Although the trip to The Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland had been foreordained per a generous margin, the fact that we would only have twenty-nine hours to discover all facets of this precious gem was overwhelming. Boarding the train I felt like the hourglass had already been turned as I prepared myself to absorb all I could muster of the essence of this majestic establishment in the short time-span designated. To aid me, I equipped myself with an Autographer which is a camera hung around my neck programmed to take photo sequences every fifteen seconds and react to movement. I would let a few seconds undocumented from the trip, but not many.
Resting on its 4 hectares of gardens on the shores of Lake Geneva with spellbinding views of the Alps the Beau-Rivage Palace has attracted guests like Victor Hugo, Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel, Nelson Mandela and Tina Turner. Having opened its doors in 1861, one can only imagine all the stories this hotel could have told if it could speak.
Upon entering the gates of the Beau-Rivage Palace, one can feel an inexpressible sense of tranquility as if entering a time warp far away from daily life. Hidden somewhere far away from all, that is until one of the first people I see is someone I actually know. A very comical coincidence indeed and the surprised expression is well documented on my Autographer as he wasn’t expecting to see a familiar face either.
Having arrived early, the room was still being prepared and a stroll around the hotel area seemed inviting. The weather was beautiful and sunny leading the hotel guests out into the terrace and swimming pool areas. The grass was perfectly trimmed by loyal Husqvarna robots working full-time except for little breaks at their recharging pods.
We wandered out of the hotel area to explore the cute and colourful boutiques and cafés in Ouchy. Some of the establishments were so tiny it felt like walking through a doll village. There was no impression of this place being touched by tourism and smiling locals were enjoying a shared meal from a cauldron by the marina. The lake was speckled in numerous species of birds swimming through the reflections of sunlight as in a dream.
Feeling a bit peckish, we returned to Beau-Rivage for a lunch at Ô Terrasse in the sun. With the warm weather, the superfood salad sounded like a refreshing choice so we picked one with grilled chicken breast and the other with red, marinated tuna medallions. All accompanied with a mocktail and a substantial sized bottle of water with lemon slices. Throwing away the plans of exploration, The Beau-Rivage might just be the place to enjoy doing as little as possible.
Entering the hotel room I noticed that the Leading Hotels of the World membership had served an upgrade to a remarkable junior suite. In the center of this delicately decorated, light suite was a wonderful welcome. Presented on the coffee table was a chilled bottle of champagne, grapes, chocolate, and a cake of Gruyere cheese, walnuts and pear by the pastry chef of Beau-Rivage.
The view from the two balconies facing the lake was astounding, bathed in light transforming through the day and the majestic Alps as a backdrop. I imagined all the people who throughout the times had looked at that view and how many masterpieces it had given birth to.
Loving my baths, I was thrilled to see the size of the bath which would have probably been approved by Marie Antoinette. With its balcony and view of Ouchy the bath is a perfect place to read a book or light candles and relax. A lovely white orchid graced the space and a large loofah mitt was provided along with the bath essentials. The rain shower is also exceptionally comfortable with Bulgari red tea shower products in generous containers. I proudly admit that I did spend many of those twenty-nine hours just relaxing in the room.
The soft kingsize bed conceived the sweetest dreams even though I usually prefer a full duvet. I’m pretty sure one would have been provided upon request though and there was a pillow menu on the night stand as well.
For the breakfast we opted for the continental although there was a wide variety of choices on the menu including a generous buffet. It was a quite rushed meal as we wanted to explore the spa area before leaving. The Cinq Mondes spa was as pleasant as it gets with its two heated pools, one indoor and one outdoor. Hammams, sauna, jacuzzi, luxurious spa treatments, fitness room and about everything else you can expect from an award winning spa.
We chose to lounge in the jacuzzi for as long as possible before preparing ourselves for the train to Paris. To conclude, I must say that these twenty-nine hours seemed like several days or if one can take away the concept of time I would rest on the latter.
Considering the proportions of the Beau-Rivage Palace and the city of Lausanne, our little adventure is just one out of thousands of probabilities. I wholeheartedly recommend taking a trip to Beau-Rivage to create your own exclusive adventure.
By Maiken Lorentz
Photography by Edouard Lombard