Sylvie Cristin is the head of press relations & institutional partnerships at the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer (SBM), the company behind iconic establishments such as Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Casino de Monte-Carlo and many more. With over 15 years of experience working for the company, Sylvie witnessed first-hand the progression of the tourism offerings in Monaco.
Benoit speaks with Sylvie to discover how Monte-Carlo is reinventing itself for the luxury clientele of the future.
2019 was a pivotal year for Monte-Carlo SBM, with the reopening of the Hôtel de Paris and the launch of One Monte-Carlo. Is it in continuity with the heritage nurtured since 1863?
Yes, 2019 will indeed remain as a year of renewal for the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, after a 4-year metamorphosis around the Place du Casino (Casino Square). It focused particularly on the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and on the former Sporting d’Hiver which was replaced by One Monte-Carlo, a new district dedicated to shopping, upscale residences and events, with a brand new conference center featuring the latest technologies.
This metamorphosis has also affected the field of gaming, with a revitalization of the activity: we have readapted the offer and services to meet the new expectations in this area, especially that of our Asian clientele. Nightlife was not left out with the transformation of Jimmy’z Monte-Carlo, an institution of Monaco’s nightlife since 1974, and the arrival of the Coya Monte-Carlo restaurant which, like Jimmy’z, is at the heart of the Sporting Monte-Carlo.
In 1863, in the new district of Monte-Carlo, the SBM invented the concept of “Integrated Resort” built around a comprehensive offering of gaming, hospitality, wellness, fine dining, entertainment and culture. In 2019, the Group completed a new investment of nearly 700 million Euros to make this resort Europe’s most exclusive destination once again, a destination where the experience of the whole offering is elevated to the state of an art.
As a historic icon of Monte-Carlo, how can the new Hôtel de Paris preserve its original charm?
The Group’s objective for the work of the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and the choice of the architect were decisive. The already iconic hotel could not be transformed but rather magnified. The new Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo was to continue to honour its original promise made by François Blanc at its creation in 1864: “a hotel that exceeds anything that has been created so far”.
To do this we chose an architect who literally put himself at the service of the building rather than give it his style. The Group called on Richard Martinet’s Affine Design firm, who worked with Monaco architect Gabriel Viora, in close collaboration with the department of studies and design at Monte-Carlo SBM, custodian of the archives, original sketches from the XIXth century and guarantor for a renovation of this magnitude. The best craftsmen were summoned for the marble and wood work and for the marquetry in particular. Lastly, the architects implemented the most demanding construction standards, essential to follow the stringent environmental policies.
In this metamorphosis, only the original building – the facade on the Place du Casino already rebuilt in 1909 – has been preserved. Its interior has however been redesigned. The other buildings added at various times of history with different architectural styles (the Rotonde wing, the Alice wing, and the Beaux Arts wing) were deconstructed and rebuilt, to restore harmony to the whole.
Although the original charm has undeniably been preserved, the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo has enhanced its product to offer even more luxury, in order to meet the new expectations of a demanding international clientele. The rooms have been enlarged (36 sqm minimum) and most of them now open on private terraces. The proportion of suites and rooms has been reversed to provide 60% Suites. A patio has been planted in the inner courtyard, unutilised until then. It houses luxury retail and offers a soothing oasis of freshness during the summer.
Two exceptional suites have been created on the rooftop: the Princess Grace Suite, which faces the Prince’s Palace over the harbour, and the Prince Rainier III Suite, posted like a lookout over the Casino Square. A spa, exclusively reserved for the guests of the hotel, has been created with an outdoor pool. And for the gaming clientele, a brand-new Monte-Carlo suite completes the offering introduced by the ultra-private lounges at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, reserved for the biggest Casino players on the planet.
By adding to the iconic Place du Casino, how will One Monte-Carlo refresh and rejuvenate the traditional perception of Monte-Carlo and Monaco?
One Monte-Carlo is a new, ultra-modern and major urban planning project, designed to bring a contemporary architectural touch to the historical landscape of the Casino Square. It aims to offer to our international clientele new exclusive experiences in terms of shopping, residence, gastronomy, events and culture. Rogers Stirk Harbor & Partner were chosen for the modernity and innovation they embody.
This project integrates very harmoniously seven concept buildings which design emphasizes on light and nature, with monumental windows and with facades which will eventually be completely vegetated. We introduced the Princess Charlene Promenade located in the heart of One Monte-Carlo, the new pedestrian Avenue des Beaux-Arts which connects the Place du Casino and the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, and a direct access to the redesigned Boulingrins public gardens: One Monte-Carlo offers a new breath to the destination.
It also incorporates 37 luxury apartments and 23 luxury retail stores. Some of these brands are entering the Principality for the first time and many others are on the waiting list: a testimony of how popular this new address is and how unique a shopping experience it offers. Mada One, the new concept restaurant by Michelin-awarded Chef Marcel Ravin is always full. The underground One Monte-Carlo Conference Center has now created a new hub for business tourism around the Casino Square and accommodate an outstanding art gallery at the heart of its premises.
What are the other recent developments of Monte-Carlo SBM group?
In line with the revival that we have been witnessing around the Casino square, it is the square itself and its public gardens that have been the focus of the Group’s attention in 2020. A redevelopment project, giving priority to pedestrians, while maintaining the functionality of the place and the access to cars, was completed in spring. But this time, it was virtually, during the confinement, that the residents were able to discover the new Casino Square in Monte-Carlo, inaugurated by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and several members of His family.