Switzerland Travel Guide
The historic Royal Savoy in Lausanne, Switzerland is in the midst of a dramatic makeover, due to be completed next year. The word is out, and now early images are out, and we are sharing them with you.
The Royal Savoy opened as a hotel in 1906 and was a popular destination for royalty and bigwigs from around the world. It was built during the short-lived but highly artistic Art Nouveau period, and the hotel is both a landmark and a pride of Lausanne. Defined generally by the free-flowing curves and shapes found in nature, Art Nouveau style provides a rare context for contemporary hospitality design. The Royal Savoy has taken on the challenge with a full-out renovation and expansion that will include almost twice the number of guest rooms (196), a wellness center, and quite a new look.
The hotel is one of three properties of the Burgenstock Selection, owned by Qatar-based Katara Hospitality. They have some pretty special properties including one in particular we have all been waiting for – the Peninsula Paris. That being said, we can’t wait to see how they transformed Royal Savoy.
There is no place like Basel, Switzerland.
There is no place like Basel, Switzerland.It is one of the great cultural hubs of Europe, uniquely positioned where France, Germany and Switzerland come together. Basel has been a destination for trade fairs since the 15th century and that legacy continues today. It is the home of Art Basel, the largest art fair in the world, and Baselworld, for those of us that just cannot have too much jewelry.
Basel today is nirvana for the modernist. It has attracted some of the biggest names in architecture and design, who have collectively made Basel a living museum of design. Of course, the importance placed on design must extend to Basel’s hotels, and they do not disappoint. On March 10th, a new kid on the block will open its doors in downtown Basel – The Passage.
The last year or so has seen a number of new ski hotels hitting the slopes in perennially chic Switzerland: from the vast Asian-inspired Chedi hotel, somewhat improbably plopped on a mountainside in Andermatt by an Egyptian billionaire, to the first W ‘winter-style’ and more traditional alpine-rustic Cordée des Alpes in Verbier.
Just before Christmas, Gstaad – an haute-glam village that apparently counts Mrs. Sound of Music herself, Julie Andrews, as a long-time fan – welcomed back Le Grand Bellevue Hotel, after a year-long restoration of the original 1912 Cure House and Spa.
Anyone that went looking for some serious snow action in Switzerland over the holidays got more than their money’s worth: up to three feet of it fell within the space of 24 hours this week. So it did in Verbier, the ski resort in the country’s south-western canton of Valais, long a draw for those seeking a glamorously picturesque setting to enjoy the 4 Vallées (“Four Valleys”) with its hundreds of miles of slopes.
Mostly limited to private chalets so far, (après-) skiers have a few more accommodation options these days, including the year-old Cordée des Alpes hotel, which is where we headed for the opening of the ski season earlier this month, managing to get in and out before winter brought its much-anticipated heavy snowfall. A fifteen-minute walk from the main Medran ski lift, Cordée's first impression certainly didn’t disappoint, from the typical pitched roof and wooden balconies to the rather clever rotating carved panels lining the ground floor restaurant and swimming pool.
Ski season is in full swing: there are deals to be had, expectations to be met, and of course, hotels to be explored. In Europe, the swish Swiss resort of Verbier has been grabbing a lot of headlines, not least among which for the inevitably loud arrival of W’s first ski resort (and unsurprisingly, it has managed to find a rather in-your-face spot in town that makes it impossible to miss).
But to think that that would be all would be a mistake. To find out for ourselves, we undertook what turned out to be a rather epic journey to Verbier, one that involved nearly every possible mode of transportation as we journeyed across Switzerland over the course of a day of mishaps, including an unplanned ski gondola to make it over the finish line at 1,500m (4,900 feet) altitude and our room at the less-than-a-year-old Hotel Cordée des Alpes.
This December, W Hotels will debut their first ski resort, the W Verbier, in the heart of the Swiss Alps and two hours from the Geneva airport.
Verbier is considered one of the best ski destinations in Europe and equally famous for its party scene, so it's a fitting location for the party-centric W brand.
The property will be made up of a 123-room hotel as well as 15 full-service private residences located adjacent to the four housing chalets on the Place Blanche main square, conveniently located next to the main gondola. This means direct, ski-in, ski-out access to slopes like the 3, 330 meter Mont-Fort and 400 km of ski runs.
