An evening at BUDDHA BAR, MONTE CARLO
Having a flight to Rome the next morning and a few hours to kill before calling it an early night, a friend and I fancied a quiet Thursday evening as we walked past the luxurious streets of Monte Carlo. Imbibing this splendid sight as the buildings slowly disappeared into the background one by one, the pavilion.. Café de Paris.. the casino; soft tribal music slowly filled the air as we neared Buddha Bar. Despite having been there innumerable number of times, the first second when you lay eyes on Buddha Bar is always a pleasant experience. Gasping at the beauty and greeted cheerfully by the bouncer as he unclamped the velvet rope to let us in. We took the stairs that were lit by candles on either sides, acknowledging every waiter that passed by, in reciprocation.The hospitality was heartwarming, really.
We were led into a luxurious hall with high ceilings and a grand decor of red and gold inspired by rich asian culture. Towering over the hall was a gigantic statue of meditating Buddha which I was told was brought in directly from Asia. Despite this massive decor, there was a feeling of coziness and calmness. Probably because of the Buddha and dim lighting, I thought to myself. We took a table near the patio heater at one of the open air terraces that had a breathtaking view overlooking Monaco. We ordered a glass of champagne for my friend, rosé for me and a kiwi & mint flavoured sheesha in a grape fruit bowl to begin with.
Fumes of sheesha and Marlboro double switch mixed into the chill spring air and heavenly beats played in the background as we sat there conversing. From time to time we sat in silence, enjoying the view, the music, the drinks, the crowd, just everything! As I saw the Odéon tower from afar and at the city I had wished to live in for years, right in front of me, a feeling of contentment and happiness filled my heart. A group of people standing at the entrance burst out laughing as they were joined by an elegantly dressed couple. As the ladies flaunted their Louboutins and birkins and the men, their custom made suits and fancy watches, they all looked very accomplished. The kind of accomplishment I was hoping to achieve. Someday.
The Buddha Bar brand under George V Entertainment group now has around 25 worldwide establishments since 1996. Their expansion strategy seems to be at a steady pace. Marrakech, Abu Dhabi and Caracas being their recent launches in 2016. With the in-house compilation of music and basic framework of decor, for all their establishments, the brand has set a benchmark in the concept of lounge, bar and dining; all combined into one unique experience. I say unique, because I look back a year and a half later and remember every single detail. Like it was yesterday.