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FRENCH SWITZERLAND The Fairmont Le Montreux Palace


Story by Ashley Johnson Photos by Megan Smith


At 8:45 a.m. a doorman with a top hat and overcoat extends a white-gloved


hand out in a welcoming gesture to two businessmen walking inside. He nods and bids them good morning as the sun rises over Lake Geneva’s iridescent waters and the surrounding Alps. T e Montreux Palace in Switzerland pampers its guests as if they were royalty through genuine service and an atmosphere that exudes luxury. Now a member of the world-renowned


Fairmont hotel chain, and the Leading Hotels of the World, it maintains its status as a regional landmark while operating under an American mission. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts dot the world with their pristine locations including T e Plaza Hotel in New York, New York, and T e Fairmont Royal Pavilion in Barbados. T e Montreux Palace has the highest working standards of the name brand Fairmont mixed with all of the old traditions of Switzerland, making it one of the best and most well known hotels on Lake Geneva.


Historic Icon “T e corridors are so wide because they


wanted to make sure two women could pass each other and their dresses would never touch,” explained Gisèle Sommer, the public relations coordinator for the palace. Every hallway and room has a trace


Left: The park across from the Fairmont is marked with statues of famous singers and authors who have stayed at the Fairmont. This statue features Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita. Top: Mr. Kad Bouchaker stands as the door man at the Fairmont Hotel. Middle and Bottom: Large halls and sitting areas exhibit the grandoise nature of the Fairmont Hotel where every space is intricately designed.


of history. T e palace was built in 1906 and was one of the fi rst hotels at that time to have bathrooms in every room and heating throughout the building. Because of this, when renovations swept through the hallways and suites, not much changed and all of the original paintings and architecture were preserved. T e


hotel was fi rst a vacation getaway for European aristocrats and then used as a military hospital for allied soldiers during the World Wars. A peek inside the Salle de Fêtes, one of


the many conference rooms, feels like a time warp into the early twentieth century. Its fanciful atmosphere with ornate high ceiling, stained glass and original murals invite the imagination to explore. T is has attracted the rich and famous for years.


Home to the Rich and Famous “One day I


looked and there were


motor heads checking in with leather jackets,” Sommer said laughing. “What an odd juxtaposition to see rockers and bikers frequent a historic palace.” Quincey Jones, Eric Clapton, Michael


Jackson, Freddy Mercury and B.B. King, to name a few, have all returned to the Montreux Palace for music recordings and the annual jazz festival in town. During the Montreux Jazz Festival musicians and celebrities drop by to mix and mingle, and some have been known to play a few tunes on the grand piano in Grand Hall. Sommer reminisced about Prince playing a couple songs for guests this past December. “T ey are


all course,” treated the same, of replied Martine Reinshagen,


director of operations when asked how celebrities were treated in comparison to everyday people. “You feel at home here because a palace is a home,” Reinshagen said.


Striking Beauty and Décor T ere are 235 rooms at T e Fairmont


Montreux Palace. About 100 of the rooms are decorated in a modern, updated style and were renovated in 2008.


ALPINE LIVING 2011 | 105


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