The town of Montreux on Lake Geneva just has that je ne sais quoi. Perhaps it was the excitement of my first day in Switzerland, but it seemed like more. The town is reminiscent of Monaco or Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic with a small feel yet old world glamour and all with their signature casino. Montreux is known for its yearly Jazz Festival, which was actually right around the corner. I learned this after planning my stay here around the Fairmont Montreux Palace. This Accor property is a sight to behold with its origin dating back to 1906. It exuded good vibes with a commanding presence directly looking onto Lake Geneva.
After Fairmont merged with Accor, things changed, but some of the great benefits still remain. If you are a platinum member with Accor, I want to talk about some of the perks that I find the most enchanting. You will be offered a room upgrade, if available, upon check in. Two drink tickets are provided for a welcome beverage. Fairmont properties typically have a great bar on property with innovative cocktails. The Fairmont Montreux Palace was no exception. In addition, with platinum status you receive two suite upgrades per year. This can really be a huge benefit if you utilize them to your advantage. I feel that I did just that with a suite upgrade in Montreux. We booked the Bellevue suite at about a $1500 dollar discount from the advertised price. With status, we were provided with a free upgrade to their Freddie Mercury Suite. This room was spectacular with the balcony being literally on the roof. The hotel provided a lovely welcome amenity of a fruit plate, small plate of gourmet chocolates, and half bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
I recommend splurging for a room with a view of the lake. The view in photos was just too gorgeous for me to deny. This property has guest rooms on seven floors. The elevator will take you to floor six, but if you stay in one of the suites, there is a separate staircase to your room. The Freddie Mercury Suite had a personal staircase up to the room. This suite was so roomy with a separate living area with couch, table, and desk. The windows were small, which was a little disappointing considering the view. However, once I stepped on the balcony, my disappointment really melted away. There was comfortable patio furniture with a large umbrella for shade. I could have spent my entire stay on this balcony alone. The bedroom did not have a view in this particular suite. There were small windows you could open for the perfect breeze to cool the room. The bathroom included a shower and separate tub well equipped with Molton Brown products.
The property is deceptively large with the spa on level -1 extending under the park across the street. It is difficult to describe; however, there are daylight windows in the park, where you can look into the spa. This extends the spa portion of the property almost to the lakefront. You can enjoy lounge chairs almost directly adjacent to the lake if you are a hotel guest. The spa is pretty alluring with an indoor pool and hot tub. Nearby is a terrace to enjoy food and drink from their restaurant. There is also a female/male lounge area with large comfy chaise lounges and saunas. The remainder of the amenities were separated with another whirlpool, cold bath, hammam, and sauna. The spa facilities are open daily from 6:30am to 10pm.
For food, the jazz cafe and lounge bar are located off the main lobby. If you walk through the restaurant, you will arrive at Funky Claude’s Bar. This is another great place to utilize a welcome drink. I tried a tiki style cocktail served in a skull glass. The decor is classic with a large wooden bar and multiple areas for seating. For dinner, we went off property to one of the recommendations provided by the hotel called La Rouvenaz, which was about a 10 minute walk from the Fairmont. The hotel was very attentive to a couple of emails sent prior to our stay. They replied promptly and provided me with dinner options in addition to more information on the nearby Lavaux vineyards. Some of their other dinner recommendations included Le Victoria, Le 45, La Maison Deccoterd (2 Michelin stars), and Ze Fork.
If you are looking for something to do in the area, I recommend starting with a walk along the lake. It is breathtaking! There is art along the river along with perfect floral landscaping. You can walk all the way to the casino and try your luck gambling. There were people jogging along the lake, enjoying a glass of wine, and just sitting to take in the beauty. This is a great location to start your adventures around Lake Geneva. The following sights are under one hour from the Montreux property: Chillon Castle, the town of Vevey, Lausanne, and the vineyards of Lavaux. You can make the Fairmont your hotel for multiple nights or use it as a stopping point to start making your way around Lake Geneva perhaps all the way to Geneva.
For my first night in Switzerland, the Fairmont Montreux knocked it out of the park. This property was delightful. I would absolutely return for another stay. The spa, restaurants, and beautiful Lake Geneva could keep you captivated for days. The location allows for a number of great day trips around Lake Geneva. If you are planning a shorter trip to Switzerland, there is plenty of time to include Montreux in your itinerary!