With its multitude of fun activities and experiences for both young and old, the world’s second smallest country is an ideal holiday destination for family travel
Well-known as the playground of the rich and famous, and teeming with opulent old-world glamour, Monaco may at first glance be an unlikely destination for child-friendly vacations.
On the contrary, hospitality players in the city-state present a myriad of family-centric activities and experiences, especially suited to travellers holidaying with their young ones. Older members of the family will not be left out too.
Ursula Fabre-Pilat, digital demand manager, Columbus Monte-Carlo, told TTG Asia that families are at the heart of the hotel’s offerings in 2022.
Kid-friendly options include a new family suite, Banwood bikes and tricycles for children to explore the Princess Grace Rose Garden, as well as a kids club and movie room in summer. An indoor petanque terrain and a selection of board games and books are also available at the reception.
Play-based activities for young guests to learn about sustainability involve workshops on selective sorting, recycling and waste reduction, as well as ocean protection.
Fabre-Pilat opined: “We are convinced that happy children make happy parents, so we focus on the kids’ experience when putting together a new family experience.”
Meanwhile, Hotel Hermitage offers children access to the indoor heated pool at Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo and to Monte-Carlo Beach where its Marmorata Kids Club pampers kids with premium bath care products. Parents with infants can also request complimentary baby equipment, such as a baby chair, bottle warmer and potty.
Post-lockdown, Laurence Shukor, director of press & public relations, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, also observed that families are increasingly travelling by private jet, and making more requests to privatise entire floors for themselves.
Expect no less than the red-carpet treatment at the luxury hotel’s family suite, with separate spaces for children and parents to luxuriate. Little ones get to sleep blissfully in handcrafted cradles and beds, as well as enjoy personalised bathroom amenities.
Patrick Mesiano, pastry chef at the hotel, will also open the doors of the Odyssey kitchen to young guests for them to try their hand at whipping up delicacies, and discover the pleasure of pastry-making and zero-waste cooking.
One of the hotel’s bestsellers is the Night at the Museum activity at The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco – where visitors get to explore the premises after hours, Shukor shared.
No surprise that families and the younger generation are its priority targets, according to Alexandra Bardy, media manager at The Oceanographic Museum.
Some of the museum’s activities are now available in private sessions – to accommodate the explosion in requests for smaller group visits, as more travellers are increasingly looking for exclusive and meaningful experiences.
Bardy told TTG Asia: “When we design our activities, we also make sure that each one offers a real moment of family exchange and sharing. To do this, we must create astonishment, arouse curiosity and provide knowledge.”
For example, daydreamers and animal lovers will excite at the museum’s latest exhibition, Polar Mission, where they can explore polar ice caps by journeying deep into the Arctic thanks to the latest 360-degree immersive technology; almost as though walking in the footsteps of Arctic explorers.
Along the way, visitors will have opportunities to learn more about the animal kingdom that stretches from the North to the South Pole, global warming and biodiversity.
The museum welcomes an average of 182,000 families yearly and more than 10,000 young visitors during school or day-care visits.
Car enthusiasts or not, both young and old visitors will be delighted at the spectacular sight of a rare car exhibition within the Terrasses de Fontvieille too.
Showcasing an illustrious selection within a spacious 5,000m2 space, the private collection of Prince Albert II and Prince Rainier features vintage automobiles from the turn of the century, 1950s to 1960s classics including Cadillacs, and cars from the Millenia age such as F1 Ferraris from the Grand Prix. Visitors can also marvel at the one-of-a-kind wonders designed by Rolls Royce, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, Maserati, and many more.
For the curious and performers-at-heart, they can channel their inner David Copperfield and learn the tricks of the trade at a bespoke magic workshop from magician Siméon Wolfgang, a brand new offering at Monte-Carlo Bay.
Soaking in the sun, sand and sea at many of Monaco’s beaches can also be a relaxing way for families to spend quality time together – whether it is enjoying a dip in the ocean or sunbathing under the golden rays of the French Riviera.
There are protective nets in certain zones so it is safe for the little ones to swim without being stung by sea creatures. For the adventurous, the recently redesigned Larvotto Beach also boasts numerous watersport activities.
Then revel in the company of loved ones while savouring a delicious beachside lunch at Le Neptune, and end the day on a sweet note with ice cream at the famous Glacier Mullot ice cream parlour.
Shukor concluded: “Families want to get back together often for holiday experiences as they haven’t seen each other for a while. Multigenerational travels are very frequent.”