Honeymoon Romance, Weddings & Adventures at the Fairmont Montreux, Switzerland
Honeymoon Romance, Weddings & Adventures at the Fairmont Montreux, Switzerland
Every now and then we get an offer that is simply too good to refuse, and this one just so happened to coincide with my 35th birthday last February. As part of their drive to promote the Fairmont Switzerland to UAE residents, not only for holidays, but also for honeymoons and destination weddings, we were invited to experience the second to non-Swiss hospitality at one of Montreux’s most famous the hotels, The Fairmont Le Montreux Palace.
Join us as I talk you through our experience staying at this regal hotel and leave you with some breath-taking bonus pictures taken to celebrate my birthday, papped by our super talented friend and all round superstar Nora Mancini, who is a Montreux based wedding photographer (hint-hint to those of you thinking of tying the knot in Switzerland).
Getting to Montreux from Dubai
The hubby and I flew to Genève airport via Emirates Airlines. The flight was an easy one at only six hours, and by the time we had watched a film or two and eaten, we had landed in the country described by Lonely Planet as “a harmonious tableau of beautiful images…a slideshow of epic proportions.” We were not to be disappointed. From the airport, we took two trains until we reached our final destination: Rue de la Garestation in Montreux.
Situated a mere five-minute walk from the train station, the luxurious Fairmont Hotel is located on the shores of Lake Geneva, in the wonderfully picturesque, Jazz-loving village of Montreux. As part of what has come to be known as the Swiss Riviera, the hotel offers a stunning view of the lake and the Alps; a vision indeed. The hotel is situated in the centre of Montreux, meaning that some of the city’s most famous attractions are only a short walk away, providing ample opportunity to stretch your legs and embrace the fresh air.
Room & daily breakfast
The Fairmont Montreux offers 235 elegantly appointed and sumptuously furnished rooms and suites. We were allocated a lake view room, with the most breath-taking view of the Alps and Lake Geneva. Although it was a little cloudy when we arrived, by day two the clouds had parted and I was left awestruck at what stood in front of me when I drew back the curtains in the morning. Inside, our Fairmont Lake View Room featured modern and elegant décor, and was furnished with one Queen bed, a flat screen television, a working desk, coffee making facilities, and deluxe toiletries.
Upon our arrival to our lake view room, I was greeted with the prettiest bunch of rustic flowers, gifted by non-other than our friend Franceska over at Franzie’s Flower Design. Franceska lives in Dubai, but has ties with The Fairmont Switzerland, as well as the fact that her husband proposed to her while rowing on Lake Geneva…. how romantic! Franceska had seen from my Instagram account that I was in Switzerland for my 35th birthday, and swiftly arranged to have some flowers waiting for me as I arrived. I was super surprised and thought it was such a lovely gesture on Franceska’s behalf. We were also treated to a delicious belated anniversary cake, courtesy of the hotel (as pictured below).
Every morning, breakfast is serviced La Palmeraie restaurant. The restaurant is bright and airy, with yet more gorgeous views. The spread is good and caters to a variety of tastes. The staff are very quick to clear up plates, which is good, but I would not have minded if they were a little less eager to do so.
Romantic dinner for two at MP’s Bar & Grill
During our stay at the Fairmont Montreux, the hubby and I dined at MP’s Bar & Grill, a luxurious restaurant with great ambience, helped along by dim lighting and smooth music in the background. The interiors have a masculine feel at night, but are very romantic nevertheless, with featured shades of emerald and oyster embellished throughout with gold accents. The menu is packed with meat and fish specialities such as sirloin steak, entrecôte or turbot. If you order for two people you even have the chance to taste the 800-gram angus beef from Ireland or the tomahawk ribeye steak.
The staff were super attentive and we were very impressed!
Activities we recommend while in Montreux
The Lavaux Vineyard picnic wine tour
As if we were not being spoiled enough, Adam and I were treated to a wonderful wine tasting tour courtesy of Nicolas at Swiss Riviera Wine Tours. Nicolas, who is the Founder of the company, as well as a UNESCO Lavaux certified guide, has a penchant for fusion & traditional dishes with the right pairing of wine. Based in the Riviera, he’s become well aqainted with garlic & grapes. Using his beloved 1966, Riva motorboat names “Sunshine”, to visit the Lake of Geneva, Nic still manages to find the best wines & chefs of the region and looks forward to inviting guests aboard “Sunshine”. Nic is fluent in French, English, German
Nicolas promptly picked Adam and I up from the hotel in his Mercedes Benz Viano van, and we eagerly headed out for an adventure.
We drove up winding hillside roads with magical views, as Nicolas enthusiastically told us about his company and his passion for all things ‘fine wine’. After a short while, we reached ‘The Tower of Marsens’, a private family run winery /estate, which was exclusively ours for an hour thanks to the owners.
The building is a 1000-year-old medieval tower overlooking both the beautiful Lavaux vineyards and The Alps. The monks lived there and protected the abbeys below them. Now it’s a unique location with vineyards that are over 850 years old
After meeting the winery’s owner, who spoke very little English and looked a lot like Father Christmas, we sat down to test some of the company’s delicious wines, complimented by incredible cheese, jams and crackers. Not being much of a wine connoisseur myself, I learnt some fascinating facts, including that the reason why people clink glasses before a toast is because It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove that a drink was safe, it became customary for the guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would then just touch or clink the host’s glass with his own.
After our fascinating wine tour, we were treated to lunch at Le Bon Sauvage, a quaint little restaurant in the Le Baron Tavernier Hotel. Nicolas can arrange this lunch for you for a small supplement, or alternately, a “vineyard picnic lunch”is another option.
