Montreux Palace

The Montreux Palace

Fairmont Montreux Palace

Fairmont Montreux Palace

The historic building is recognizable through its striking yellow awnings – a hotel with a fabulous past that still continues to charm visitors travelling to the exquisite Riviera town of Montreux. It all began in 1881 when two Swiss Hoteliers Alexandre Emery and Ami Chessex bought the Hotel du Cygne built in 1837, enlarged the hotel and founded the Montreux Palace in 1906. Standing majestically along the shores of Lake Geneva the Montreux Palace was one of the first luxury hotel that offered modern amenities such as electricity, private bathrooms with hot and cold running water. From the European aristocrats, Bankers to the Majarajahs of India, the Montreux Palace became the jet setting place for the rich and famous. The lavishly decorated Halls were used to host fabulous balls attended by famous guests from around the world. The legacy of its golden days of Montreux Palace still lingers along the corridors leading to magnificently decorated rooms. Memorabilia of the hotel can be seen in glass cupboards along the pillared Grand Hall. In 1911 a special sports hall with a skating ring, a firing range and a tea room was built to entertain hotel guests. Today it is renamed “Le Petit Palais” and used as a conference centre.

The Grand Hall and the North entrance to Hotel de Cygne

The Grand Hall and the North entrance to the Hotel de Cygne

Walking around the hotel is like travelling back in time and I could just imagine the golden years where elegance and sophistication dominate the life style of luxury travel. Here I am having my early breakfast at the Palmeraie the winter garden restaurant to begin my journey at the remarkable Montreux Palace.

Le Palmeraie restaurant

Le Palmeraie restaurant

A journey back in time through old pictures of Montreux Palace taken before the wars.

Old pictures of Montreux Palace (Arch. Montreux Palace)

Old pictures of Montreux Palace (Arch. Montreux Palace)

Some of these stunningly decorated rooms are now used as banquets, meeting rooms – a great place to host important events. The Salle de Fêtes adjacent to the Grand Hall is probably one of the most impressive with its lovely frescoes and lavishly decorated stained glass domed ceiling. In 1936 it was used as a ceremonial place for the signing of the Dardanelles Treaty (peace pact between Turkey and Greece) where 500 diplomats attended the meeting. More recently the International Francophonie summit in 2013 and the Middle East Peace conference were held at the hotel.

The Salle des Fêtes and banquet rooms of the Fairmont Montreux Palace

The Salle des Fêtes and banquet rooms of the Fairmont Montreux Palace

The Montreux Palace was home to the rich and famous. Sarah Bernhardt used to stay and so did Richard Strauss who used to come during the winter months to compose his music. The hotel was often used as a movie location as well. But among the many celebrities was the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov who in 1961 after writing his award winning novel “Lolita” takes up residence in the Cygne wing where he lives until his death in 1977.

Vladimir Nabokov Suite and the novelist in Montreux Palace (Arch. Montreux Palace)

Vladimir Nabokov Suite and the novelist in Montreux Palace (Arch. Montreux Palace)

Montreux Jazz Café and Funky Claude’s Bar, two of the recently opened restaurants and bar lounge at the Montreux Palace are certainly not to be missed when visiting the riviera town of Montreux. Founded in 1966 by Claude Nobs, the Montreux Jazz Festival has attracted audience and great artists from around the world. Many of these artists stayed at the Montreux Palace including Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Georges Benson, Al Jarreau, James Brown, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton and Freddy Mercury who became long staying guest. The fruitful encounter between Claude Nobs and Peter Rebeiz of Caviar House & Prunier had brought forth to the creation of a festive Café in a Jazz ambiance of the Festival. In 2008 the first Montreux Jazz Café opened in Geneva then another in Zurich, London, Paris and Montreux. Housed in the historic Montreux Palace, the stylish contemporary design with a Jazzy touch, the Montreux Jazz Cafe is lively decorated with a display of Jazz memorabilia, in one corner a jukebox, photos from the musical history of Jazz hanging along the walls and a kimono given to Claude Nobs by Freddy Mercury.

Montreux Jazz Café at the Fairmont Montreux Palace

Montreux Jazz Café at the Fairmont Montreux Palace

The delicious food is orchestrated delightfully with generous helpings of tasty dishes. The musical menu rhymes perfectly with the opening act of river crayfish bisque fennel stirred in Absinthe liqueur followed by the main act a serenade of pan fried perch served on a bed of green salad sprinkled with flower petals drizzle with tartare sauce and accompanied with french fries. As for the after concert dive in with the glorious Ella’s cheese cake – a must try !

Jazz menu at the Montreux Jazz café

Jazz menu at the Montreux Jazz café

Next try out is the cozy bar with a range of Jazzy cocktails. Why not get a sip of their signature drinks, spiced apple raspberry and prosecco or Funky Claude devilish mixture of Absinthe spiced rum and passion fruit syrup.

Drinks at the Jazzy bar

Drinks at the Jazzy bar

Then it was Harry’s Bar the famous Jazz Bar opened in 1984, today it is renamed Funky Claude’s Bar in honor to Claude Nobs founder of Montreux Jazz Festival.

Funky Claude's Bar

Funky Claude’s Bar

After a nice historic and Jazzy walk in one of Montreux most beautiful hotel, time to relax in my lake view room.

At the Fairmont Montreux Palace

At the Fairmont Montreux Palace

Montreux Palace
Avenue Claude Nobs 2
CH-1820 Montreux
Montreux
Switzerland
TEL + 1 41 21 962 1212

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