< FRANCE | ANNECY: Impérial Palace
In 1912, René Leyraz purchased plots of land on the banks of Lake Annecy with the firm intention of building a luxury hotel. At the time, the people of Annecy could not
imagine that this would be the start of the remarkable history of the Imperial Palace.
A year later, on 14 July 1913, the Imperial Palace opened its doors. The first guests were fortunate enough to discover a Louis XVI style restaurant and Empire lounges. Forty high-society Americans attended the inauguration evening. This luxury hotel immediately became an enthusiastic success with the crowned heads and famous people of the world - from the future George VI to the Sultan of Morocco, not forgetting Winston Churchill, Edith Piaf and Charlie Chaplin. However, not long after its inauguration, the Imperial Palace was held back by the outbreak of the 1914-18 war.
By the Fifties, the first signs of decline appeared - the hotel began to lose money and saw its last seasons. In 1958, to keep the Imperial Palace afloat, the owners decided to sell the hotel as an apartment building. However, the City opposed this venture as it was afraid this exceptional site might disappear. On 8 September 1965, the doors of the Imperial Palace finally closed and it foundered into its memories.
In 1967, the Town purchased the entire Imperial Palace site, that is to say, the building along with the land. From then on, all projects were to include two obligations: non-privatisation of the park and conservation of the Imperial’s building itself. None of the proposals of potential buyers met these requirements and were rejected.
On 26 October 1981, a fire raged through the roofs and inside of the building. Open to the winds, with rainwater leaking through, the Imperial Palace was still awaiting renovation. The City then drew up extremely precise specifications to launch the renovation of the hotel.
A panel was set up to examine the packages submitted for the building renovation projects. Three out of five proposals were selected. However, on 20 October 1982, the panel declared that none of the three proposals were satisfaying.
In 1984, research carried out by Bernard Bosson, the Mayor of Annecy at that time, proved fruitful as the German group, Jung, seemed to be the long-awaited buyer. The contract between Annecy and the main shareholders of the Jung group was finally signed in 1987. Building work was to start on 17 June 1988. During the years of renovation work that ensured, the Jung group withdrew in favour of the Hopf group.
On 15 December 1990, after 2 years’ renovation, the Imperial Palace rose up from its ashes in the form of a high-class hotel complex in line with market trends but still keeping to the classic hotel tradition. The Imperial Palace is now a hotel with a threefold focus: congress centre, hotel and casino.
On 1st August 2013, La Clusaz PVG Group became the owner of the Société Gestionnaire de l’Hôtel-Casino-Centre de Congres de l’Impérial Palace**** (the hotel administration company).
Additional literature: n/a