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Its immaculate white and majestic Edwardian facade stands up in the Annecy landscape for more than a century…

 
 
      
 

A place full of history

In 1912, René Leyvraz, Managing Director of the hotel Verdun, purchased plots of land on the banks of Lake Annecy with the firm intention of building a luxury hotel and he ordered plans from the architect of the Palace de Menton, built in 1902. At the time, the people of Annecy could not imagine that this would be the beginning of the remarkable history of the Imperial Palace…
 
Being close to the lake, the ground of the Imperial Palace is unstable. The foundations are therefore built on stilts. The construction goes fast….The Imperial Palace will emerge in less than 10 months. Spread over 7 levels, with 8000 sqm offloor and 1500 sqm of roof, the Imperial Palace counts 300 bedrooms, some of them are more than 40 sqm, and 200 bathrooms. The top floor is divided in 33 maid’s rooms with toilets.
July 14th 1913

The Imperial Palace opened the doors

On July 14th 1913, as soon as achieved, the Imperial Palace opened the doors of its ground floor and first level. The first guests are captivated when they discover the Louis XVI style restaurant and Empire lounges. Forty high-society Americans attended the inauguration evening. The finishing touches will continue until 1918, surrounded by a 41000 sqm park.
However, not long after its opening, the Imperial Palace was held back by the outbreak of the 1914-18 war.
It was not until the signing of the armistice that the "flagship" of luxury establishments knew its heyday.

The place to be
for world VIP's

The establishment then becomes the necessary stop-over for leisure of the crowned heads and famous people of the world. The list of guests, over the first 50 years, is impressive : - The sultan of Egypt, Princess Clémentine of Belgium, Princess Rustoli of Italy, Prince George of England (future King George VI), Sacha Guitry, the Peugeot family, Sacha Distel and a lot more, such as the Bey of Tunis or the Sultan of Morocco, Winston Churchill, Edith Piaf or Charlie Chaplin, ...

 

Dolce Vita by Lake Annecy

Life at the Imperial Palace follows a well-established rhythm, praised by the hotel's advertising brochure : «Three times a day, an orchestra of virtuosos play on the large terraces for music and rest lovers; for sportsmen, swimming, yachting, tennis, fishing, etc., offer activities that are as pleasant as they are invigorating».
Hotel_Histoire_1967

Highlights of the hotel history

At the beginning of the thirties, the situation leads to changes in the management of the palace: René Leyvraz sell the hotel in 1933 to the "National Union for the Mutual Insurance companies for the Pension of Veterans", while a year later, Alban Dulong, whose family is already the owner of the Hotel des Bains in Vichy and the Hotel Montfleuri in Cannes, buys the business back. In 1939, the war puts an end to the activity (requisitioning, members of the Resistance’s headquarter). In 1947, the Imperial Palace which has suffered a lot during these years of war, is restored. In 1949, it welcomes during 6 months the Tariff and Trade Conference of the ONU.

 
But the respite will be short-lived… In the Fifties, the first signs of decline appear ; the hotel begins to lose money and lives its last seasons.
 
In 1958, to keep the Imperial Palace on an even keel, the owners decide to sell the hotel as an apartment building. However, the City is opposed to this venture and decides to transform the area as green spaces, being afraid that this exceptional site might disappear,as the true emblem of the city.
September 8th 1965

The doors of the Imperial Palace finally close and the hotel founders with its memories...

The city of Annecy and the Imperial Palace

In 1967, the City gets the entire Imperial site, meaning the building and the land. From then on, all projects need to include two obligations: the non-privatization of the park and the preservation of the Imperial’s building itself. None of the proposals from potential buyers meet these requirements and are therefore rejected. Facing the property developers’ obstinacy to consider the park being a building plot, the City makes the first move and officially opens to public the Imperial park on January 20th 1975.
 
The city draws up a contract with extremely precise terms and conditions for the renovation of the hotel. it includes the restoration of the building, with the respect of the architecture, its conversion into an hotel, the creation of a congress centreand a casino.

“Burning with enthusiasm”

During all these years, the building is neglected. All openings are locked to avoid intruders….
 
In March 1981, the place is used for the shooting of the French movie "Tout feu tout flamme" with Isabelle Adjani, Yves Montand, Alain Souchon and Lauren Hutton, released in 1982. A casino room is restored as a decor in the rubble of the building’s Rotunda…. where 10 years later, the casino of the hotel will be!
 
Who would have thought that this title would be premonitory as on October 26th 1981, a fire rages through the roof and inside of the building. Open to the winds, with rainwater leaking through, the Imperial Palace is still awaiting renovation…

The hotel Imperial Palace revives

In 1984, research carried out by Bernard Bosson, the Mayor of Annecy at that time, prove to be profitable as the German Group Jung seems to be long-awaited buyer. The contract is finally signed between Annecy and the main shareholders of the group in 1987. The building works start on June 17th 1988. During the years of renovation , the Jung Group withdraws in favor of the Hopf Group.
 
The renovation works are impressive. The first step is to "empty" the inside of the Imperial Palace, by only leaving the huge outside walls, like a theater set!
September 14th 1990

First opening ceremony of the Imperial Palace hotel

After 2 years of work, the Imperial Palace, the new high-standard hotel complex inaugurated its reopening. Renovated in line with the market trend, the establishment also keeps the classic hotel tradition. The Imperial Palace has now a triple mission: congress centre, hotel and casino which opening took place in 1991
When it opens, the hotel counts 99 single or double rooms from 24 to 45 sqm, 6 junior suites around 60 sqm and 2 large suites of 76 sqm and 162 sqm. This up-market tourist equipment allows Annecy to renew with the hotel tradition as well as offering services compatible with the requirements of business tourism. A necessary asset for the economic development of the region.

Official inauguration of the Hotel - Congress Centre - Casino of Annecy

On May 25th and 26th 1991, two-days festivities in great ceremony are taking place featuring a garden-party, visit if the hotel, press corner, inauguration of the place by its godfathers and godmothers, gala dinner and brunch in front of several personalities from show-business, artists, journalists, writer such as, among them, Daniel Ceccaldi, Henri Salvador, Paul-Loup Sulitzer, André Dussolier, Bruno Masure, Carole Laure, Nicoletta, Valérie Mairesse, Mayor Bernard Bosson….
August 1st 2013

The "Groupe PVG" established in La Clusaz, becomes the owner

The "Groupe PVG" , from La Clusaz, becomes the owner of the Management Company of the Hotel-Casino-Congress Centre of the Impérial Palace**** (the hotel administration company).
Set up in 1979 by Gaston Pollet-Villard, the "PVG Group " is a family-owned company, which is today run by his son, Olivier. The group has 4 hotels in La Clusaz. (Au Cœur du Village Hôtel & Spa***** Relais & Châteaux, l’hôtel Beauregard****, l’hôtel Alpen Roc*** et l’hôtel Christiania***), 4 restaurants (Le Cinq, Le Cœur, Le Symphonie, Le Bistro) 3 tourist residences (Les Cimes*****, Les Grandes Alpes****, La Résidence**), 4 luxurious chalets and bowling in the village.

A few additional
key dates…

 
  • March 18th 2016 : creation of a 600 sqm spa with a heated pool, sauna, steam room, experience shower and treatment rooms.