Since the 1950s the tiny Principality of Monaco has undoubtedly held the crown as one of the most important ports in the world for the jet set. It conjures opulent images of Roger Moore as James Bond docking at the local Yacht Club de Monaco and Société Nautique rowing club only to head off to the nearby casino for gambling and espionage. In reality, the grand operation is run by the current President, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II—who has held the title for 30 years—and has an office overlooking the famous harbor with 26 births.
Renowned British architect Lord Norman Foster was called to duty, in conjunction with Monaco-based architect Alexandre Giraldi, for the redesign of the Yacht Club de Monaco, which just reopened this past summer. The inspiration was a sense of free spirit, with the ritzy club set up to look like a yacht in its own right with sweeping sustainable wooden terraces made of the same materials as the famed Carlo Riva speedboats. The grounds hold several dining, drinking and lounge options—including a ballroom and boardroom, decorated with Fendi Casa cushions and framed Hermes scarves, plus four private quarters for members to stay when they are in town and a pool for those impromptu afternoon dips. Over 1,600 books have been kept in the main lounge, dotted with inviting white sofas to pass a stormy weather day reading with a dram of scotch.
To become a member, you’ll need two sponsors and the wait list is exceedingly long. The current 1,300 members span over 66 nationalities. If you’re interested but boating is not your cup of tea, the Riva Lounge is the perfect perch for watching the Grand Prix and Formula 1 cars whizzing by the large picture windows.