Celebrate Chinese New Year in style in Monaco
Merge tradition with luxury at locations such as the legendary casino and Song Qi restaurant
For years, Monaco has cultivated a reputation for being a playground for the rich and famous.
But it is also gradually positioning itself as a versatile travel destination that is constantly reinventing itself and being accessible to everyone.
Resting on the mountains with the Alps in the background and a full picturesque view of the Mediterranean Sea, the Principality of Monaco enjoys a privileged geographic location that, in Chinese folklore, represents prosperity in the art of fengshui.
So for those looking to escape the traditional Chinese New Year festivities this year and enjoy something different, here are the ways you can live it up in Monaco, according to Visit Monaco.
Stay at the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo
Most hotels in Monaco are designed for families, and this one offers connecting rooms and a special welcome for young guests.
Ideally situated in Le Carre d'Or, within walking distance of Casino de Monte-Carlo, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.
The sumptuous Belle Epoque property was built in 1886 and fully renovated in 2004 by famous French designer Jacques Garcia. He transformed it into a palace of 126 rooms and suites with a Mediterranean charm and in keeping with its era, combining glamour, sophistication and sensoriality.
Till March 31, you can opt to book a junior suite and an adjoining room from €835 (S$1,250) - inclusive of a full daily American breakfast served at Joel Robuchon and surprise welcome amenities for the children.
Let your inner child shine at the open-air skating rink at Port Hercules
In summer, you will bask in the glorious sun and enjoy a dip in the pool. But during winter, this place transforms into a splendid frozen wonderland.
Each year, under the patronage of the Municipal Department of Sports and Associations, the Rainier III Nautical Stadium is transformed into a 1,000 sq m ice-skating rink for several weeks from the start of December to early March.
Shop to your heart's content at One Monte-Carlo
Winter also means off-season sales - and what better time to shop for new clothes for new luck to ring in Chinese New Year?
Nestled between the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo and the Place du Casino is where you will find One Monte-Carlo, where shopping, culture and luxury real estate come together.
This new district houses some of the biggest names in fashion and jewellery, including Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Valentino.
If ever you need a break from shopping, rest your worn-out feet while munching on some haute couture snacks at Mada One. The "aperitif therapy" session runs from 5.30pm to 8.30pm, where you can try a signature cocktail along with some of the chef's sweet and savoury bites.
Dig into a scrumptious reunion dinner at Song Qi
You will want to be at Song Qi for Chinese New Year. Known for its Cantonese cuisine, the restaurant is elegantly laid out with silky green banquettes and chairs that add warmth to the otherwise opulent decor, serving up dim sum, hearty chicken soup and even a Singapore-style spicy vermicelli.
Alternatively, take your pick between the best seafood at Les Perles de Monte-Carlo, at the very tip of the Port de Fontvieille jetty in Monaco, or Yoshi, Joel Robuchon's first Japanese restaurant in the world. It features the fresh nigiri, maki, sashimi, fish and cooked meat teppanyaki-style alongside the best sakes and Japanese green teas.
Catch the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival
The 44th edition takes place from Jan 16 to 26, and for 10 days, with breathtaking performances under the Chapiteau de Fontvieille.
It is the perfect activity for the whole family, who will be enthralled by the acrobats, animal trainers, trapeze artists and clowns in one of the most prestigious world circus events.
Visit Casino de Monte-Carlo
As far as Chinese New Year traditions and gambling go, you can't miss a stop at this legendary casino - several James Bond movies and Ocean's Twelve had long sequences shot there. Since 1863, it has offered only the best to its prestigious customers, so make sure you tap on some of that New Year luck and stop by for a full Monte-Carlo experience. Tuxedos are no longer required, but a formal dress code is still necessary.
Celebrate the New Year at Buddha Bar Monte-Carlo
They say that passing through the doors of Buddha Bar Monte-Carlo is like going on a journey to the Far East.
The warm colours, Buddha statue and lounge ambience set the tone for celebrating Chinese New Year in style.
Be amazed by the colossal Buddha - from Asia, no less - seated tall in a meditation pose.
Thai and Japanese cuisine are showcased in a menu that mixes Asian flavours, while sake and South-east Asian-inspired signature cocktails are highlights on the drinks menu.
The bar itself brings a storied history - it stands where the old Cabaret de Monte-Carlo used to at the start of the century.