views

Life in the fast lane on the Cote d'Azur

ANYBODY with even a passing interest in Formula One motor racing will have seen the Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel, although they may not realise it. The hotel is perched on the edge of the harbour and forms the famous tunnel, one of the best known parts of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit.<br /><br />For anyone keen on motor racing there can surely be no finer place to stay during a Grand Prix weekend with stunning trackside views of the action. For petrol heads wanting best seats in the house for next May&rsquo;s race, rooms with balconies overlooking the famous hairpin bend &ndash; where the cars are at their slowest point of the course &ndash; are &euro;14,000 and can take up to 12 people for the Grand Prix.<br /><br />Suites facing the Grand Prix track have a racing theme with motoring artwork.&nbsp; Every room has a private terrace, with the unimpeded view out to sea lending the hotel the air of a cruise liner.<br /><br />Away from the motor racing, the Fairmont is also a first-rate four star hotel with 600 rooms, a business convention centre and some enjoyably decadent restaurants. It also has what must be one of the best rooftop pools in Europe. It is hard to concentrate on swimming in a straight line when the iconic casino, opera house and Monaco skyline loom large. <br /><br />Perhaps the best thing about the place is its location. It has stunning views of the Riviera and the principality and is a minute&rsquo;s strolling time from all the main attractions, such as the big casino. That famous landmark charges just &euro;10 to drop in as a day member and is worth it just to see the stunning interior, not to mention a chance to try your luck on the famous gaming tables.<br /><br />Nearby Caf&eacute; de Paris in the Place du Casino square is where to watch the high rollers walking by or salivate over the stunning cars parked outside.<br />Close by all the leading fashion boutiques are represented. There&rsquo;s something for every budget, with even a branch of Zara a stone&rsquo;s throw from Prada and Celine.<br /><br />The Fairmont&rsquo;s in-house Willow Stream spa is the ideal place to unwind after finalising that deal or a day spent melting the credit card in the shops. With a broad range of treatments, including a few specially designed for men, the tranquil Willow Stream is a welcome addition to the hotel.<br /><br /><strong>THE FAIRMONT MONTE CARLO </strong>FAST FACTS<br /><strong>Fairmont room (garden view) - </strong><br />Starting from &euro;329 room, VAT and service included<br />Breakfast prices: &euro;35 buffet/American, &euro;26 continental<br /><strong><br />Dinner at L'Horizon: </strong><br />&euro;50/65 pp (drinks not included)<br /><strong><br />Dinner at L'Argentin Grill: </strong><br />&euro;80/100 pp (drinks not included)<br />For more information and special offers visit <strong>www.fairmont.com/montecarlo</strong> or please call <strong>0845 071 0153</strong><br /><br /><strong>British Airways </strong>flies to Nice from Heathrow from &pound;140 and from London City from &pound;131 return including taxes. Visit ba.com or call 0844 4930787