Beau Rivage

  • Exclusively reviewed for Holidays in Heels by travel pros Lawrence Travel!

The Welcome

Set on the quay of the pristine Lake Geneva, this exquisite belle epoque palace hotel oozes history, charm and Swiss sophistication. The setting is serene with the lake on its doorstep and the Alps functioning as a robust backdrop. 

Entering the Beau Rivage Palace is like entering a time warp: the revolving door with doormen on either side guides you to the three story lobby decorated with balustrate floors looking up. The marble on the floor hints to former days, as well the wooden panelling on the walls. A fresh flower decoration reflects the time of year with seasonal colours and ornamental shrubs. The glass elevator is elegant, yet is in pristine modern-day condition. We are welcomed with smiles and Swiss precision as our bags are carried to our room. We decide to visit the Lobby Lounge to taste our first fine Swiss chocolate – melted, as in hot chocolate. A delightful way to enjoy our first moments in Beau Rivage Palace!

Sweet Suite

The largest suite is located on the first floor facing Lake Geneva, or ‘Lac Leman’ to the locals. In the olden days, the ariscocrats only had to walk up one flight of stairs to enter their suite. The first floor was the most elaborate, decorated floor in most Belle Epoque hotels and housed the bold penthouse suite with equally stunning views. Decorated with intricate detailing such as detailed ornaments, silk wallpapers, crystals chandeliers and colourful velours the suite highlights the best of the former era and complements that precious time with fine-tuned up-to-date amenities.

The rooms along the newly renovated wing are charming as well as a perfect fit for a romantic weekend away. Soft tones of beige, yellows and blues complements the crisp outdoor views. Don’t forget to take a calming bath and open the mirrored wall to the outdoor views – it doesn’t happen often these views can be enjoyed from a bathtub. The french doors to the balcony offer the entrance to the best panoramas as well as the most exquisite fresh air, a perfect place for a morning coffee or a late night drink. Having to admit the room design is ladylike and the marble and gold detailing in the bathroom lavish and chic, all-in-all the rooms exudes charm and the finest of sophistication for all.

Fine Dining

The hotel’s brasserie de luxe Cafe Beau-Rivage is the perfect setting to enjoy one of Vaud’s traditional dishes, fillet de perch. A delicious fish caught straight from the lake you are overlooking. The menu is fine-tuned to the international traveller yet highlights all Switzerland has to offer ‘in-house’.

A must-try experience is the gastronomy from Anne-Sophie Pic, the first woman to be voted chef of the year by the Michelin guide, and who supervises proceedings at the gourmet restaurant of the hotel. Breakfasts are lavish and healthy, with a twist of sugary danish for those with a sweet tooth – making it hard to stop at just one sticky delicacy. In wintertime the gardens capture the seasonal spirit adding a ice skating rink serving warm chocolate drinks on the side. The sheepskin decorated lounge chairs are the most comfortable to relax and enjoy an afternoon tea, or that second mug of cocoa.

Wellness

The Beau Rivage Spa Cinq Mondes is a highlight for those wanting to slow down and catch their breath. The spa menu receives international acclaim and extends its services by providing rejuvenating and revitalizing massages and facials, a his and her hammam and two pools – one indoor and one in the green palace hotel gardens.

It is here in this luxurious setting where famous folk mingles, where we are forgetting everyday routines as if time stood still and all we have to worry about is the circumpherence our crinolines  for the evening ball – if even that.  You can also take a stroll around the area: the prettiest part is the course from Lausanne to Montreux, where the lakeshore is designated to a UNESCO World Heritage site for one special reason, its vineyard. Known as Lavaux, and dating back to the 11th century, every possible square inch supports cascading terraces of vines, 10,000 to be exact. Surrounded by vast natural beauty the Vaud region holds the title “Best Roadtrip Destination” for a reason, offering World Heritage sites as well as darling mountain villages a little further afield.

For further details on the Vaud region:

www.lake-geneva-region

Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Welcome
 
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
 
The rooms
 
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
 
Eating
 
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
 
 
Location
 
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
 
Don’t miss
 
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
 
 
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at www.hotel-bedford.com
 
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450

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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

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