History, glamour and unforgettable moments: Le Montreux Palace, Fairmont

Seventy eight years after the Montreux Convention which marked the historical peace pact between Greece, Turkey, England, France and Russia, Turkey having invited over 500 diplomats from around the world, the legendary Le Montreux Palace Fairmont Hotel in Montreux is hosting these days yet another crucial event, the Piece Talks Convention on Syria with top international heads of state and diplomats attending, with the aim of concluding an urgent piece deal that would bring much stability to the war torn country and over 1 million people displaced by the war.

I could not help but think how such an iconic hotel can play a crucial role not only in history but also in the evolution of hospitality and the development of Montreux as one of the finest city destinations in Switzerland, today also famous for due to one of the world’s most famous and sought after jazz festivals, the Montreux Jazz Festival which takes place every summer, gathering the jazz elite at Le Montreux Palace Fairmont.

Le Montreux Palace Fairmont is also one of Europe’s finest venues for large conferences and conventions thanks not only to its unique venue offering which ranges from a classic to a modern ballroom and from an intimate boardroom to a cabaret / theatre venue, with a large stage, ideal for spectacular private events such as weddings, anniversaries or family gatherings.

However, Le Montreux Palace Fairmont is much more – it is a wonderful retreat for those seeking to relax for a Spa weekend and explore the surrroundings such as trips to Gstaad / Lausanne or a cruise on Lake Leman. But beyond its stunning public spaces and beautifully maintained rooms and suites, Le Montreux Palace Fairmont has established itself as an icon in the history of hospitality thanks to its outstanding quality of service and ability to provide a memorable stay for honeymooners after having organized their lavish wedding but also a blessed venue where peace treaties were signed during large scale conventions. Imagine the operations behind such a convention / event !

Almost a decade at the helm, Michael Smithuis, the General Manger of Le Montreux Palace Fairmont has guided and taken care of the grand old ‘lady’ into the 21st century, ideally blending the expertize of a major international chain and world class renowned Swiss hospitality. His biggest achievement is probably PEOPLE, having built a team, many of whom are with the hotel for over a decade and these PEOPLE are the ones who make things happen. It is from their passion that genuine service is extended to each and every guest whether a royal, a head of state a business executive or a most discreet individual.

Le Montreux Palace Fairmont is also about its expansive luxury Spa with a large swimming pool offering panoramic views of the lake and the Alps, not to mention a wealth of body and facial treatments which will pamper a business man, a couple or a local resident who is a patron of the hotel for many years. I was actually very much impressed by the respect locals command for this iconic palace hotel and I could easily understand why, for many of them it is their vivid memory from childhood, youth, to retirement.

Upon my departure from the hotel where I enjoyed a most personalized, warm and genuine service, I had a coffee at the brasserie of the hotel and Michael shared that two of the guests have been having coffee and reading their newspaper at the same table for more than half a century. Today, many of the locals are patrons of the hotel and appreciate its unique Sunday brunch…. Welcome to THE PALACE !

More on Gstaad, Crans Montana and Andermatt in our LUXURY IN THE SWISS ALPS 2014 series.

Oliver Petcu in Montreux