By Ken Panton
Photography by David Lewis Taylor. Portrait of Mr. Lagerfeld courtesy of Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo.
I was delighted to receive my invitation to experience the new concept and redesigned pool at one of my favorite hotels, the internationally acclaimed Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo. This hotel, a truly unique haven of luxury and style, embodies the mystical aura and allure of the glittering principality of Monaco. With a mix as masterful as those created at the two-Michelin star Restaurant Joöl Robuchon Monte-Carlo, the Hôtel Métropole serves opulent old world glamour and modern decadence with a quiet refinement that is remarkable.
After my first stay at this delightful palace, I couldn't imagine any room for improvement. But I have learned that the owners, Fadj and Majid Boustany, have a vision of excellence that includes innovation, renovations, and surprises. International talents that include world-class decorators and designers and prize-winning chefs have all been part of their grand formula for success. With the addition of fashion king Karl Largerfeld at the helm of the redesigned pool and public areas, I knew my exceptions of greatness would be surpassed.
Commissioning Karl Lagerfeld was sheer brilliance. His masterpiece is an expansive backlit etched glass mural 18 panels in length that frames the pool and the surrounding Odyssian concept area. "Ulysses' Journey around the Mediterranean Sea," depicts scenes from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey recreated by Mr. Lagerfeld. His photographs were placed over historical images of the Greek coastline and etched into glass to create this timeless tableau.
Of course Mr. Lagerfeld's selection of the world's top models add to the beauty of the piece, which epically defines the space without overpowering its intimacy. Mr. Lagerfeld's Odyssey total concept for the pool area includes striking black and white outdoor furnishings, graphic table settings, crisp white umbrellas and cabanas, lush landscaping, and a cover for the winter months. Needless to say this is a hot destination for evening cocktails when star lights sparkle from the bottom of the pool.
The opportunity for guests to have a poolside breakfast and lunch is an unparalleled treat. Odyssey also features Joel Robuchon's third restaurant within the hotel, and the glamour of al fresco dining is matched only by the delicious cuisine.
After lunch and a relaxing swim in the salt-water pool, you'll have to fight the urge to nap, lest you miss experiencing the impeccably designed Odyssey, views of the belle époque style façade of the Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo, the grand casino, and the Mediterranean Sea.