Prince Rainier’s Holiday Inn Monte Carlo

Robert Lacey’s biography of Princess Grace of Monaco detailed her husband Prince Rainier’s dream: to break the Société des Bains de Mer’s monopoly on his principality.

“My own feeling,” he said in 1965, “Is that the economic wealth of the principality would be greatly improved if we could start off with two thousand modern, comfortable hotel rooms of the kind at which the Americans are so good. Not super-deluxe, but modernly equipped, functional, and agreeable hotel rooms with a maximum price of fifteen dollars a single day.”

The Holiday Inn Monte Carlo opened in 1972 on Avenue Princesse Grace. The next year it was visited by MotorBoating & Sailing magazine.

“Later, if you feel you have been… over-sauced and truffled, you can keep walking as far as the Holiday Inn, and relax over a supper of hamburgers, french fries, and a chocolate shake. While we were there, the Inn was, probably not so oddly, entirely populated by Europeans, enjoying for the first time those sanitized swipes across the john and the water tumblers done up in Handiwrap. Coke Machines, Color TV. Free ice on every floor. Our continental cousins were getting a huge charge out of what we have come to regard as our birthright, motel-wise.”

The Holiday Inn Monte Carlo had 320 air conditioned rooms, with radios, color TV sets, and direct telephones, a heated pool and a private beach, a night club, a shopping gallery, a parking attendant and a masseuse.

Alas, as Lacey wrote, “By the time the hotel opened in 1972, its high construction costs had priced it out of the reach of normal Holiday Inn travelers, while people who could afford the room rates did not want to stay in a Holiday Inn.The hotel went out of business in the early eighties and was converted into another apartment block.”

It exists now only in the auctions of matchbooks ($12.99) and hotel key and fob’s ($14.00) on Ebay.