Monaco: Monaco packages by budget

Ginny McGrath suggests how planners with tight purse strings or money to burn can spend it.

BUDGET

How to get there: Easyjet from London Luton, Gatwick or Stansted (and Bristol, Liverpool or Newcastle) to Nice, then a coach transfer.

Where to stay: The three-star Columbus Monaco, located in Fontvieille close to the harbour. The 181-room hotel has contemporary decor extending to the brasserie, bar, two meeting rooms and auditorium with AV facilities, plus swimming pool and private beach. "In any other city it would be a four-star," says Conference International director Merville Spiers.

Incentive choices: A treasure hunt around the city incorporating the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium and the cathedral; 'beach Olympics', including raft and chariot racing; wine and food tasting featuring a cookery class in the nearby village of Eze. "Monaco is small, so we often need to go outside, but it's so easy to get to France and even Italy," says Rosemarie Merlo Pompenig, managing director of Monaco DMC, LSO.

Gift: A welcome pack with map, museum and historical guide to Monaco.

Gala dinner venues: Cafe de Paris in Casino Square, the heart of Monaco, or the laid-back La Saliere restaurant in Fontvieille yacht harbour.

Places to party: Stars and Bars, a popular lounge bar, where drinks cost less than EUR10, or Sea Lounge at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel: "It has an Ibiza meets St Tropez feel," says Monaco Tourism and Convention Authority communication manager Genevieve Berti.

MODERATE

How to get there: BMI from London Heathrow to Nice, luxury coach transfer with a local guide or, for smaller groups, a stretch limo.

Where to stay: The four-star Le Meridien Beach Plaza with separate group check-in and a welcome cocktail by the pool. The hotel has 403 rooms, a 24-hour restaurant, L'Intempo serving imaginative Mediterranean cuisine, a private beach, two pools, fitness centre and an adjoining conference centre, Sea Club.

Incentive choices: A beginner's course on Provencal cuisine with a visit to Villeneuve-Loubet; make your own perfume at the perfumery in Grasse; a Harley Davidson tour; a tour of Antibes with a local artist, including a painting lesson and a tour of the Picasso Museum. "Monaco has such a range of incentives that we can handle groups of up to 1,000 in one afternoon," says Katy Nyland, director of sales and development at DMC WTT.

Gift: Colour guide of the Riviera and chocolates from the supplier to Monaco's royal family.

Gala dinner venues: The Ristorante Erio in San Remo on the Italian Riviera for Italian cuisine and live music, or the Rothschild Foundation, 15 minutes along the Cote d'Azur in St Jean Cap Ferrat. "It has exquisite gardens and beautiful views," says LSO's Pompenig.

Places to party: Karement, a modern tapas and cocktail bar-cum-nightclub on the second floor of the Grimaldi Forum with a Moroccan-themed outdoor terrace.

BANK-BREAKING

How to get there: British Airways from Heathrow to Nice, air-side welcome with porter service and helicopter flight to Monaco with chauffeur transfer to hotel.

Where to stay: There's an array of options including the Hotel Hermitage or its Casino Square neighbour, the Hotel de Paris. The Hermitage can welcome groups with a cocktail on its terrace. It has 229 rooms with antique furniture, plus a floor of eight suites called Les Appartements in contemporary decor. The Hotel de Paris has 191 rooms and four restaurants including the triple-starred Louis XV - Alain Ducasse. Both have access to Les Thermes Marins de Monte Carlo spa.

Incentive choices: Spa treatments at Les Thermes Marins de Monte Carlo; a luxury cruise to Cannes for lunch and afternoon shopping; wine tasting and dinner at the cellars of the Hotel de Paris; a vintage car rally around Monaco Ville or along the French Riviera with a gastronomic lunch at nearby Chateau Eza; a round of golf at Monte Carlo Golf Club.

Gift: Coffee table book about Monaco or a trio of French grand cru wines.

Gala dinner venues: The Hotel Hermitage's Salon Excelsior for private cocktails and dinner with entertainment and table gifts, or dinner and a show at the Monte Carlo Casino.

Places to party: Jimmy'z in Le Sporting is Monaco's most famous nightspot, but drinks will test the expense account at EUR20 a pop.

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