After our wonderful time with Nicolas during the winery tour, Adam and I were dropped off at the picturesque Chillon Castle, located on a small island at the tail end of Lake Geneva. The castle is one of the most visited in Switzerland and Europe, and is well worth a visit. More than 350,000 guests visit Chillon each year, to view wall paintings from the 14th century, experience the subterranean vaults and to parade the halls and the bedroom (which has been preserved in its original form) dating back to the time of Bernese rule.
The entire complex consists of 25 buildings and three courtyards, protected by two circular walls. You can tour the castle either with or without a guide, or you can opt for an audio guide.The audio-visual presentation will allow you to go back in history to the times of the Dukes of Savoy!
We decided to walk all the way back to the hotel from the castle and we did not regret it. The scenery was breath-taking; random with artwork sculpturesand topury surprised us along the way and the walk did us good!
The Best Cheese Fondant Ever – Le Chalet, Gruyere
Both Adam and I are big fans of cheese; not the 80’s type of cringe cheese, but real, mouth-watering, edible cheese, so we definitely couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the famous medieval city of Gruyere upon recommendations we found on Google.
We hopped on a train for the most scenic one and a half hour ride I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. At one point, I was honestly brought to tears by the sheer beauty of what I was witnessing. We started off on relatively sunny ground and ended up surrounded by white snow. Along the way we saw ancient bridges, towering pine trees, cows with bells and beautiful mountains. There was one quick stop before we reached our final destination of Gruyere.
Not knowing exactly where we were headed, we just followed the common path, which thankfully led us in the right direction, towards the renowned Le Chalet restaurant, where supposedly the best cheese fondue is served!
We walked up quite a steep incline in thawed snow and had a few snow fights along the way, until we finally reached the cobblestone main street and authentic houses. The city has an authentic charm and is very quaint; I felt as though we had been transported back in time.
After a mini-hunt, we finally found Le Chalet, a small wooden restaurant that was full to the brim (clearly popular). We didn’t have to wait too long however, until a cute looking older lady in a traditional Swiss apron ushered us to our corner table, which was cosy and snug! I immediately knew what I wanted and ordered their famous cheese fondue for one person, accompanied by a generous portion of potatoes, bread, gherkins and picked shallots. Adam chose the popular Croque Monsieur! I was in heaven; the cheese was perfectly warm with the perfect consistency. I loved mine and Adam ate up all of his too! We were far too full for dessert but were well fuelled up for the walk back to the train station. On our way back, we stopped for a warming hot chocolate and picked up some Swiss sweet goodies from an independent chocolatier…. YUM!
Other activities that we recommend during your time in Montreux include fishing, yachting, visiting Broc (home of the Nestle Chocolate factory!), and the stunning golf courses of Aigle.
Lunch with the Fairmont team at Montreux Jazz Café
We met up with the Fairmont Montreux team to talk all things Jazz at the famous Montreux Jazz Café. The café was born of Claude Nobs’ passion for music and fine dining. Nobs founded the Montreux Jazz Festival after training as a chef, and designed the café as a welcoming space where cuisine and music could combine in a way never seen before.
During lunch, Adam and I learnt all about the famous guests that frequent the hotel during the festival, including my absolute favourite, the late and great PRINCE!
The café offers contemporary cuisine, and dishes include their famous B.B. Burger, Coquelet Façon Quincy Jones, and the succulent Ella’s Cheesecake, which we can confirm was divine!
Bridal pampering at Willow Stream Spa
To celebrate my 35th birthday, I was treated to some pampering at the gorgeous Willow Stream Spa, situated opposite the main hotel in a tranquil setting overlooking the water and mountains. I indulged in a 60-minute personalised Deep Cleansing Facial, using Kerstin Florian products. My lovely therapist, Laure, talked me through the treatment, which left me feeling invigorated and refreshedafter 60 minutes of pure bliss. The facial included a delicious arm and hand massage.
After my massage, I took some time out in the spa’s relaxation room, which has a large window looking directly out onto the mountain! I enjoyed dried fruits and warm herbal tea as I reclined and read a magazine or two.
The spa also features a sauna, steam room and pool for those who want to enjoy facilities prior to their treatment.
Wedding Facility Tour
On our last day, Adam and I were treated to an up close and personal tour of the venue’s wedding offerings.
From the Belle-Époque Ballrooms to the modern Coupole, which faces Lake Geneva and the Alps, incorporating sparkling crystal chandeliers and a majestic staircase, brides-to-be have a wealth of elegant options for their special day. The hotel’s ballrooms are richly decorated and opulent, perfect for a show stopping wedding. Alternatively, if you are looking for something a little more elegant, then couples can consider a wedding on the green lawns opposite the hotel overlooking the lake and the Alps, followed by a reception in the hotel’s more modern addition, the Leman Ballroom.
The venue has several wedding packages available and you can view them here; however, the hotel’s events team are open to ideas and are able to tailor these packages according to your individual requirements.
The Hubby and I had a truly amazing time during our stay at the Fairmont Montreux, with the staff ensuring we both had memories that would serve us a lifetime. We hope to go back one day soon, perhaps even for the annual Jazz Festival. If you are looking for a romantic anniversary break, honeymoon or even a wedding in a cooler climate, then we highly recommend the Fairmont Montreux in Switzerland.
Want to book your Fairmont experience? Visit www.fairmont.com/montreux or email need to confirm email.
Bonus Pictures by Nora Photography
*The Fairmont Montreux sponsored our first two nights stay in Switzerland. All opinions are the author’s own and are not endorsed by Fairmont.