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May 20, 2009

Briatore’s Billionaires

Where to party in the world’s poshest principality.
Originally published on May 19, 2008.

So you’ve spent the last week soaking up some culture in Cannes. But unless you’re expecting a Palme d’Or, it will soon be time to move on to Monaco. This weekend the yacht parade drops anchor in Monte Carlo’s harbor for Formula One’s glitziest Grand Prix of the year (practice starts Thursday, the big show is Sunday). That’s the excuse anyway — the race is really just background noise to the fever pitch of the glamorous principality’s party scene. But this year, Monaco’s hottest dance floor is changing venues: Friday through Sunday, iconic nightspot Jimmy’z gets some fresh competition from the Fairmont Monte Carlo.

Italy’s most infamous playboy, Flavio Briatore, brings to the hotel’s rooftop terrace his Billionaire Club — or rather, a traveling version of his ultra-exclusive hilltop disco in Sardinia. Luckily, you don’t have to be a billionaire to get in, though (Briatore himself is a mere multi-millionaire). Still, it helps to have a bulging money clip, or a smoking pair of stilettoed gams. The owner is unabashed about his club’s “arrogance,” as well as his penchant for gorgeous women. (You’ve seen pictures of Heidi Klum’s fair-haired daughter? She’s not Seal’s.) But Briatore, who also heads Renault’s F1 team, insists Billionaire is about the democratization of opulent service: everyone inside is treated like a billionaire. That is, of course, if you can actually get in — and stay in. (Sorry, Bruce Willis: you should have thought twice before denying Briatore’s girlfriend a photo.)

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