Also, each room includes a fireplace as well as a private balcony--what is sure to be a killer combo.
If we told you Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva first opened its doors 179 years ago (in 1834, to be exact), would you expect to find such modern design like the above inside? Probably not, but while the majority of its 115 rooms are indeed more classique, the hotel now offers something different with 18 new Loft-style accommodations.
The renovation has transformed the entire top floor of the hotel, which will have a new Spa – with rooftop pool! – opening in September. Izumi, a new Japanese restaurant, will spill out onto the rooftop terrace with views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss mountains. While they were at it, Four Seasons added four (four) new Presidential Suites, bringing the total to five.
You’d think staying at a palace would mean getting the royal treatmentbeing fanned off and fed grapes all day by a glistening pool. Not at Gstaad Palace. This summer, participating in their ‘Palace-Style Boot Camp’ might mean eating grapes, but only if you can lift an arm to your mouth after pushing your body beyond its physical limits. At least this butt kicking takes place in the Swiss Alps, right?
Swissotels is glamming up their hotels' executive lounges and to start, they've created a mini-version at their headquarters in Zurich. But unlike most hotel companies who keep their model rooms under lock and key, Swissotels is putting theirs on full display to the public.
The new DesignLab, as it's called, resembles a modern “Arvenstübli” or pine parlour which combines traditional Swiss design with contemporary design and technology. Here, DesignLab creator Karsten Schmidt and Director of Interior Design for Swissotels, breaks down the pine parlour elements:
“Drawers and furniture have been decorated with ornaments in the style of traditional Swiss Sgraffito, which is still to be found on the facade of many buildings in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.
The engravings and carvings originate from the Appenzeller wood-carver Roman Räss, who has created a name for himself outside of the well-known woodcarving town of Brienz, with his contemporary work and art projects. Selected design pieces such as the Bell Tables of Sebastian Herkner for ClassiCon, the book merry-go-round of Roderick Vos for Linteloo, the Etch Lights of Tom Dixon, the moooi chairs by Marcel Wanders or the Eames Rocking Chair of C. and B. Eames for Vitra, supplement the ambience in the new DesignLab."
Hotel Renovations / Hotel News / Swissotels / Geneva Hotels / Switzerland Hotels / Hotel Design / → All Tags
Swissôtels has recently revealed the first of its new “signature rooms” at Geneva's Swissôtel Métropole in the city's shopping and business quarter and close to the Old Town. Twelve rooms in total have been renovated for the launch of this category that focuses on design and comfort, with some pretty nifty tech advances, too.
Naturally, being a Swiss brand, the design follows an alpine motif as inspiration, including parquet wood floors and--the show stopper--a colorful wall that's reminiscent of Swiss Alp mountain flowers. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? The exclusive wallpapers for this scene were designed for the hotel by renowned Swiss textile manufacturer Jakob Schlaepfer, who supplies luxury fashion houses such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood with material goods.
Then there's the good stuff for hotel tech geeks out there.
Hotel Openings / Switzerland Hotels / Preferred Hotels / Preferred Hotels & Resorts / Ski Hotels / → All Tags
Ah, Gstaad. Maybe you too have fond memories of swooshing down the mountainside, hiking in the hills, sipping on Glühwein or hot chocolate, and eating fresh raclette cheese. It’s all good. But now, it's even better because for the first time in about 100 years, there’s a new luxe hotel opening: The Alpina Gstaad.
This 56-room Preferred Hotel is a real beauty -- think big stone fireplaces, pine interiors, cozy nooks, timber peaked ceilings and spectacular views of the Alps. No two rooms are exactly alike and, although beautifully-designed, also have plenty of quirk (just wait until you see the cowbell bedside lamps!)
After the world’s most expensive dress, and one of the (if not the) most expensive spa treatments, the world’s most expensive hotel suite seemed like the appropriate topic for this week’s Fantasy Friday. With a total of 1680 square meters (an astounding 18,000 square feet) and 12 (twelve!) en-suite bedrooms, this suite is larger than most homes.
Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted a hint of the location based on the distant view of the Jet d’Eau – one of Geneva’s landmarks, and the home of Hotel President Wilson, where you can find this “Royal Penthouse”, occupying its entire top floor. And yes, that is James Bond staring at you from a 103-inch B&O television.
Let's continue dreaming, shall we?