Hotel Helvetie Montreux

Every once in a while you come upon a hotel so unique, you have to come back again and again in hopes its magic rubs off on you a little bit. Hotel Helvetie in Montreux, Switzerland is part-hotel, part-art gallery and part-music studio. Not just any music studio, but a state-of-the-art facility where major artists record – this is especially popular during Montreux’s annual jazz music festival every July. In so many ways, this boutique hotel has captured Montreux’s soul and is an inspiring place for artists to come create. That’s what I told myself while I sat for hours in corners reading and playing the piano (badly!).


The Welcome

No, this isn’t the red carpet staircase that leads to the Cannes film festival, but you will feel every inch the star as you take this stairway to heaven – i.e., the lobby. Don’t worry, there’s an elevator on the side for your luggage that you can accompany if you’re lazy.


The lobby has striking wooden decor and wide windows that make the best use of natural light. By evening, this is a wonderful place to sit with a cup of hot cocoa and read if its raining outside.



Sweet Suite

The rooms are large by European standards, and if you’re lucky you’ll get a view of the lake, snow-topped mountains, and the village across the lake. You’ll feel like you’re staying in the guest room of a wealthy Swiss family thanks to the period-feel of the place. I wanted to put on a gown, feather in my hair, and bring a fan to dinner.


Each room has a slightly different look and feel – this one had a tribute to the jazz festival.




There’s a casino across the street that serves interesting food… like zebra steak… but if you’re looking for a great meal and ambience, La Brasserie in the hotel serves delicious fare with a casual, fun vibe. It’s a great spot for lunch during the day or a drink at night.




Let’s Make Music

Sure, a karaoke room may be the only place I’ll sing in public just to be silly, but there’s something about this masterful recording studio that made me appreciate the hard work that goes into creating beautiful music. Maybe part of the reason I keep visiting this hotel is a chance to run into a celebrity recording something live (Hey, Christina Aguilera check this out! :D)




Montreux is all about elegant, understated charm.  Walk the streets in this gorgeous outfit and pose prettily next to swans in the lake for a photo made for Instagram heaven.




Pink blouse
165 AED –

Weekend Max Mara shawl collar coat
1,655 AED –

Balmain high waisted trousers
1,775 AED –

Jennifer Lopez faux-fur boots
145 AED –

Michael Kors handbags tote
550 AED –

Anne Sisteron yellow gold ring
5,070 AED –

Betsey Johnson post earrings
130 AED –
Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
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.
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.
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
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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