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The Full Monte: All Aboard at the Monaco Yacht Show

Being a billionaire can be a tough business, can't it? Luxury London took to the waves at the Monaco Yacht Show to discover what it’s like to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous


The word conjures up images of wealth and status; of princesses and Hollywood movie stars; of high-adrenaline Formula 1 racing; of supercars lining the streets – and, of course, of the glamorous gatherings of the rich, powerful and beautiful aboard some of the world’s most decadent superyachts.

Let’s set aside for a moment its tax-haven status, because there are many other aspects of life in Monaco that make it so popular with the wealthier echelons of society. The Michelin-starred restaurants, the five-star hotels and the couture catwalks that constitute its shopping streets are all tempting for tourists and residents alike, but let’s be honest, it’s the marina and its floating palaces that are the real draw. I’ve jetted down for the weekend (via a thrilling helicopter ride from Nice airport – a transfer option I thoroughly recommend) to enjoy the final day of the Monaco Yacht Show; an annual event celebrating all things super and seaworthy.

After checking into my room at the Hôtel Hermitage and taking stock of the seaside spread from my Juliet balcony overlooking the marina, I take a stroll down to the quayside to see these buoyant giants up close. There’s one superyacht in particular that I’ve journeyed to Monaco to explore; the 50m Ann G by Heesen Yachts. 

I feel like a Bond girl as I luxuriate in the back of the tender transporting me out to where the Ann G is docked.

It’s early evening of the last day of the show and the sun is shining as I slip off my wedges to board (barefoot, by request of the owner) the brand new superyacht. The sophisticated navy and white exterior of the Ann G (designed by Clifford Denn) sets it aside from the more traditional all-white crafts and the nautical colour scheme continues on the outer decks, where the smooth teak of the deck is a perfect foil for the navy, white and turquoise colour scheme on the middle and upper levels.

As we prepare to cast off for an evening cruise to Antibes, the peace is suddenly shattered by an ear-splitting cacophony of horns as the captains of the show’s exhibits toot loudly in honour of the closing of the festival. 

It’s our signal to be off; to the farewell salute of hundreds of show boats, we cruise out of the harbour, glasses of champagne in hand to toast Ann G’s success as one of the ‘must-see’ exhibits.

We push smoothly through the waves along the coastline, watching the large, almost full moon cast a shimmering glow over the ocean and we’re invited on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Ann G’s interior, designed by Reymond Langton (with a little help from the superyacht’s very passionate owner). 

Rich Macassar ebony accented with stainless steel features make for a sumptuous interior design scheme, highlighted by warming touches of backlit white onyx and soft tactile leather. The show-stopping features are, without a doubt, the real gold and white gold mosaics in the bathrooms, as well as the bespoke Art Deco-style chandelier that extends over two decks at the main staircase.

As we finally pull up between two 100m giants in Antibes’ harbour, I reflect upon my experience; a ‘day in the life of’ a superyacht owner. I must confess, owning one of these beauties had never been in my ‘lottery wish-list’ – until now, that is. Having spent a blissful few hours relaxing on a remarkably comfortable lounger under a fluffy blanket while being plied with champagne, I can absolutely see the appeal.

Cheers to life on the high seas! Or meandering slowly along the fabulous Côte d’Azur. Whichever floats your (super) boat.

Top Tips for a weekend in Monaco

Eat at Yoshi, the first Joël Robuchon Japanese restaurant in the world at the famous Hôtel Metropole. Healthy, delicious and modern dishes in elegant surrounds designed by French inerior architect Didier Gomez. Try the black cod; you won’t be disappointed.

Walk to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco via a circuitous route. Rather than taking the busy steps directly up to the palace, brave the upward slope of Avenue de la Porte Neuve and meander peacefully through the verdant parks surrounding the Musée Océanographique. Pass by the cathedral and through the narrow winding streets of the old town en route to the palace and you’ll discover a whole different side to Monaco.

Visit Odyssey at the Hôtel Metropole. Designed by Karl Lagerfeld, the space features sun loungers, lush gardens and a sun deck, all with the fashion icon’s unique stamp. Currently it’s only open to hotel guests or Métropole ESPA Monte-Carlo members, though, so make sure you’re on the right lists if you fancy a dip in this designer pool.

www.heesenyachts.comwww.metropole.comwww.hotelhermitagemontecarlo.com; helicopter transfer courtesy of the Monaco Government Tourist Authority. For more information, call +377 92 16 61 16 or visit www.visitmonaco.com