The small Principality of Monaco has always been a big hitter on the social calendar. We asked the F1’s Amber Lounge founder Sonia Irvine to give us her insider guide to this glamorous city

I instantly fell in love with Monaco the first moment I saw it. Although, I have to say that the sun and sea played a major role. The Principality changes constantly. Whether it is new shopping venues, restaurants or buildings, there is always something to talk about. Starting from the Grand Prix weekend in May, Monaco is a hive of activity and the fun doesn’t stop until October.

Monaco may be small, but it has so many areas to discover. There is the Rock, a tall monolith that juts out into the ocean and is the home to the Old Town, which is the most authentic part of the city. You can wind your way among the medieval streets and when the sun goes down, you can almost hear a pin drop, it’s that quiet. Then there’s the port, which I always think of as special because it represents Formula 1 to me, and there’s also the Casino de Monte-Carlo, which everyone needs to visit because it is one of the most iconic places in Monaco.

The Amber Lounge’s Guide To Monaco

Monaco is known for its glitz – the Methuselah bottles scattered around the Amber Lounge during the F1 weekend are testament to that. It’s not unusual to find VIPs and celebrity guests dancing on the sofas at the Amber Lounge – or in the case of one of our A-list guests, launching themselves from the dance podium onto the sofa head first.

The Monaco race in the crown jewel of every Formula 1 calendar, it’s just the most glamorous, it doesn’t have to try it just is! That’s why I decided to launch the first Amber Lounge party in Monaco.

If you’re looking for somewhere to rest your head during the F1 weekend, I’d recommend Le Méridien Beach Plaza. This glamorous art-filled hotel, which has the mountains of Monaco as its backdrop, offers uninterrupted views of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s my favourite because not only does it have its own private beach, but it offers direct access to Amber Lounge!

You could enjoy breakfast in the hotel, or if you want to enjoy a late-morning bite and do a little people watching, take a seat on the terrace at Café De Paris on the legendary Place du Casino – there’s always so much going on.

The Amber Lounge’s Guide To Monaco

While you’re waiting for the race to start you should take a tour of Monte Carlo. The new Monaco Modern Art museum is definitely not to be missed when you visit Monaco, and neither is the Oceanographic Museum, which is amazing. The Oceanographic Museum is closed during the F1 weekend, but if you arrive a little earlier, it’s more than worth a visit. Housed in a historic building lit by crystal chandeliers, it’s one of the most beautiful museums in the world.

For lunch I would go to Maya Bay to enjoy a delicious Thai or Japanese gourmet cuisine, or you could take a trip to La Saliere in Fontvielle Port if you want to see a few F1 drivers …..

The Amber Lounge’s Guide To Monaco

If you’re looking for a party outfit for the F1 weekend, you could visit the Avenue de Monte-Carlo. Here you’ll find Hermes, Prada, Gucci and Valentino. It has all the best shops for women, believe me!

The best place to watch the race itself is from the Amber Lounge yacht! Not only you can watch the race, but you get to meet F1 drivers and celebrities.

After you have seen the teams cross the line, you could head to the Buddha Bar. The crowd is good there…. and they do a great Kir Royale.

If you didn’t stop at La Saliere for lunch, you could book a table there for dinner. You can’t go wrong with the fish and grilled vegetables – all very healthy. Then if you’re looking to place a small bet before you catch the flight home, visit the Casino de Monte-Carlo. It’s a must-go in Monaco!

To book a place on the Amber Lounge yacht or to find out more about their parties in Mexico, Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, visit

Suggested Itineraries

Classic Mongolia


  • Scrambling up the towering Khongoryn Els sand dunes for a glorious sunset and then sliding back down
  • Riding camels with an authentic nomadic camel breeder in the Gobi Desert
  • Staying at the luxurious Three Camel Lodge
  • Horse riding through the forest to the seldom-visited Tovkhon Monastery
  • Spending the night in your own bespoke ensuite luxury ger that has been set up in the wilderness just for you

When to go:

ideal length 10 nights

Culture and Nature in Guatemala and Belize

Guatemala Belize

  • Climb Pacaya Volcano for incredible views of Antigua and beyond
  • Scuba dive the caves and reefs of the Blue Hole in Belize
  • Explore the ancient Mayan ruins in Tikal
  • Discover the villages on the shores of Lake Atitlan
  • Relax on the white-sand beaches of the Caribbean

When to go:

ideal length 13 nights

Hiking and Glamping in Bhutan

Paro, Thimphu & Punakha Bhutan

  • Explore the scenic Punakha Valley with your private guide
  • Try archery and then indulge in a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath
  • Discover numerous monasteries in Paro such as Zurig Dzong and Rinpung Dzong
  • Hike from Sang Choekor Buddhist College to Yak
  • Visit The Tiger’s Nest monastery, one of Bhutan’s most famous landmarks perched precariously on a cliff, 900 meters off of the ground

When to go:

ideal length 7 nights
Destinations Featured in the Article
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