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Hotels We Covet – Beau RivageThursday 1 June 2017
CovetED has been travelling all over the world for over two years now and experiencing some of the most incredible hotels in existence. Each of them took our heart in its own way with its particular history and charm. Now it’s time to proudly share with you Beau Rivage, one of those incredible hotels and its history.
Right in the heart of Geneva stands the most charming hotel in the city, counting already 150 years of existence. Five generations later, the Beau Rivage is still run by the Mayer family and that’s exactly a sense of familiar intimacy that we feel as soon as we cross the threshold and are welcomed by the impeccable staff. Nowadays, the hotel is managed by Alexandre Nickbarte, who kindly showed us around the hotel.
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Throughout the hotel, we can find unique artefacts from the past, such as very well preserved staff uniforms from the beginning of the 20th century and original fireplaces that recall us golden days. In the second floor, we were shown two beautiful rooms that have been kept almost the same along the years, with only a few changes, to offer modern amenities required for modern times. They are both overlooking the Mont Blanc and the snowy mountains, as well as the famous Jet d’Eau water fountain. In one, we found a painting of the Maharaja of Patiala, Yadavindra Singh, which was offered the Mayer family by the Maharaja himself, after staying in the hotel for the Geneva Convention in the 1920’s. We can see the Maharaja pictured in all his glory, with a diamond covered turban, crown and necklace.
“The diamonds were used as a form of protection. So, the Maharaja believed that the more diamonds he wore, the more protected he was”, Mr. Nickbarte explains, adding that there was a lot of expectation when the Maharaja arrived – “the staff was expecting to see him dressed in his grandeur but he arrived dressed in a completely normal European fashion for the time. Everybody was a bit disappointed” he laughs.
But the Maharaja is not the only celebrity to have experienced the Beau Rivage over the years. Empress Elisabeth of Austria, and Queen of Hungary, famously known as Sissi, along with numerous other crowned leaders, heads of state and individuals of international notoriety, have left their imprint on the history of the hotel. We can see it not only through memories like the Maharaja’s hanging on the walls but also through small treasures like the big check-in book from the beginning of the 20th century, very well preserved with hand written records of all the guests who stayed at The Beau Rivage. The proveniences are astonishing! Distinguished guests from all over the world, the five continents, favoured this hotel as their home away from home, in Europe, which is something of great importance, since, at that time, it took several days to travel from one side of the Atlantic to the other.
The hotel is full of history, for sure, but it’s beautiful to see how the past was so well preserved and perfectly merged with the future to be able to always correspond to the guests’ needs, whichever the era. In 1873, for example, Beau-Rivage installs the first elevator in Switzerland, one of only three existing in the world. After four years of the enclosure during the Second World War, the hotel reopened and made the first renovations of the post-war and contemporary era.
Fast forward, and 2017 arrives with eight brand new top-floor unique suites, including six duplex apartments ranging from 100 to 150 square metres and two apartments of 150 and 250 square metres. All with a unique style, a private spa bathed in daylight, exceptional views, unique volumes and an extremely comfortable bed from which you can admire the stars if you wish. The new suites were created by top interior design firms Pierre-Yves Rochon and Leila Corbett Elwes.
A special note to the cuisine. CovetED was presented with a superb dinner from Le Chat-Botté, the restaurant lead by Michelin-starred chef Dominique Gauthier, known for his exquisite cuisine, its closeness to nature, the sense of wonder and memories it evokes, with roots in childhood. Natural products of the finest quality, Mediterranean colours and scents, simple yet so delicious dishes and handmade desserts were the perfect ending to a long day for us.
Beau Rivage is a member of the select club “Leading Hotels” of the World. We were impressed not only by the excellence of the service we witnessed but also by the richness of its past and the way the hotel breaths this richness through every wall while offering the best amenities from modern times.