A Luxury Insider’s Guide to MYS 2018

By Paul Joseph

Officially the second smallest country on earth it may be, but when it comes to luxury, Monaco is larger than life.

Never is the tiny principality on the Côte d'Azur more vibrant than during the annual Monaco Yacht Show, when it becomes a veritable "city inside a city" for four days each September. 

This year's event will be no different, and will include the unveiling of Starboard, the show’s new private lounge-exhibition, restaurant and bar, located in the sumptuous environment of the Upper Deck Lounge. 

Here the VIP Sapphire Experience will provide guests with an exclusive concierge service for restaurant and courtesy car bookings, as well as indulgences such as back massage, manicure and make-up, while facilitating private visits to superyachts participating at the show. The night before the show begins, these guests will also be hosted at the opening gala party and 5th annual MYS Superyacht Awards Ceremonyy, with many more invites to events held by luxury brands throughout the show.

Also taking pride of place in the Upper Deck Lounge will be an array of luxury goods and accessories. Now in its seventh year of collaboration with the MYS, Sabrina Monte-Carlo and the Italian furniture designer Paola Lenti will furnish the lounge with their contemporary outdoor furniture and accessories for superyachts.

Tenders & Toys, the luxury tender exhibition will also be returning to Quai Antoine Ier, the show’s Superyacht Lifestyle zone, following a hugely successful debut at last year’s Monaco Yacht Show, while the Car Deck exhibition featuring a total of 10 special cars rebuilt from classic models, also promises to captivate visitors once again.

Meanwhile, Ulysse Nardin, Official Sponsor of the Monaco Yacht Show for the 10th consecutive year, will display its annual Monaco limited edition watch series as well as launch its world tour exhibition of underwater art photographs by the free diver Fred Buyle.

Superyachts.com have been a regular presence at the event for many years now and have become well acquainted with things to see and do both inside and outside the show. With less than two months until the 28th edition of MYS, we’ve drawn on all of our experience to come up with a comprehensive guide on how a luxury connoisseur can best spend their time.

Dress for the docks

Anyone who’s been to the Monaco Yacht Show will attest to the fact that there’s a certain ‘look’ that’s seen on the docks. And if you’re keen to fit in, then you can find all the typical attire you’ll need in the fashion boutiques dotted throughout Monaco.

In the heart of the Monte Carlo district you’ll discover five shopping "pavilions". Said to have been inspired by beach pebbles, they are nestled amid the palms and other exotic horticulture of the Boulingrin Gardens, just up from the Casino. Head that way for notable luxury names such as Piaget, Sonia Rykiel, YSL and all the other LVMH brands, among many others.

Meanwhile, slightly more modest budgets might move across the gardens to the Galerie Metropole, right by the Metropole hotel. Here you’ll find a nest of some 80 shops spread across four floors, with every kind of item and accessory you could wish for.

Lounge around

All of that yacht viewing can be hard work, and after traipsing the docks for several hours in Monaco’s late September sun, it’s more than likely you’ll need some rest and relaxation. Luckily, Monaco has plenty of chill-out zones in the form of funky lounge bars where you can kick back and recuperate during the early evening before hitting the town.

For a cosy lounge atmosphere and magnificent views of the Mediterranean sea, Port Hercules and the Rock of Monaco, the outdoor veranda at Crystal Terrace is hard to beat. The perfect place for a pre-dinner drink, it offers a wide choice of fine wines and vintage champagnes by the glass, along with a selection of cigars.

With its distinctive design, terrace by the sea, billiards room and live DJ sets, the Blue Gin is a must-visit venue while you’re in Monaco. The spacious lounge is the perfect place to relax while you peruse the long and exotic drinks menu. Or for something a little old school, Le Bar Américain boasts an elegant ambiance of shiny leather, soft lighting and windows onto the sea, together with a menu featuring vintage wines and spirits.

Dine in style

Whether it’s charming bistros, chic dining or Michelin star gastronomic odysseys, Monaco has it all. Just be sure to book in advance because during the Monaco Yacht Show the principality’s best restaurants are in seriously high demand.

The MYS official lounge-bar restaurant invites visitors to indulge in a uniquely exciting menu each day at the Upper Deck Lounge. The ephemeral 70-seat restaurant offers culinary dishes, made with authentic and remarkable products, specially created by the Executive Chef Philippe Joannès, Best Craftsman of France (MOF), from Private Dining by Fairmont Monte Carlo.

Given the sad death of iconic chef Joël Robuchon, which was announced at the time of writing, it would seem fitting to pay tribute to the great man by visiting his eponymous Monaco restaurant, housed within the prestigious Metropole hotel. Expect simple but stunning dishes and be sure to sample his world famous take on the humble mashed potato.

Nestled on the top floor of the L’Hôtel de Paris, Le Grill features a dramatic sliding roof that reveals not only the star-lit sky of the Riviera but also panoramic views across Monaco. But it’s the food that draws most people here, with the restaurant owning a coveted Michelin Star. As well as timeless unchanging classics, there are also dishes made using whatever was available at local markets that day.

After-party action

Monaco’s yacht parties are legendary, but almost as folkloric are the principality’s after-parties, where dedicated hedonists keep going into the early hours. If you’re of this persuasion, there are several renowned Monaco after- parties you should head for.

One of the most popular is held at the La Reserve De La Mala beach club, which hosts a nightly after party as well as a closing party at the end of MYS each year. With its own private beach, cocktail bar and restaurant, this is a great place to kick back and reminiscence about your day perusing yachts in a buzzing setting.

Monaco Life Club is another lavish venue that’s become a popular haunt with MYS visitors seeking drinks and decadence. Anchored in the harbour, this private floating beach bar and terrace on Monaco Bay is both exclusive and unique. Or for a classic Monaco after-party experience, head to the famous Buddah Bar, which throngs with party-goers thanks to its chic, elegant and cosy atmosphere.

Sumptuous sleeping

When it comes to luxury hotels, Monaco is truly blessed. Inevitably many get booked up months before the Monaco Yacht Show, but if you’re still looking for somewhere to stay during your visit to the principality then the following hotels come with unparalleled reputations for opulence, style and glamour.

First up, the aforementioned Metropole continues to be a perennial favourite with luxury travellers, owing to its timeless elegance fused with contemporary style. Then there’s the Fairmont, boasting an iconic location set back from the Monaco Grand Prix hairpin bend, but renowned too for offering the pinnacle of modern luxury including the famous Nobu restaurant.

To step back in time, Hôtel de Paris is steeped in Monaco history with its classic design and alumni of guests from heads of state to Hollywood legends. Finally, you won’t find anywhere more impressive to stay in Monaco than the Hermitage, with its stunning Belle-Époque décor and intimate and relaxed ambiance.

The 2018 edition of the Monaco Yacht Show will take place from 26 – 29 September.

By Paul Joseph