exploring and escaping | monaco

Where is there to go in the world’s smallest country? (Okay, second-smallest). Monaco is renowned worldwide for its reputation of lavish living. Say to anyone that you’re visiting Monaco and more often than not they envision speeding cars, giant yachts and billionaires winning (or losing) millions at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. But there is so much more to the beautiful mini principality than fast, flashy cars and designer boutiques. 

Schön! went out to discover the iconic and new little gems tucked away in this infamous part of the world.


A little bit different than anywhere else in Monaco, COYA is more edgy bohemian than Riviera with its gorgeously colourful and rustic decor of woven cushions and dark wood furniture handmade in Bali. An absolute classic for those who know the Monaco circuit, COYA is a slice of Latin America with a menu that boasts Peruvian classics and an impressive cocktail list.

Coming into COYA’s lush interiors and the sounds of vibrant tribal beats, you’re instantly served a basketful of the world’s most addictive tortilla chips with humongous servings of guacamole that’s pulverised right in front of you. COYA’s infamous Pisco Sours are dangerously good, made with COYA’s pisco quebranta and fresh lime juice. There’s also a selection of Pisco Sour infusions (we think the Lychee & Jasmine is the top contender).

The menu here is extensive and best appreciated when shared, so definitely try to order a bit of everything. COYA’s celebrated ceviches are an absolute must as well as the Peruvian sashimithe salmon nikkei in particular is melt-in-the mouth heavenly. Pay some attention to the ‘quieter’ dishes, in particular the skewered brown button mushrooms coated in aji panca—a gorgeously fruity and spicy Peruvian red pepper sauce. And if you can still manage to eat more, the iron pot of chilean sea bass and rice is fantastically fresh and creamy. COYA is definitely more of a party vibe, so this is the ideal place to come here with friends and let your hair down.

Schön! tip: Come here hungry and do NOT pass up on the dessert menu. Try the freshly-made churros served with bowls of warm dulce de leche to dip them into. You can thank us later.

MAONA Monte-Carlo

Maona (pronounced ‘ma-o-na’) was a big-hit in the 1960s Riviera heydays with the likes of Jack Nicholson, Jerry Lewis, Joséphine Baker and Liza Minnelli (to name a few) waltzing through its doors. And after a few decades of this legendary destination being closed, Maona has finally been reopened and reinvented. 

As soon as you enter Maona’s pink-hued and palm-tree filled paradise, you’re greeted with tons of black and white photos of the icons and legends that graced its halls back in the day. Setting off the retro vibe immediately, it carries on, with Maona’s open-air plan and homely decor of hanging plants and pink shades. There is definitely a rustic opulence here and it actually does feel like you’re back in the 1960s. And not to forget, the insane view of Monte-Carlo Beach that surrounds the pink cocoon that is Maona.

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But the retro vibes and ambience isn’t just surface level, it runs deep into the menu. Whatever you order, the recipes have been sourced from the people of Monaco. A competition was held to gather the Monegasque peoples’ family recipes for some of the dishes and the best ones made the cut. Because the recipes have been sourced by the OG Monegasque people, the menu is eclectic and full of surprises. Like the adorable dish named ‘Grandma Tacine’s courgette flowers’ which are gorgeously crispy and tangy and makes us want to hug Grandma Tacine herself.

The food prides itself in its Monegasque identity with everything locally sourced, which means everything is fresh and tastes excellent. For the seafood lovers, the butterflied sea bass is delightfully rich and the wild mushroom pappardelle is creamy and cooked to al-dente perfection. Do not pass on the veggie dishes as they are delectable treasures that truly celebrate the tastes of Monegasque cuisine.

Priding itself on being an ‘open-air cabaret’ (there is literally no roof in this restaurant), there is always music playing herewhether it’s jazz, live piano and singers, the music is always old classics (think Sinatra and Dean Martin), so the place really does feel like a heady throwback to the old-school riviera. Glamorous, joyful and retro, Maona is definitely one for the nostalgic ‘I was born in the wrong time’ crowd and those eager to relive the bygone era of the 60s and 70s.

Schön! tip: Ditch the skyscraper heels and wear something more manageable because you WILL end dancing whether you like it or not. (And order the clay-pot Negroni if you need a little dance-floor encouragement.) 


The new kid on the block that only opened last month, Club La Vigie already promises to be an absolute cult Monaco fav. Located at the end of the Monte-Carlo beach peninsula, La Vigie is a literal oasis perched directly on the sea, ideal for those who want a more quiet and chill vibe away from the hubbub of the main casino square. 

The open restaurant offers possibly some of the best views in Monaco as you’re surrounded by the sea and the food is insanely good. With a menu designed by Marcel Ravin, the focus is on fresh seafood and classic Mediterranean dishes. We recommend the fresh catch of the day which the waiters bring to you before cooking, so you know you’re getting it super fresh. Cooked to perfection on a grill, the king crab and langoustine is light and fresh and just the thing you need in the heavy hot climate. 

But don’t let the catch of the day distract youstart off with some of the finger food options. We particularly recommend the tuna over tunagorgeous chunks of tuna tartare mixed with a heavenly creamy mixture of passionfruit mayonnaise and coconut cream and the best cauliflower you have ever eaten: the cauliflower in seaweed bread crust (which is meant to be shared but to be honest, it’s so good, one person could demolish the whole thing). The drinks are great too with some fantastic cocktails (the Raspberry Rita and Lady Boss are life-changing) as well as some great (non-alcoholic) homemade iced-teas. There’s always room for dessert and the best thing is to try a little bit of everything so the dessert platter is a must. Highlights are the roasted pineapple chunks infused in marigold honey and the chocolate and sweet potato tart.

Our favourite thing about La Vigie was that after a meal, guests can choose to stay at La Vigie’s sunbeds and dip in Club La Vigie’s private beacha tranquil cove with steps leading directly into the open sea. Ideal for the more adventurous swimmers. And the best thing is everything is taken care of with warm open-air showers, towels and the cutest little cabin changing rooms nestled in La Vigie’s leafy groves. Elegant, relaxed and utterly peaceful, it’s giving White Lotus vibes (minus the murder.) 

Schön! tip: If you love seafood, it’s imperative you eat here.

Now above all, where to stay…

There are only four hotels in Monaco. Schön!’s fave? The iconic Hôtel de Paris, purely for its fabled history as well as offering some of the best views Monaco has to offer. It’s right on the Casino Square and perfectly combines incredible historical decor that’s beyond gorgeous with some great contemporary touches. Packed with a ton of character and Art Deco charm in every room, highlights have to be the picture-perfect breakfast patio and the Wellness Sky Club on the top floor with a rooftop pool, hammam and one of the best panoramic views of the legendary Monte-Carlo.

words + photography. J. Bibi Cooper.

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