Hotel Belvedere is a Belle Epoque hotel in Montreux on the shores of Lake Geneva. It was built by the Krugers and, in the last months of the 20th Century, it is still owned and run by the family: Vanessa, the grande dame and former opera singer; her daughter, the somewhat ailing Candice, and practical husband Thierry; Philippe, their playboy son, and Paloma the wayward daughter. Nearby, the rival Excelsior is owned by Karl Mercier, whom Candice “should have married”. There resides Dr DeBraye, a suave provider of medical services to society ladies. Below stairs in the Belvedere are Fosse the housekeeper, Concierge, Cook, and waiters and chambermaids.
As the novel opens, a goatherd’s daughter, Odile, comes down from the mountain to become a chambermaid. She faces the swirling emotions of management and staff with simple alpine good sense, and her future seems bright. But a secret from 30 years earlier emerges, when English waiter, Noel, moves from the Excelsior to the Belvedere. The hotels work towards the Millennium celebrations, as rivalries mount, mysteries surface, and romance springs. The crisis is reached as Storm Lothar descends on the lake, and one death brings clarity and resolution.