Formula One races feature the fastest circuit-racing cars in the world — speeding along the track at nearly 220 miles per hour — and with glamorous race locations and jet-set fans, the high-profile sporting events set the stage for luxury travel. Check out Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for five Grand Prix races that are worth a trip.
Monaco Grand Prix — May 24-27
Seventy-eight laps through the streets of Monaco on the French Riviera — plus a crowd of famous faces — make this the premier Formula One race. With a short circuit covering just 160 miles rather than the standard 190, there’s no room for error — each lap winds through the city, whizzing by a harbor filled with mega-yachts and the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo. The events begin on Thursday, instead of the traditional Friday start, giving you an extra day in the Monaco sun.
Where to stay: Monaco’s premier hotel is Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo — the majestic hostelry books up a year in advance for the Grand Prix. The guest rooms are traditionally appointed with Belle Époque-style furnishings and the hotel houses acclaimed restaurant Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse.
Canada Grand Prix— June 8-10
Montreal’s Ile Notre-Dame island is home to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve — drivers whip around the track 70 times. Popular grandstands offer great views of the track’s extreme hairpin at Turn 10. The race itself is just one part of a three-day festival — street parties and Formula One exhibitions dominate Montreal’s Crescent Street.
Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton Montreal opens its doors on June 1 after an extensive four-year renovation. A longstanding city staple, this luxury hotel will be home to celebrity chef Daniel Boulud’s Maison Boulud restaurant.
Italian Grand Prix — Sept. 7-9
Just 30 minutes from Milan, Monza hosts Italy’s Formula One race, the quickest circuit on the calendar — the single-seater cars will fly by 53 times at speeds up to 220 miles per hour. Italians call it “La Pista Magica” (the magic track) and it’s famous for a long list of legendary victories and horrible accidents. Trees line the historic track, limiting views from some of the grandstand seating; but general admission tickets let you explore portions of the track that are otherwise inaccessible.
Where to stay: The design-savvy Armani Hotel Milano opened in November — sophisticated rooms offer a calming color palette and streamlined furnishings.
Singapore Grand Prix — Sept. 21-23
Marina Bay Street Circuit is one of Formula One’s four street courses — it whips past the harbor 61 times. Singapore Grand Prix is also the only Formula One race to take place at night — giant floodlights and lights from buildings in the city’s financial center illuminate the course. The dramatic skyline views add to the energy surrounding the 3.15-mile track, which crosses over two bridges and has a pit complex next to the iconic Singapore Flyer Ferris wheel.
Where to stay: Mandarin Oriental, Singapore sits in the middle of the track, with great views of the race from either side of the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel. Sleek Asian-inspired design, a stunning outdoor pool and a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star spa make it a can’t-miss.
United States Grand Prix — Nov. 16-18
Currently under construction, Austin’s Circuit of The Americas will be the site of Formula One’s first return to the U.S. since 2007. The 20-turn track pulls together features from other tracks worldwide — super fans will recognize a few turns from the U.K.’s Silverstone, some from Germany’s Hockenheim and others from Istanbul Park. With elevation changes of up to 130 feet, the track’s distinguishing factor will be its uphill run into a tight hairpin turn.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Hotel Austin is a short drive from the 900-acre facility where the race will be held. Take in Texas-inspired décor details and the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star spa after exciting days at the track.
Photos courtesy of Monaco Press Centre and Octane Management