by By Lisa Grimaldi | May 01, 2009

Grimaldi ForumThis tiny principality has a rich tradition of hailing the arts. Over the next 18 months, Monaco will celebrate key anniversaries of several venerated artistic institutions. This year commemorates the tradition of 50 years of concerts by the legendary Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in the courtyard of the Prince's Palace. In 2010, the Oceanographic Museum will mark its 100th anniversary, and the Monte Carlo TV Festival, held each July, turns 50.
Two exhibitions will celebrate Russian arts: "Splendors of the Romanovs," featuring objets d'art from the tsars of the Romanov dynasty, will be on display at the Grimaldi Forum from July 11 to Sept. 13. Also taking place this summer is "Serge de Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes," highlighting the colorful history of one of the most famous and influential troupes in the history of dance, at the Villa Sauber and the Winter Sporting Club.

The principality's tradition of hosting prestigious sporting events also will continue this summer when the Tour de France, the top international biking race, begins in Monte Carlo for the first time. The date for the 2009 Grand Start, as it is formally called, is July 4.

Meetings update
Another milestone to be celebrated next year for Monaco is the 10th anniversary of the Grimaldi Forum, the main exhibition facility. Last fall, the venue achieved a prestigious environmental-management certification from the Inter­national Organization for Standardization, based on the facility's ability to meet various green standards that include creating a policy and monitoring environmental impact.

Monte Carlo SBM (formerly the Societe des Bains de Mer) has announced plans to expand its Salle des Etoiles at Sporting Monte Carlo to accommodate 1,200 people. Also to come: a large conference room that host groups of up to 600.

Destination management firm Allied International, with offices in Europe, Dubai and the United States, has acquired Monaco-based DMC Conference International.

Hotel news
On the hotel front, 10 properties will extend guaranteed meetings and incentives packages, priced in U.S. dollars, through 2010; details are available at

The 619-room Fairmont Monte Carlo will unveil its Willow Stream Spa next month. The facility will feature seven treatment rooms and will provide direct access to the property's fitness center, also on the seventh floor. Joining the spa on the hotel's "Seventh Heaven," which features a rooftop pool, will be a Mediterranean brasserie restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round. The rooftop area also has an event space that can accommodate groups of up to 110 people for seated dinners or meetings.

The 403-room Le Méri­dien Beach Plaza's Salon Mediterranee meeting room, on the ground floor of the Sea Club Conference Center, has been renovated. The room offers approximately 5,900 square feet of event space.

The 150-room Hotel Metropole has opened a new restaurant, Yoshi, specializing in Japanese cuisine. The 50-seat eatery was launched by Michelin-acclaimed chef Joël Robuchon.

The Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel will reopen this month, following a redesign by French decorator India Mahdavi. The facility now has 40 guest rooms and suites (down from 47); all feature Wi-Fi access and docking systems for iPods and iPhones.

The 280-room Hôtel Her­mitage is adding a conference room that will accommodate 500, and six breakout rooms; all of the space will debut in 2011. In addition, the property's guest rooms in its Costa and Midi wings are being renovated and should be completed by May 2010.

The 187-room Hôtel de Paris is undergoing a redecoration of the guest rooms in its Alice Wing. The freshened look will be unveiled at year's end.