Despite the financial downturn and the appreciation of the euro against the British pound, Monaco hotels have hiked their prices for this year’s Grand Prix. It is also 20 times more expensive to moor a yacht in the harbor than it was just a few years ago. US$30,000 is now the minimum for a week’s mooring for even the smallest boat.
But the hotels are most guilty of extraordinary pricing. Thursday night is now considered a Grand Prix night, whereas before it was standard rack rate, and is now three times dearer, even at the more modest establishments. It is costing teams some US$3,000 for their riggers to stay for three nights before the Grand Prix.
And the high prices have claimed their first victim. Sir Jackie Stewart, who has pretty much occupied the same suite without a break for the past 50 years at the famed Hotel De Paris in Casino Square, was told his five night stay would cost him US$75,000 this year instead of the US$40,000 he paid last year. When he put that to his employers, the financially squeezed Royal Bank of Scotland, they rightly declined the hotel’s offer.
Yacht owners have also declined to pay the higher prices being sought, and by all reports there will be a noticeable dumbing down of the event this year, as the important people that have made Monaco what it is over the years decline to pay the higher prices.
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