< SWITZERLAND | LAUSANNE: Beau-Rivage Palace
Intimately bound to the development of the small port of Ouchy, the history of the Beau-Rivage Palace began in 1857, the year when the local
consortium bought back extensive tracts of land from the Allott family. Achille de la Harpe and Jean-Baptiste Bartholoni won an architectural competition for
building this magnificent hotel and the Beau-Rivage Hotel opened four years later on 24 March 1861.
From the start the grand salons with 18th century frescos were home to lavish balls and galas. The unique site, the elegant furnishings and the quality of service quickly earned the hotel international recognition.
Necessary expansion led to the construction of an annex, called “Le Chalet” in 1864. In 1908, the Palace wing, inspired by the neo-baroque movement and integrating
key elements of Art Nouveau, was added to the hotel by architects Jost, Bezencenet and Schnell. It was connected to the Beau-Rivage by La Rotonde (decorated by
Diekmann) which served as a classical dining hall. Zurich artist Haberer painted the frescos in the Rotunda. Chiara, who created the stained glass windows at
the Ritz Hotel in Paris, was responsible for the stained glass windows around the hotel’s main staircase. The luxurious décor and neo-baroque design attracted
guests from around the world.
The First World War caused a temporary end to this splendid era of decadence. The hotel became a haven for refugees, many of whom were previously well-to-do guests who because of the situation were occasionally forced to leave their baggage behind as payment upon departure. After the onset of peace the Beau-Rivage Palace quickly rediscovered its magnificence and the hotel’s atmosphere inspired Albert Cohen to write Belle du Seigneur. The hotel also was host to several key international conferences, including, the signing of the armistice ending the war between Italy and Turkey in 1912 and the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 with Lord Curzon, Poincaré and Mussolini.
The Beau-Rivage Palace is now a private company; the Sandoz Family Foundation is the main shareholder. A major renovation of the hotel commenced at the beginning of the 1990’s with the goal of preserving the hotel’s authentic character and guaranteeing the excellence upon which the establishment’s impeccable international reputation was based. The first phase of the renovation lasted ten months. As one of Switzerland’s most important historical landmarks, the renovation was made in close collaboration with the Swiss Service of Historical Monuments.
The complexity of the project necessitated the assistance of countless specialized craftsmen and artisans in order to restore the cupola of the grand salon, the extraordinary murals and paintings and the ceiling of the Salle Sandoz – not to mention the frescos, stained glass windows and other historical items. The second phase of renovation involved an investment of some 100 million Swiss Francs for renovating and furbishing the 169 rooms and suites. The Cinq Mondes Spa, inaugurated in the fall of 2005, cost some 12 million Swiss Francs (approx. €8 million) and is the first of its kind in Switzerland.
Additional literature: n/a