The extraordinary life of Monaco’s super-rich with £27,000 bottles of wine and £35,000-a-night hotel suites – The US Sun
IMAGINE waking up in a country where one in three is a millionaire, a suite at the local hotel will cost you £35,000 and even convicts at the local jail are eating bruschetta and sirloin steak.
Welcome to Monaco: the tax haven of billionaires, where yachts and helicopters are as common as taxis and almost every car is a Rolls Royce or Ferrari.
The small country where citizens pay no income tax is home to some of the richest people in the world and a host of celebrities including Lewis Hamilton, David Coultard and Ringo Starr.
Now, a fascinating new series, airing on BBC from tonight, reveals what life is like for the wealthy principality’s 38,000 residents, from billionaire heirs to street cleaners and hotel workers.
Wine for £27,000 and a truffle worth £35,000
The Grand Prix brings the rich and famous to Monaco every year and adds £90m to the treasury.
Helicopters are the preferred mode of transport for wealthy guests and the air is up to 800 flights a day throughout the weekend.
Visitors book the chic Hotel de Paris, where a suite with a private pool can cost £35,000 a night and the street outside is packed with supercars, including Rolls Royces, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens.
The port fills with billions worth of luxury yachts, each costing £1,187 a night to moor.
Assistant Harbor Master Gerald Mazzola tells the show, “They’re like crazy kids to me, they want everything and they always want more and more and more.”
Monaco is about the size of Hyde Park and has a population of 38,000. Since 2005 it has been ruled by the 62-year-old Prince Albert II.
The former playboy prince – who has just recovered from the coronavirus – lives in a lavish palace, flies on a private jet and has a fleet of supercars at his disposal.
He and Princess Charlene wed in 2011 in a lavish £55million wedding and have five-year-old twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques.
The show follows her preparations for a champagne reception for wealthy VIPs to be held at the Palace the night before the annual Grand Prix.
The couple are also hosting a lavish lunch to mark the Principality’s National Day, where the chef reveals one ingredient is a truffle known as the ‘white diamond’ and is valued at a staggering £35,000.
Gregoire Gomon, the palace’s butler, also reveals the prince stocked the cellar with 15,000 bottles of super-expensive wine – some of them worth £27,000.
He adds: “Bottles like this are the best wines you can ever find.” Very rare.”
Sea views, cinema room and a tank full of piranhas
To become a resident of Monaco you must find a job or start a business there or show you have the means to support yourself – at least £500,000.
You must also own or lease property there.
After ten years, you can apply for citizenship, and Prince Albert has the final say on every application.
Only about 9,000 of the population are citizens – so-called Monegasques – the rest are residents.
In 2019, Knight Frank estimated there were 12,261 millionaires in less than one square mile.
Princess Camilla of Bourbon and the Two Sicilies moved to Monaco more than 20 years ago after marrying Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro – a member of the Spanish royal family.
They have two daughters – Princess Chiara, 15, and Princess Carolina, 16 – who are homeschooled in their luxury apartment.
She explains: “My girls are still at the perfect age to devote themselves to their mothers, or mums as they call me.
“We live in a rented apartment, which is very basic, but I have furnished it nicely. It’s pretty modern. It’s fantastic because you have a beautiful view of the sea – and that’s the most important thing.”
It may be basic, but it’s also the pinnacle of luxury, and with a property price of £45,000 per square foot – double that of Mayfair – it won’t be cheap.
The apartment features a private cinema room, gym, spa and an artist painted ceiling depicting the stars and planets of the solar system.
A huge fish tank dominates the living room and Camilla adds: “My favorite piece is the fish tank. It is very large and also serves as a living room table.
“In addition, there are sweets and decorations. We had octopus for a while but it didn’t work particularly well. Back then there were piranhas and now it’s full of big red fish. We change it sometimes to have fun.
“I would be very sad to ever leave Monaco. You just walk out of the house, cross the street and you’re in the best location in the world. From plastic surgery to the best cars”,
Camilla, who recently started organizing an influencer awards ceremony to lure the Instagram generation to the country, says the social life is a big draw.
She says: “In Monaco you can attend two or three events every night. There is not a single evening that is boring. It is impossible.”
Cartier, Dior and a fleet of supercars
Monika Bacardi, the widow of the rum heir, has also lived in Monaco for two decades.
The 51-year-old film financier says: “Here we have the Hotel de Paris, the yacht club, a shopping center – Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Celine, Bvlgari, Cartier, Dior – whatever your heart desires.”
What Monika’s heart desires is an impressive car collection, including two Rolls-Royces, a Ferrari, a Mercedes and a Range Rover.
Even the convicts in the tiny prison with stunning sea views live in luxury – despite the wire overhead preventing a helicopter escape.
“It is extraordinary. I would say it’s the prison with the best view in the world,” says Michael.
“Perched on the rock above the harbour, just a hundred yards down the road from the Prince’s Palace. On the day we were filming, the prisoners were given entrecôte steak for lunch.”
Russian billionaire flies sushi to Moscow
At the Hotel De Paris, every wish of the super-rich is fulfilled.
A hotel worker reveals how a Russian billionaire loved the hotel’s sushi so much that he insisted the chef make more and flew to his wife in Moscow on a private jet.
The Princess Grace Suite — named after Prince Michael’s late mother, Hollywood actress Grace Kelly — features its own private infinity pool, 180-degree ocean views, two terraces, three bedrooms, and two living rooms.
Director Michael Waldman says, “It’s a toy town on the Mediterranean Sea with its own laws, its own police force, and its own rulers.”
Inside Monaco: Playground Of The Rich will continue to air Monday 9pm BBC2.