A weekend in Montreux, between the castle & the palace

Montreux is the jewel of the Swiss Riviera. A city as beautiful, and as deeply rooted in its history as it could be. Blessed with a heavenly balance between looks and character. Between traditions and modernism. In Montreux you have the historic monuments on one hand and international musical festivals on the other. Traditional Christmas markets & contemporary art sculptures on the same promenade. You have breathtaking views from the balcony of Fairmont Le Montreux Palace and the majestic glamorous design of its Belle Époque architecture and interior.
So if you are thinking of a weekend getaway here’s our testimony from our latest weekend in Montreux and Fairmont Le Montreux Palace.

Châteaux de Chillon where princes and princesses and…prisoners once lived

Chateaux de Chillon Montreux

A visit to Chillon castle overwhelms you with a spectrum of feelings. Romanticism, Suspense, Fear, Awe. This big historic monument condenses in it remarkable symbolic events that sparked the inspiration for many artistic masterpieces. From Lord Byron’s “The prisoner of Chillon” famous poem to the Little Mermaid movie. Legend has it that Prince Eric’s seaside castle, borrowed strong cues from the Chillon Castle.
The Chillon castle was both an impressive residence for counts as well as an unbreakable prison in different times. Throughout the tour, the guide pointed out several secret passages meant to take the counts out of their bedroom so they can escape sieges or attacks.

Chateaux de Chillon cour Montreux

As we walked from one space to another, our tour guide gave us an excellent overview of the castle. Its history, key events, habits of its old residents and its secrets! We started from the underground vaults and wine cellars and moved to the bedrooms and bathrooms. Wondering through the parade halls where the extravagant events were held. The wonderful wall paintings and the stunning views make Château de Chillon definitely worth a visit.
If you want to read more about Château de Chillon, we have a dedicated article.
Our lunch break was at Restaurant La Rouvenaz, next to the promenade of the city. The restaurant serves its well-known rich seafood offerings. The seafood risotto was delicious but “La Peverada”, a typical dish of the Adriatic made up of seafoods, served with garlic croutons, was the best remedy for the cold weather!

Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, a benchmark for luxury hotels in Switzerland

Fairmont Le Montreux Palace

After Chillon Castle and lunch, we headed to Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, our host for the week-end. The hotel is a true reflection of Montreux town in its elegance and heritage, in its glamour and divinity. The palace is a marvel from outside and a piece of art from the inside. The moment you step in Fairmont Le Montreux Palace you feel in a different world, a world of luxury and serenity. A perfect pairing of Belle Époque style with modern facilities. The stunning interior, from the staircases to the chandeliers, from the halls to the passage walls, are a benchmark of elegance & style. Everything looks majestic.
Fairmont Le Montreux Palace interiorWhen we entered the suite we were truly wowed. The space is so refined and elegantly furnished. There was also a nice cute tent setup for the children. A generous display of fruits and sweets was awaiting us. So our first spot was the balcony to have a relaxing coffee and enjoy the stunning views of the Montreux Riviera.

Fairmont le Montreux Palace balconyThe location of Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, is outstanding. Right in the middle of Montreux shoreline facing the sparkling waters of Lake Geneva. While the backdrop of this luxury hotel is the soaring Swiss Alps.

The Fairmont SPA, one of the best SPAs in Switzerland 

SPA at Fairmont Le Montreux Palace

After a relaxing coffee we hit the Fairmont SPA. The passage to the SPA zone is very elegant and chic. Marble floors all the way, and walls decorated with stylish carpets and high end SPA products. The  Fairmont SPA is organised in a way to suit all. 10-12 AM on Sundays and 14-17 pm every day is splash time, so children can enjoy the pool, while the jacuzzi and sauna are adults zone. The pool is open to a nice garden through high glass windows. The setup of the hotel SPA instills deep tranquility and heavenly feeling of relaxation, making it one of the best SPAs in Switzerland.
You can chill in the jacuzzi overlooking the SPA and garden or refresh in the cool water of the inside pool. The outdoor pool was not yet open, but it seems to be a great spot for summer time and warm weather. The Hotel SPA organises also morning Aqua aerobics classes that are worth joining. For more active visitors, the fitness center of the Hotel SPA is well equipped and easily accessible, another facility which makes it one of the best SPAs in Switzerland.

