On Friday April 13, 1865, Jean-Jacques Mayer finally inaugurated the Grand Hôtel Beau-Rivage et d’Angleterre, a shining example of the Baroque aesthetics of the day. Perched in the heart of Geneva, with a breathtaking view of the famed water jet, the city’s legendary attraction, the Hôtel Beau-Rivage promises “soft, marvelous” nights in the words of Laetitia Casta. Within a refined atmosphere and an aesthetic where time seems to stand still, the Beau-Rivage and its views of the gardens, the lake, or the Alps is in invitation to serenity in the heart of Geneva, far from the hustle and bustle that comes with being in an urban metropolis. The Beau-Rivage quickly took off as an adventure in Genevan hospitality, integrating the latest technologies before the rest. The hotel became the go-to retreat for illustrious personalities and a figurehead for luxury hotels.
In 1898, it was Empress Elizabeth of Austria, more known by her nickname Sissi, who brought the legend to life. It was indeed in Geneva during her stay at the Beau-Rivage that she was assassinated on September 10th, on the Quai du Mont-Blanc. Within the suite that today bears her name, the Empress takes one last bow through the work of Fanny Mayer. Other notable clients have included the Maharaja of Patialia, or the Shah of Iran… This palace is a veritable cabinet of curiosities with artistic objects collected for over 150 years that demonstrate a fascination for taste, beauty, and the impromptu. In 1987, Sotheby’s set up their European headquarters here, and just for their arrival, a special sale of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels was put on.
The third generation of Mayers took it upon themselves to democratize the Beau-Rivage’s gastronomical aspects. And so they opened the restaurant the Chat-Botté – the first hotel restaurant in Geneva to open to the public that quickly earned its first star in the Michelin guide in the process. In the 70s, the fourth generation arrived and gave the hotel a breath of fresh air by keeping with the hotel’s heart and soul while developing its luxury through gracious new technology. In 1990, for the 125th anniversary of the Beau-Rivage, a fountain was installed in the Atrium, the legendary Lobby Bar that still maintains its original decor from 1865. This year, the Beau-Rivage is celebrating 150 years of history.
The hotel is inaugurating new terraces with a breathtaking view over Lake Geneva, while the palace also becomes a choice holiday destination for Angelina Jolie, Karl Lagerfeld, Brad Pitt, and Catherine Deneuve. Jacques Mayer confides: “I’ve obviously received many personalities. But the one that left the biggest impression on me was dissident writer Alexander Soljenitsyne, who came here after his expulsion from the USSR in 1974.” The Beau-Rivage will no doubt once more see history be made… but unique and unforgettable experiences are also bound to be lived out in this exceptional place.
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