Switzerland Travel Guide
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."
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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.
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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?
Tucked away in Fürstenau, Switzerland (about a two hour drive from Zurich), the Schloss Schauenstein Hotel has been passed down since medieval times among bishops, barons, artists and scientists. And in 2003, it fell into the hands of chef Andreas Caminada, who subsequently decided to set up a hotel and restaurant, using the same medieval name—which roughly translates as "lock looking stone," a reference to the original lock and weir system of the adjacent river.
As for the rooms? Simple, spacious, still slightly medieval, and soooo cute.
We were seduced by this photo, taken by a recent guest, of one of the bathrooms in the hotel. The wooden rafter beams reaching just inches above the shower stall somehow combine the hotel's medieval history with a clean, contemporary look. And the simple floorboards, we must say, are a refreshing change from the granite and tile we have become almost sick of in more modern places. No mood lighting here, but no need either. Between the sparse wooden staircase and the see-through shower, the mood is pretty much already set.
The Novotel near-ish Zurich Airport
"Airport Hotel" may be dirty words, but thankfully many European cities have understood the need for affordably priced, safe and comfy hotels alongside their international airports. One of the cities lagging behind, however, is Zurich; despite its huge air traveler numbers and popularity with flight crew, its airport-area hotels are loosely located and a surprising few offer free airport shuttles. There's just the Radisson Blu SAS adjacent, with rooms that begin at $255 per night. For an airport hotel. That's Switzerland for you.
Or not. The latest news from Business Traveller gives us major hope for a ZRH future: "Billed as 'the first global location with the ambience of a small town and the synergies of a big city.' The Circle at Zurich Airport will be located adjacent to the airport and will be designed by Japanese architectural firm, Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop."
A witness said: “Will was telling Roger he went to Art Basel this summer and stayed at the Hilton by the train station. He said he was unimpressed with his room, and then asked Roger if he could get him an upgrade for next year.”
The Hotel Bellevue is that little round building
Here at HotelChatter, we frequently talk about hotels with unique pools, hotels that push the limits with luxurious service, and even hotels which claim to be "world's tallest" or "world's fanciest schmanciest," but today we're discussing something else entirely: a hotel precipitously perched atop a Swiss mountaintop.
Hotel Bellevue is literally tops; it calls the Swiss Alp Mount Pilatus home, and sits some 2,132m (7,000') high. Get your reservations for their 24 rooms in early, because this hotel is sought after for its ridiculously awe-inspiring views, plus it's only open from March until December.
If you want to check into a cool-looking Bollywood suite, you'll have to visit, um, Switzerland. The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa in Interlaken has a new suite dedicated to famous Indian film director Yash Chopra.
It isn't as random as it seems; the director has shot a number of his movies in Switzerland. Bollywood fans will want to stay in the 915-square-foot Yash Chopra Suite—which comes with a living room, bedroom and two bathrooms—to gaze at framed posters from the director's romance Veer-Zaara on its walls.