Evenings at Fairmont Le Montreux palace: between stunning views, Jazz and mouthwatering gastronomy 

Sunset from Fairmont Le Montreux Palace balcony

It was so addictive to stay in the Fairmont SPA but catching the sunset from the balcony was a must. We were lucky that the sky was mostly clear except for few clouds which were a beautiful addition to the orange coloured horizon. The location of the Fairmont hotel allows to observe the Montreux Riviera from both sides. The breathtaking scenery is another reason that makes this luxury hotel, a highly recommended romantic getaway. We were mesmerised by the view, glued on the balcony as the sun haze faded away, and the lights of the city start to sparkle along the shoreline. 
The evening was remarkable! Starting with drinks at Funky Claude’s bar, adjacent to the hotel restaurant. The bartender recommended some signature cocktails and presented them in a sparkling flames show, can’t beat that!

Le Jazz Cafe at Fairmont Le Montreux Palace

Dinner at The Montreux Jazz Café, one of the hotel restaurants, was both cosy and elegant. The hotel restaurant has quite an international menu. The Saint Jacques (scallops) carpaccio and the seared foie gras are mouth-watery starters. The Lobster Linguini and Beef Fillet Rossini are super delicious as main course. The chocolate ice cream is a classic but the Chocolate Guanaja dessert is a great way to finish the meal.
A talented live band was playing contemporary music, mainly jazz, and made the atmosphere of the evening particularly special.

Morning bliss and Breakfast at La Palmeraie 

Breakfast at Fairmont Le Montreux Palace

Early views from the balcony were as stunning as the evening views but also refreshing. To start the day with such a serenity is really heavenly and boosts your energy for the whole day. For breakfast, we hit the Palmeraie, an impressive salle with glass windows and ceiling. Morning light was flooding in, highlighting the breakfast collection. A generous and very pleasant display of all that you could wish for at breakfast. From different types of cheese, to cold cuts and charcuteries, eggs and sausages, breads & croissants, fruits and desserts. The fruit & juice display was very colourful and exotic. Apart from the displayed food you can order also different egg recipes freshly made. An omelette classic is good choice but would highly recommend the eggs benedict! 
To note, the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, hosts its well-known Sunday brunch. It starts at 12 pm and it’s such a feast, displayed in several salles simultaneously. 
One remarkable thing about the hotel is their impeccable service. Unmatchable attention to details. All the staff from the reception to the restaurants, to the SPA are very attentive and highly responsive to the guests needs. This is really one of the things that makes Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, one of the best luxury hotels in Switzerland. 

The promenade and Freddie Mercury, an unfinished love story 

Freddie Mercury Montreux

A visit to Montreux Riviera is not complete without a walk on the promenade. On a nice sunny day whether winter or summer, the promenade is like a vitrine of the city. From one side you have the long row of grandiose buildings of stunning architecture, notably the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace. From the other side the blue of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) with the mountains of Savoy within eyesight, covered with a cotton like topping of snow. Few months ago, we were here for Christmas market and the promenade was fully dotted with decorated kiosks of the Montreux Christmas market. Now, with the view more open, you cannot but notice the artistic sculptures that are displayed along the promenade. 
In a prime position of the promenade you will find Freddie Mercury Montreux monument with his fist stretching to the sky.  It is said that pioneers spot potential ahead of others, and Freddie Mercury was a pioneer. He found in Montreux not only beauty but he also enjoyed its peacefulness and quiet solitude. Freddie settled in Montreux in his last years, where the rock band Queen bought the Mountain Recording Studio. He recorded his last album, Queen – “Made in Heaven” here. 

Studio Montreux

To pay tribute to Freddie Mercury and Queen, we visited the Studio. It is located few minutes walk from the statue, inside of Montreux Casino. The studio is small but worth a visit. It displays some of his memorable outfits and some of his awards and belongings. There is also the recording room where you can sit on the chair of the sound Engineer and try to sense the genius and immortality of his music.

Montreux, the haven for international music lovers

Freddie Mercury was not the only famous musician drawn to Montreux. There  are many others like David Bowie, Deep Purple and Iggy Pop who were attracted by its serenity and heavenly solitude.

Actually Montreux became famous for its International Montreux Jazz Festival, one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world. It has been running now for over fifty years and takes place across several venues for couple weeks each July.

Luxury is an experience at Fairmont Le Montreux Palace

Despite the sun, the weather was very cold on the Sunday of our visit. So we headed back to the Fairmont Le Montreux palace to enjoy our stay for couple more hours. Usually our preferred experiences are more outdoor. This time the experience of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace was simply stunning that we wanted time to slow down while at the balcony. It was a an experience to dream of and a destination to dream in. 

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