Le Montreux Palace over the years...
Once upon a time...
Montreux was just a small cluster of charming villages and hamlets on Lake Geneva, surrounded by mountains, vineyards, fields and forests. At the end of the 18th century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau chose this romantic landscape as the setting for his novel "La nouvelle Heloise". In 1816, Lord Byron discovered the shores of Lake Geneva, and his poem "The prisoner of Chillon" made Montreux and the spectacular Chillon Castle famous. Tourism took off in the 1850’s, and by the end of the 19th century, Montreux was known worldwide, thanks to its microclimate.
The first steps...
In 1881, two famous Swiss pioneers from Montreux Alexandre Emery and Ami Chessex buy the Hotel du Cygne (built in 1837). In 1895 they found the company "Le Montreux Palace & Cygne". The Swiss architect Eugene Jost builds the Palace in a record time of 18 months and the hotel opens on March 19th 1906. The new hotel is joined to the original Hotel du Cygne by the Salon de Musique, the Grand Hall and richly decorated ballrooms. The new Palace was considered a modern hotel as it offered heating, electricity and private bathrooms with hot and cold running water!
The Golden Age...
Wonderful parties such as Venetian Nights, fancy-dress balls, concerts and many other grand social occasions were held in the magnificent "Art Nouveau" and "Neo-Baroque" rooms. Guests came from all over the world: European aristocrats, Russian princes, New-York bankers, maharajahs ...A sports hall was built in 1911 to entertain the guests: The "Pavillon", housed a tea room, a skating rink and a firing range.
Between the wars...
World War 1
The hotel was used as a hospital to shelter wounded Allied soldiers. In the 1920’s, Montreux regained its former glory with the return of the rich and famous.
In 1928, the Montreux Palace took part in the foundation of "The Leading Hotels of the World" association.
On 20th July 1936, the important Dardanelles treaty (a peace pact between Greece, Turkey, England, France and Russia), better known as the "Montreux Convention" was signed at the Montreux Palace in the Salle des Fêtes.
500 diplomats invited by the Turkish Republic arrived at the Palace on 23rd June 1936. The conference should have lasted a week but lasted over a month The pact was finally signed on 20th of July at 10pm.
World War 2
The hotel was used again as a hospital to shelter wounded Allied soldiers.
|Year||Today & tomorrow...|
|1945-1950||The Montreux Palace shares collapse to 50 centimes.|
|1965||The tearoom at the Pavillon is turned into a club|
|1974||The hotel's main entrance is relocated to the south with a large modern lobby and two glass elevators allowing guests direct access to reception|
|1979||Opening of the Grand Café, the first modern all day restaurant and coffee shop in Montreux|
|1981||The sixth floor, formerly staff accomodation, is turned into guest rooms, and 3 tower suites are created on the seventh floor.|
|1984||The 1st Harry's New York Bar in Switzerland opens at the Montreux Palace.|
|1991||The Hôtel du Cygne undergoes complete transformation for the first time since its opening.|
|1994||The Pavillon is completely renovated, renamed "Le Petit Palais" and turned into a conference centre with state-of-the-art equipment|
The Montreux Palace invests again and refurbishes its southern entrance. Gone are the glass elevators and space is made for a grand staircase with a red carpet leading to reception and the gourmet restaurant La Véranda.
The former Restaurants du Cygne are renovated and turned into a nightclub.
|1998||All the rooms are re-cabled and a new communication system installed, enabling guests to use faxes, modems, new phones and televisions in their rooms. Air conditioning equipment is installed in the Hall and the Salon de Musique so that now the entire hotel is air-conditioned|
|1999||The Grand Café will be completely renovated and turned into a Belle Epoque Brasserie.|
|2001||"La Plameraie", a winter garden is built over the terrace of the Grand Hall to create a new dining area with 150 places.|
|2002||Raffles Holding Limited is taking over Le Montreux Palace. Jaan restaurant opens in July and offers a creative blending of modern French cuisine with subtle Asian flavours. Amrita Wellness, exclusive top-of-the-line complex opens in October.|
|2003||All room renovation have been completed during first quarter of the year. Jaan restaurant receives its first Michelin star in December.|
|2004||The hotel is being rebranded into Raffles Le Montreux Palace in order to benefit of the worldwide renown of Raffles.|
|2005||The main kitchen of the hotel is being completely renovated and modernized. A small terrace adjacent the Bar Rose d'Or as well as the Harry's New York Bar terrace located in the gardens of the Palace are being added to the hotel's services.|
|2006||The Montreux Palace celebrates its 100th anniversary!|
|2006||Creation of a new Presidential Suite, the Sir Stamford Raffles Suite in memory of the founder of the city-state of Singapore.|
|2007||The hotel is rebranded to Fairmont Le Montreux Palace and joins the collection of landmark hotels owned by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Group. Raffles Amrita Wellness has a new identity and is rebranded to Willow Stream Spa, a Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Spa.|
With an outstanding reputation for this kind of work Richmond International set about gently restoring and redesigning key areas of the hotel bringing these up to the standards the 21st century luxury hotel market demands. The multi-million renovation including Public Areas, 3 conference rooms, the Brasserie and over 100 guestrooms and suites have been completed after six months.
In the newly refurbished guestrooms and suites classical architectural details have been restored and an emphasis has been placed on the space and light afforded by uninterrupted views of Lake Geneva. The pale taupe walls and drapes provide a soothing backdrop to a fresh, sophisticated color palette of pear, lime and stone.
To provide guests arriving at the hotel’s main entrance with a greater sense of arrival the hotel’s main reception has been re-located to the ground floor. The ground floor also benefits from a new lobby lounge and bar which also serves as a transitional space from the lobby to the hotel’s Brasserie..
|2011||In collaboration with Richmond International 40 more rooms have been renovated.|
|2014||After Geneva, Zurich, London, and Paris Gare de Lyon, the 5th Montreux Jazz Café (and the first with its own storefront) opened its door in June 2014. It is an establishment clearly stamped with the style of the Montreux Jazz Festival’s founder: lots of wood, and a color palette featuring chocolate, red, and purple, will produce a fusion of cozy jazz clubs and the chalet esthetic. The walls are decorated with objects from Claude’s private collection, audiovisual archive footage, and black and white photos that immortalize memories from a half-century of world-class concerts.|
Work began on May 12th for a two-stage opening: on June 26th the public was able to enjoy the Montreux Jazz Café and Lounge (formerly the Brasserie of the Montreux Palace) spaces, and Funky Claude’s Bar replaced what used to be Harry’s Bar in September.
The Montreux Jazz Café is a not-to-be-missed spot where you can catch the rhythm of the Festival beat all year round, in the fairy-tale setting of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, and Funky Claude’s Bar is a great place to drop by or hang out late into the night, whether you’re local or just passing through the Riviera. Faithful to the world of Festival founder Claude Nobs, the decor and choice of materials invite you to settle in and chill out for an unforgettable moment at the best live venue in town.