You can’t stay closer to the epicentre of the Montreux Jazz Festival than Le Montreux Palace. The grand Belle-Epoque hotel is opposite the Festival site on Avenue Claude Nobs, the road named after the founder of the festival. Built in 1906, it is an imposing yellow architectural complex with rooms overlooking Lake Geneva. Built by Eugène Jost the façade is typical of 1900 architecture with combinations of balconies, verandas and bow-windows that are reminiscent of baroque palaces. Inside paintings, sculptures, furniture and chandeliers create a refined atmosphere in the grand public rooms. It’s the sort of place where Nabokov could have lounged languorously whilst writing his novels. Oh, hang on, he did.
View from my room over Lake Geneva
Breakfast in the first floor Palmeraie is a huge buffet affair with plenty of healthy options such as melon and porridge. These are easily avoided whilst you load your plate up with pastries and bacon. On fine days you can eat out on the terrace, grab a complimentary copy of Le Temps and sip a cappuccino whilst pretending you understand what you are reading.
There are several restaurants in the hotel, the ground floor Montreux Jazz Cafe having a changing menu. At lunchtime the asparagus vichyssoise was beautifully served at the table, the thick green soup drowning the liquorice and crispy vegetables at the bottom of the bowl. The assiette de legumes impressed visually with its arrangements of brightly coloured vegetables and chanterelle mushrooms.
Personally whilst in Montreux I couldn’t resist a dip in the lake, but if you prefer your swims more sedate the hotel’s Willow Stream Spa includes both an indoor and outdoor pool along with a jacuzzi, hammam and sauna.
The views from the lake-facing windows are stunning, the food is impeccable and the concierge is so helpful he’ll charge your phone for you if your iPhone charger stops working the moment you arrive in Switzerland… Used as a film set and for illustrious political gatherings Le Montreux Palace is one of Fairmont’s most elegant hotels.
The Flaneur travelled to Switzerland with SWISS airlines. Check and book their flights here.