For many people, Lausanne is synonymous with various international organisations. It hosts the global headquarters of the International Olympic Committee IOC (see the image left, somehow taken through a cloud of cigarette smoke from young Swiss walking their toddlers or simply enjoying strolling on a Sunday). Lausanne is also headquarters of EHL École hôtelière de Lausanne, and location of many fine luxury hotels. Take Beau-Rivage Palace, says the gal. It has been here since 1861, when it was built by architects Jean-Baptiste Bartholoni and Achille de la Harpe, and recently an enormous amount has been spent on bringing it up to the 21st century. See a video below.
Those past big names add a back-story to the hotel that is now owned by the mighty Sandoz Family Foundation. GM Nathalie Seiler-Hayez moved here from London’s The Connaught. “I love Lausanne, as do my two children”, she told me, as she was hosting a cocktail-dinerthe evening before the riveting one-day Window 2 The Future think-tank (see tomorrow’s Girlahead). I had arrived earlier, which meant I could power-walk along the shore of Lac Léman, and look at, if not visit this time, the IOC headquarters and museum. I needed to get back to the hotel for that cocktail buffet, which is stand-up and eat, one-bite morsels, but fortunately being Switzerland, and being Beau-Rivage Palace, the eat-standing-up food was substantial, and tasty.
I really enjoyed talking to the guests at the party. Lausanne Hospitality Consulting Chairman Ernst Brugger and its CEO, Yeti Sinh, both spoke. Onno Poortier somehow smiled, ahead of his pre-dawn wakeup for a five o’clock morning departure to start flying through to San Diego for the Preferred two-yearly meeting. There, too, were new friends Aziz and Wiqar Boolani, seen in the photo with Ernst Brugger: Aziz Boolani is Islamabad-based CEO Serena Hotels, and he heads eight hotels in Pakistan, plus one in Afghanistan and two in Tajikistan. And then I left the crowd, to enjoy just-enough hours in a really comfy bed, in room #150, a colour-coordinated pale blue haven. Bliss, the doors to both balconies open so simply that, in the morning, I can easily get out there to take deep breaths of the real fresh air that health soothsayers universally advocate.
And now it is morning, and a chic young lady in deep plum, loose trousers and a sculpted top that is OH so Nathalie Seiler-Hayez (she organised similar stylish gear for her team back in London, at The Connaught) has come in specially, to open the Technogym fitness centre 30 minutes early, specially for me (oh what luxury, but then this IS a hotel that, thanks to its GM, thinks about the consumer – my ghastly no-star cotton-wool balls changed to stylish cotton pads while I was at the cocktail-buffet last night). I have said so many times how much difference a good GM can make, and here, in the luxury hotel that is, let us be honest, the guest room for EHL-Lausanne, it is particularly apparent. AND NOW SEE ROOM 150