We spoke with Cindy Hoddeson, Director, Meeting & Incentive Sales for Visit Monaco to learn about group experiences, venues and hotels where planners can build culture and creativity into their programs.
Q: What cultural experiences should planners consider in your destination?
A: Monaco’s New National Museum is housed in two stunning venues: the Villa Paloma and the Villa Sauber. With a focus on modern, contemporary works of art, these newly redesigned venues present two exhibits each annually and spotlight the cultural, historic and artistic virtues of the Principality. Upon request, private visits and functions can be organized in these museums.
Q: What are some of the ways planners can incorporate cultural venues and festivals into their programs?
A: The Principality of Monaco offers thrilling and enriching experiences with world-class cultural and sporting events. Festivals included in the annual calendar, which will make any visiting group’s program truly memorable, include the Monte-Carlo Circus Festival, Vintage Grand Prix, Formula 1 Grand Prix, Spring Arts Festival, the International Fireworks Festival and performances by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in the Palace Courtyard during the summer season. Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and the Monte-Carlo Opera can be seen in the Salle Garnier, which is part of the Casino Monte-Carlo building.
Q: How can planners use F&B to showcase the destination’s local culture?
A: Monaco boasts a cuisine all of its own: a flavorful fusion of southern French (especially Provençal and Niçoise), Italian and other Mediterranean influences. The Marché Condamine, an indoor/outdoor farmers market, can be privatized for events. Music and decor can be customized; food stations include local specialties such as socca, a chickpea pancake, pissaladiere, a savory onion tart and the not to be missed treat, barbagiuans, a crisp baked or fried puff-pastry filled with Swiss chard, ricotta, leeks, garlic and herbs. The indoor space can accommodate 350 guests cocktail style and 220 guests for seated dinners.
Q: Where do you take friends/family in your destination that you would recommend to planners?
A: A visit to the Principality would not be complete without visiting the Oceanographic Museum, founded by HSH Prince Albert I in 1910. This world-recognized institute houses specimens and tools from the campaigns of Monaco’s explorer Prince. I love taking friends and family to the aquarium where one can discover many species dwelling within a living coral reef. Cocktails and dinners can also be organized in this historic building whose director for 30 years was Jacques Cousteau.