Standing majestically against the skyline, the 150-year old Beau-Rivage Palace is widely acknowledged as Switzerland’s finest hotel.
When presented with an opportunity to visit this nationally renowned treasure boasting unrivalled views of Lake Geneva, I quickly packed my bags.
Despite being just minutes away from restaurants, bars and shops, the 168-room property, which lies on a four-hectare estate, is neatly tucked away behind Lake Geneva, making it a private, yet accessible retreat with an unrivalled air of exclusivity.
Upon arrival I was warmly greeted and swept into the palatial hotel, where the usually arduous check-in process had been taken care of by friendly, efficient and sparky staff.
Despite their uncompromising attention to guests’ needs, this iconic hotel also attracts local visitors who come to sample the hotel facilities - including its world class dining and state of the art spa.
The Palace, which was voted Switzerland’s Leading Hotel by the World Travel Awards in 2011, also hosts events throughout the year, with nearly half of guests staying on business.
One such event was the signature of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
A Rolls Royce convention taking place at the property during my stay made it feel as though I had stepped into a 1930s movie set.
Yet the Beau-Rivage Palace is modern, classy and elegant, with constant upgrades taking place to ensure the comfort of guests.
In 1908 the property owners recognised a need to expand, doubling its capacity with a tasteful extension – the design of which was selected from an architectural competition.
The property most recently completed a CHF100 million renovation with recent additions including new marble floors, gilt ceilings, stained-glass windows and murals.
Each room is individually designed. I stayed in the spacious Junior Suite (from CHF1,150 per night), which includes a cloakroom, a seating area and a generous balcony overlooking Lake Geneva.
The lavish king size bed – the Pièce de résistance – was wonderfully comfortable promising a great night’s sleep.
The room included all the features you would expect from a five star hotel including free wireless internet access, cable and satellite television a minibar.
The enormous bathroom included a free standing large Jacuzzi. Should you want to stay with your family it can be adjoined with the Royal Suite.
Cinq Mondes Spa
The 15,000 sq foot Cinq Mondes Spa is a definite highlight of the Beau-Rivage Palace.
This luxurious haven of tranquillity, which opened in 2005 at a cost of CHF12 million, is the first of its kind in Switzerland.
This stylish spa boasts eight treatment rooms, VIP suits, two swimming pools, a Jacuzzi, a Hammam and a fitness room.
Incorporating ancient health and beauty rituals as well as design elements sourced from Japan, India, North Africa, China and Bali, a visit to this spa is a truly revitalising experience.
Gentle fragrances welcome guests upon arrival, along with tropical rain promenade and teas to savour from around the world.
I sampled the Massage Sublime de Polynesie Delassant - which was simply heavenly.
Following this relaxing 50 minute massage, a dedicated spa lift – stationed outside the spa - transported me straight back to the Junior Suite, meaning I could float straight back into the privacy of my room without bumping into a soul.
Features like this make The Beau-Rivage a perfect retreat for the rich and famous, with previous guests including the likes of Coco Chanel and Noel Coward.
Dining is a treat at the Beau-Rivage Palace with a selection of four restaurants offering fine cuisine and truly memorable experiences.
I sampled The Café Beau-Rivage - a luxurious brasserie-style restaurant with a relaxed, sophisticated atmosphere and a large outdoor terrace facing the lake.
Its contemporary interior design draws visitors from Lausanne.
The three Michelin starred Anne-Sophie Pic restaurant, which opened in 2009, serve contemporary French cuisine.
Meanwhile Miyako Lausanne offers traditional Japanese cuisine with its Sushi and Sashimi prepared on the spot.
The newly opened ‘The Bar’ is another highlight.
With a retro-chic atmosphere, elements of this swanky hang-out are designed around original tapestries which can be spotted hanging around the hotel.
Another quirky feature is a locked glass cabinet in which frequent guests can leave their bottles until their next trip.
Wine connoisseurs should check out the wine cellar containing more than 75,000 bottles.
Mixing business and pleasure
The Lobby Lounge, complete with a terrace and view of the lake, is an ideal location for professional meetings in a discreet atmosphere.
The hotel also offers 12 banquet and conference rooms for up to 600 persons, equipped with air conditioning and access to natural lighting.
The grand ballroom is a stunning space in which hosted many weddings, including those of Phil Collins and Diana Ross.
Beau-Rivage Palace guests are given a complimentary metro pass making travel less hassle.
Located ten minutes from Lausanne’s city centre and 30 minutes from Geneva Airport, the stunning hotel is accessible from many major cities and popular with guests from Europe, Russia, USA and increasingly China as well as Switzerland.
The ski resort of Villars, with its 220km of trails, is just 40 minutes drive away.
Lausanne itself is quite a charming haunt, with a few hidden gems including the Olympic Museum and a beautiful Cathedral.
Don’t take my word for it though, the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Rita Hayworth, Charles Dickens, Napoleon and Mozart are known to have frequented its cobbled streets in years gone by.
National Milk Day was an unexpected treat, with a number of events taking place around Lausanne to mark the occasion, and free milk for everyone.
But be warned, Switzerland remains an expensive choice for a weekend getaway.
SWISS offers up to 31 daily flights from London Heathrow, London City, Birmingham and Manchester to either Zurich, Geneva or Basel.
Fares start from £98 return, including all airport taxes.
This is a leading fare and is subject to change, availability and may not be available on all flights. Terms and conditions apply.
For reservations call 0845 601 0956 or visit SWISS.
For more information on Switzerland visit MySwitzerland.