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The Villars Palace's history

Photo historique Villars Palace
The beginnings of tourism and hospitality
Mr. Auguste Petter-Genillard, a baker from Aigle, arrives in Villars with his wife, Fanny Genillard. He takes over the operations of the "Chalet de Villars," which was later owned by François-Philippe Roud, also known as Colonel Roud.
Auguste Petter-Genillard acquires the Clausisses plateau, at the place known as "Grand Muveran," and manages the Chalet Muveran (or Chalet Genillard). As soon as he learns that a road connecting Ollon to Villars is under construction, he envisions a spike in tourism for the Villars plateau. Visionary at the time, he consequently undertakes the construction of the Grand Hôtel Muveran.
His brother-in-law, François Genillard (Fanny's brother), builds the Hotel Bellevue on the northwestern section of the plot. Auguste Petter-Genillard later enlarges the Grand Hôtel Muveran.
Auguste Petter-Genillard builds the Anglican chapel. In 1886, he sells it to London’s Colonial and Continental English Church Society.
He builds a Catholic chapel, which gets demolished in 1955 and replaced the same year with the current church by Chanoine Henri Germanier under the Villars train station.
‍Construction of the Theater of the Grand Hôtel Muveran, under the name of "salle desfêtes", which  he first Theater of the Vaud Alps. The same year,AugustePetter-Genillard sells the estate to his nephew Charles Genillard, s
Arrival of the first train Bex-Villars and construction of the station of Villars.
Creation of the first ice rink in Villars by Charles Genillard. Several activities are proposed to its customers: curling, figure skating, field hockey...
Charles Genillard undertakes the construction of the Villars-Palace and appoints Edouard and Charles Borel as the architects. The project launches in May and the first excavations begin in the fall.
24 décembre 1913
The Palace opens its doors and welcomes its first guests. With a capacity of 250 beds, it provides all the comfort of modern living of the time: central heating, hot and cold running water, telephone in each room, electricity, elevators, and even the start of room service. Guests were also offered a wide variety of activities: bowling, billiard, ice skating, sledging, and skiing, as well as a theater, a bar and an orchestra in terms of entertainment. At the time, the Palace was the fifth largest palace in the Vaud Alps.
On January 7, a block of ice falls from the roof of the Palace's marquee on Charles Genillard, who dies on the spot.
Construction of the Villars-Palace swimming pool and sports building. The swimming pool was one of the largest pools with a slide and diving board in Switzerland at the time.
1946 - 1952
To modernize the Palace, the Bellevue Hotel, and the Grand Hotel Muveran, major renovations took place. During these renovations, a fire broke out under the roof of the Grand Hotel Muveran, and it was demolished soon after in 1952.
The Club Méditerranée
The Villars-Palace is bought by the Club Méditerranée, and the Bellevue Hotel is used as housing for the Club Méditerranée staff.
Acquisition of the Palace by Jérôme de Meyer and Marco Dunand. The property includes: the Palace, the Bellevue Hotel, the Buvette, the ski slope, 85,000m2 of land, as well as the high-altitude restaurant Les Bouquetins, renamed the "Crumbs Café."

After 3 months of renovations, the Bellevue Hotel opens its doors to the public under the name of Villars Lodge.
Acquisition of the Eurotel Victoria, which was built in 1894, expanded around 1940, demolished in 1972, and rebuilt between 1973 and 1975.

Creation of the Villars Palace Academy.

Acquisition of the Chalet St-François. After one month of renovations, it welcomes its first guests, lovers of authentic Swiss chalets.

After 6 months of renovations, the Eurotel Victoria reopens its doors to the public under the name of Victoria Hotel & Residence.
Creation of the Villars Alpine Resort.

Creation of the Villars Institute.

The first batch of students enrolls at the Villars Palace Academy.
24 juin 2022
After 18months of renovations, the Villars Palace reopens its doors to the public.