The Classique Grand Prix – Monaco 2018
As long as I've known Brad he has talked about doing the Grand Prix in Monaco. This year he turns 50 so I thought “what better time” and started investigating it.
OMG – that is ridiculously crazy expensive.
To give you an example, to view the race from a Yacht (they back them into the port near the main straight) is on average €2,300 per person for the Sunday. That's nearly $3600 AUD per person to watch a race for 6 hours.
Yeah – I think not!
Packages would have worked out to be around $25,000 AUD for us to spend 3 nights and do one day of race viewing. That's crazy money and there was no way I was going to spend that for a long weekend. Especially how I usually travel. That could last me almost a year!
Disappointed, I started searching for alternatives and found that Monaco also hosts the Classique Grand Prix which is run every three years. Luckily 2018 was the year! The Classique Grand Prix is all the older traditional cars and is WAY more our style.
I managed to find a package with Senate Grand Prix, an English company that was 80% more affordable than the main Grand Prix. We were staying at the Fairmont Hotel smack in the middle of things, and had free viewing from the pool deck of the “Fairmont Hairpin” which was really great. I booked us in to the VIP suite at the Fairmont for the Sunday which was overlooking the track, had complimentary food and drink and a maximum of 16 people. I think there were maybe 8 of us so it was a great day spent with some lovely people.
The races started out with the pre-war cars and built up to the late 70's slot style cars we are used to. I loved how traditional everything was right up to the cigarette sponsorship. I'm sure its not ethically correct now days, but it was great to see the cars in their purest form.
The Classic Grand Prix isn't like the normal one, its lots of shorter races over the day so you spend from 9am till around 4pm watching the racing.
I found it great value for money compared with the horrendously expensive standard Grand Prix and the variety of cars, ages and speeds kept things interesting throughout the day.
Location: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Staff: Senate Grand Prix – very easy to deal with and extremely helpful. Fairmont Hotel Staff – lovely, very accommodating
Facilities: Great as you would expect from a hotel of this level
Beware: Tthe hotel is inside the track so you have quite a roundabout way to get in and out of the precinct. Stairs are prevalent so if you are not able to do stairs confirm with Senate Grand Prix first as to your options.
Value: Great. It seemed expensive at first however that's mostly because our Australian dollar is so crap. Overall in Euro its not too bad.
We did have a reasonable challenge with the Horizon restaurant at the Fairmont.
I ordered a Rare steak and was very explanatory in that (for some reason I always end up with a medium steak and I LIKE RARE!). I wasn't rude at all but explained that the blue side of rare was preferable to medium. The waiter was very nice however I got a well done steak. I mean WELL DONE! It was completely brown inside.
I asked them to replace it and it took 3 levels of staff and 40 minutes. I don't mind that the steak was supplied incorrectly, I am in a french speaking country and I'm speaking English (with an Australian accent), however taking 40 minutes to replace a rare steak is not acceptable and I would assume that it would result in a right bollocking to the wait staff from most of the people that dine in that environment.
In addition to that, the wait staff took away my sides when the steak went back and I never got them back. So I ended up eating meat and nothing else for dinner. I just couldn't be arsed by that point. They also completely stuffed our bill up, but as it was in our favour and after the steak debacle I didn't correct it. I would have usually but I felt ignored because I was so accommodating about the steak so I paid it as it was and didn't correct it.