury.
Monaco, the principality, because of its tiny size, is the second smallest and most densely populated nation in the world. Lacking the land resources, Monaco has no commercial agricultural industry. The only natural resource the country contains is a small fishing industry. Yet, despite the seeming disadvantages, Monaco has the highest per capita income in the world, along with the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita, and at 0%, the lowest unemployment rate. Monaco also has the distinction of having the world’s most expensive real estate, valued in 2012 at over $58,000 per square meter.
Because of an incredibly favorable tax system, many wealthy people from around the world maintain a residence in Monaco. The principality is known to be a tax haven, and in fact has no income tax and low corporate business taxes.
Because of, a mild climate, tourist season is year-round in Monte Carlo. The principality is bordered on three sides by France and faces the Mediterranean on the other side. With the Maritime Alps fully in view, upon arrival visitors can easily tell for themselves why this is a favorite playground for the super-rich. Local architecture is heavily influenced by old world French and Mediterranean styles.
For accommodations, there are a number of fine hotels, with the most iconic being the Hotel de Paris, a grand palace hotel originally built in 1864. This five star hotel has the distinction of having the world’s largest wine cellar and four world-class dining venues.
Another five-star hotel is the Hotel Metropole, a Mediterranean-style grand hotel originally built in 1887. The Metropole was voted a top 30 hotel in 2012, and features such unique amenities as sun decks, solariums, and an outdoor heated seawater pool.
One more luxury hotel worth considering is the Hermitage, originally built in 1900. Built in the Belle Epoque era, this five-star offering provides an incredible view of both the Mediterranean harbor and the Prince’s Palace.
Of course the main attraction of the entire principality is the gambling, and one of the most legendary and iconic casinos in the world is the Monte Carlo Casino, originally constructed in 1858. In 1878, the building was redesigned to match the vision of Charles Garnier, the famous architect who designed the Paris Opera House. Under his auspices, a concert hall and opera house were added, and the redesigns gave the casino it’ now world-famous and distinctive Beaux Arts appearance.
The casinos are world-renowned for having the most complete selection of European table games of chance. The wide selection includes the trio of American, European and English roulette, Trente et Quarante, Banque à Deux Tableaux, Punto Blanco, Craps, and all forms of Blackjack and Poker. Played exclusively in the Private Salons by the wealthiest and most experienced international players, Chemin de Fer is a variation of Baccara that has its history as a once-popular pastime enjoyed by European royalty.
The casinos also offer Europe’s largest selection of slot machines, with over a thousand machines of every type available for play. Compared to other casino venues in the world, the machines at Monte Carlo have the highest payout and also do not deduct percentage for the establishment.
Although the Casino of Monte Carlo is the most famous and most prestigious, it is but one part of an entire array of gaming establishments, each casino with its own unique decor, charm, and offerings. The Casino Café de Paris is regarded as one of the most magnificent slot machine rooms in the world. The Sun Casino is the most American, offering new and trendy table games, such as No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em. The Monte Carlo Bay Casino is ultramodern and designed for the ultimate in comfort and relaxation.
Whether you want to get away to relax in historical elegance, refresh your soul on a French Riviera beach in front of the beautiful Mediterranean, enjoy sumptuous world-class cuisine, dance the night away at some of the world’s hottest nightclubs, or try your hand at luck and test your skills against some of the most dedicated gamblers from around the globe, Monte Carlo truly does offer it all.