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Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, Monte Carlo 

40 Avenue Princesse Grace
Monte Carlo
Monaco 98000
Tel: 377 98 06 25 25
view web site ›'s insider take:

Designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, who did Paris's George V conversion for Four Seasons, it's a $260 million Art Deco-style extravaganza of 334 rooms set on 10 acres, all with balconies—75 percent of which have that all-important Med view. The signature treatment at Le Spa Cinq Mondes is the Royal Lulur Ritual, a treatment package inspired by the wedding day customs of the princes and princesses of 16th-century Indonesia. It includes a Turkish bath, papaya scrub, Lulur exfoliation, and Balinese massage. There's also a 320-foot lagoon pool with sandy bottom, an indoor pool and a kiddie pool, four restaurants, several bars and, of course, a casino. If that's not enough gambling for you, the Sporting Monte-Carlo, with Alain Ducasse's Bar & Boeuf nightclub/restaurant, is next door.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Everything at this 334-room hotel is larger than life, from the cybernetic lobby fountain to the huge interconnected indoor-outdoor pool (with a Cinq Mondes spa next door), and from the man-made lagoon to the garden that's a miniature riff on the one at the Villa Ephrussi, in nearby St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Surprisingly, the room decor is low-key, with pale oak furniture and lots of beige. Every room has a covered balcony, and in the closet you'll find an iron—proof that even Bentley owners sometimes prefer to fend for themselves. Martinican chef Marcel Ravin does a brilliant take on island cooking at the Blue Bay Restaurant. —2006 Hot List

When to go: May, June, September, and October.

Which room to book: A high-floor sea-view double, such as No. 821, 823, or 825 (doubles, $487–$876).

Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Gym, Pool, Spa

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