Hotel Columbus Monte-Carlo, 23 Avenue des Papalins, Monaco; columbushotels.com.
TARIFF: Room-only rates from about $212 (VAT included); check for packages and seasonal deals. Grand Prix season (May 25-28 this year) will be predictably pricey.
GETTING THERE: Monaco has a railway station (part of the French national system) but the closest airport is at Nice, about 15km west. From there you can reach Monaco by a seven-minute helicopter flight or 40minute bus trip; visitmonaco.com.
CHECKING IN: Visitors who want quality accommodation without breaking the bank. David Coulthard no longer owns the hotel but it’s still popular with the Formula One crowd.
BEDTIME READING: Graham Greene’s novella, Loser Takes All (1955) is set in Monaco, as is Wendy Leigh’s True Grace: The Life and Times of an American Princess. Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953), set in the fictional resort of Royale-Les-Eaux, drew inspiration from Monte-Carlo’s celebrated casino.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: The ground-floor entrance is level and wheelchair-friendly; lifts to all floors and eight adapted suites.
STEPPING OUT: Visit The Rock, the 800year-old fortress that is home to the Grimaldi palace, the cathedral and Oceanographic Museum. Try alfresco seafood at Les Perles de Monte Carlo, on Fontvieille breakwater. Spend a jawdropping hour at the Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection. And visit the belle epoque Casino; entry to the lobby is free, and €10 ($15) gets you into gaming areas.
BRICKBATS: Hard to find one other than the IQ-challenging shower gizmo.
BOUQUETS: Bright and friendly staff, on the ball and multilingual. Excellent location.
ALSO TRY: Novotel Paris Les Halles; Central Hotel Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.