Since we are staying here at this wonderful place I decided I should at least know a little something about it!!! It is definitely one of the fanciest hotels we have stayed at and it is somewhat intimidating to find your way around but I am managing. Of course the hotel staff is amazing and they all speak English so it is much easier to get questions answered than it seemed to be in Italy. I am sure it is part of the “culture” here in the hotel since they cater to so many different nationalities to be friendly and accommodating!
So what I can find out about the history of this place is the following: the history of the Beau-Rivage Palace began in 1857 when the local consortium bought back large amounts of land from the Allott family who were English. Achile de la Harpe and Jean-Baptiste Bartholoni won an architectural competition and this hotel opened 4 years later in 1861. The grand salons with their 18th century frescos held lavish balls and galas and because of the location and the lavish furnishings and service the hotel soon became internationally known.
Expansion in 1864 added Le Chalet and in 1908 the Palace wing was constructed which featured key elements of the Art Nouveau style. It was connected to the wing by La Rotonde which was a classical dining hall. Frescos by Haberer were painted and stained glass windows were created by Chiara who also did the stained glass at the Ritz in Paris.
WWI caused a bit of a temporary end to the lavishness and the hotel became a refuge for many former well to do guests who had to leave their baggage as payment upon their departure. With peace came the resurgence of the magnificence of the hotel and it became the host to many international conferences including the signing of the armistice ending the war between Italy and Turkey in 1912 and the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
Today the Beau-Rivage Palace is a public company with the major shareholder being the Sandoz Family Foundation. More renovations began in the 1990’s and again in 2008 with the intent of preserving the authentic character and reputation of the establishment. The Cinq Mondes Spa opened in 2005 and more updating and renovations continued in 2008 adding a Lobby Lounge (where I had tea!) and the Anne-Sophie Pic —-the only French woman to currently hold the Michelin’s Guide 3 star rating.
All in all a spectacular place and I feel like a real tourist–but hey—I am and I am going to enjoy it to the fullest while Chris takes his course. Which, by the way, is going well. He got home just before 10 last night so it was a long day but very worth while and with 25 leaders in Assa Abloy from all over the world it is a very interesting experience for him!