This Swiss school costs $180,000 a year. Here's why it's the most expensive in the world.

It’s the kind of school where parents drop their kids off by helicopter. Where afternoons are spent skiing. Where Phil Collins does a gig in the school hall.

Oh, and where several of your classmates are likely to go on to rule the world, in some way or another.

Founded in 1880, Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland is, supposedly, the most expensive boarding school in the world. School fees are the equivalent of $180,000 a year. The school’s main campus is at Rolle, with buildings centred around a chateau that dates back to the Middle Ages. It also has a winter campus in the picturesque mountain village of Gstaad. As you do.

Former students include the Duke of Kent, Prince Rainier of Monaco and King Albert II of Belgium, along with a bunch of Rockefellers and Rothschilds. Elizabeth Taylor’s children went there, along with John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son Sean.

Gina Rinehart sent her daughters Hope and Ginia to Le Rosey, and it’s where Gina met her now-ex-partner, Ryan Johnston, son of Beach Boy Bruce Johnston.

So what’s it like, having so many kids of the rich and famous and powerful in the one place? People have been sharing the breathless stories for decades.

In 1999, Paul Klebnikov wrote a piece for Forbes. “The staff cleans up the children’s rooms, serves them individually at table, even darns their socks,” he said.

“In 1984, when this reporter took a job teaching tennis at Le Rosey summer school, the kids, according to long-standing student tradition, referred to the cleaning staff as ‘les esclaves’ (the slaves); the local townspeople were termed ‘les paysans’ (the peasants).”


In 2015, two former Australian students of Le Rosey, Michelle Santoro and late PM Harold Holt’s grandson Robert Holt, shared their experiences in Executive Style.

Santoro recalled a Saudi classmate who flew their dogs to Africa for exercise. She also remembered seeing Roger Moore around the place.

“I was like, ‘Oh God, it’s James Bond.’ His son was in the school and you’d see him all the time.”

Holt described it as “a hell of an adventure”.

“Melbourne Grammar is one of the best schools in Australia and I thought I was at the top of the tree, but [at Le Rosey] there were these really cool, stylish blokes who spoke six languages each as if they were their native tongue, very sophisticated, and the girls wore miniskirts with stockings and mink coats.”

Meanwhile, The Telegraph published a story earlier this year where an Australian woman calling herself Annabel remembered her time working there as an au pair.

“Seeing a helicopter land on the football pitches with a Russian pupil stepping out with his parents, I was somewhat shocked at the in-your-face parades of wealth,” she revealed.

“One pupil had ‘I AM RICH’ planted across his jumper.”


Annabel said there were a lot of relationships.

“Many of the boarding students were renting out pretty expensive hotel rooms in Gstaad for the weekend, where they could get up to mischief without adult or teacher supervision.”

On the school’s official website, there’s plenty of info about day-to-day student life.

There are 120 teachers for 420 students. Classes are in both English and French, and there are a total of 20 languages on offer. Sports range from golf, horseriding and sailing to skiing, snow-shoeing and curling.

There’s a concert hall where performers have included not just Phil Collins but also London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

And there’s hot chocolate handed out in breaks between lessons.

To be honest, it sounds like a pretty amazing educational experience – if you’ve got a spare mill or so lying around.

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