Switzerland Travel Guide
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The last hotel on our ramble through Switzerland takes us to the country’s capital of Bern and the uptown chic hotel, the Hotel Schweizerhof Bern (part of Leading Hotels of the World and Swiss Deluxe Hotels).
This 99-room property’s been around for more than 150 years and in 2005 the hotel shut down for a major reno (you know the story: you’re a new owner so you absolutely have to re-decorate) and, six years and 50 million Swiss Francs later, ta-da! Now it’s a stylin' five-star superior property.
Designed by Maria Vafiadis from MKV Design in London, our 410 sq ft Deluxe King Room was decorated in earthy taupes and grays with dramatic stainless steel and black-and-white glass bathrooms. Floors were done in herringbone oak which kept the room warm in feel and the view was of the rooftops of the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It had the feel of a luxe pied-à-terre.
Room perks include the minibar with its complimentary beer and soft drinks, a Nespresso machine and kettle, free WiFi, locally-made comfy linens, a Japanese soaking tub AND a shower, a window in the bathroom that opens and has the same aforementioned view, and Bulgari White Tea toiletries (this writer’s fave of the Bulgari line).
See the rest of the hotel pics in the image gallery!
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Originally opened as the Hotel Bellevue in the oldie days of 1875, the Park Weggis hotel (part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels) – on Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne – has definitely renovated since that time. One of its latest renos, completed in 2007 (they also renovated some rooms in the main building in 2011), was to add ten uber-modern Adara Suites and this is where our story starts.
Many of the luxury hotels in Switzerland are beautiful, yes, but tend to lean towards a more traditional elegance. What strikes us about these suites, which brings the room count up to 52 at this boutique Relais & Chateaux property, is their modernity.
We stayed in an Adara Deluxe Junior Suite – the Adara ones come in Deluxe Junior Suites and then Suites – which was about 70 sq m (750 sq ft) and we’ll tell ya, the green-tinged black marble bathroom took up about half of that space. If your idea of relaxing is to set your one-touch mood lighting to “evening,” hang out in the deep soaking tub in the middle of your bathroom with a glass of prosecco, and then shower under the Dornbracht Bigrain rain shower using the Bulgari Red Tea toiletries (surprisingly hard to come by and, in case you’re wondering, we did take them home with us), then this is the luxe crash pad for you.
There are so many more pics in the photo gallery!
Killer Views / Killer View / Photo Gallery / Fairmont Hotels / Leading Hotels of the World / Switzerland Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
We do like to wax poetic sometimes over the killer views we find from hotel rooms all over the planet, but the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Switzerland (part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels and Leading Hotels of the World) has not one, not two, but at least three killer views that we noticed recently. It seems that wherever you go you’re faced with another scenic vista of mountains and lake (Lake Geneva, to be exact).
We’re sharing those vistas here with you in a minute, but this isn’t the particular scene that prompted Deep Purple to write their hit, Smoke on the Water, while staying at a hotel nearby this illustrious hotel that’s played host to many a rock star celeb.
No, that scene, which probably included the aforementioned vista, was of a fire started by a fan with a flare gun (kids, don’t try this at home) at the famed casino close to the hotel where Frank Zappa was playing in 1971. Rumor has it that the band Deep Purple looked out their window this particular December to see flames and smoke rising from the building and were so inspired that they penned the song. And where did they end up recording said song? At Le Montreux Palace.
But back to the views we saw. The first is from room 118, a Junior Suite category room. This Mediterranean-like room in butter yellows, creams and light pebble greys (reno’ed in 2009), has a small balcony that looks out over Lake Geneva PLUS a French balcony off of the bedroom side of the room to give you the same scrumptious view. Most rooms, in fact, have either a balcony or veranda in this 236-room property. The Junior Suites also come with a sitting area with a desk, coffeemaker, a bathroom with both a tub and a shower, the brand’s Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries and, our favorite, a mirror/TV that swivels so that you can watch CNN in the living room or from your comfy bed. WiFi’s part of the package for President’s Club members, which is free to join.
Plenty of pics of the room and the other killer views in the photo gallery!
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Okay, it’s time to 'fess up: This writer has fallen in love with Switzerland in a mad, gushing “I can’t live without it” sort of way. And why? Aside from its other qualities, it’s beautiful. I’m telling you this so that when I describe the Palace Luzern hotel as being a great spot to take in Switzerland's delights, you’ll understand the importance of that statement.
The hotel (part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels and Leading Hotels of the World) is situated right on the tree-lined, lakeside pedestrian promenade, with views stretching out over Lake Lucerne to the Alps in the background. Can't you just feel yourself relax as you take in that mountain view? Plus it's only a short walk to Lucerne’s quaint Chapel Bridge and Old Town.
But the hotel is not content to rest on its scenery laurels. The first time this 1906 property had a major overhaul was after WWII, during which time it had been used as a military hospital. Then, in 2005, the hotel opened its one-of-a-kind spa and reduced the number of rooms from 168 to 136 so that guests, i.e. you and me, could spread out more. Then, in 2013, 42 additional rooms were renovated, leaving us with 129 rooms and suites, and that brings us all the way to now, with the Davidoff Cigar Lounge having opened in February and the new restaurant, Marlin, replacing Jasper with a newly-deigned menu. Whew!
More scenic pics in the photo gallery!
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Right now, many of you are probably going, “What the…?” Well, let me introduce you to the one, the only, 1.2 ton, 6’ wide Giant Ceremonial Singing Bowl – the only one of its kind in the world and found at the Palace Luzern hotel (part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels and Leading Hotels of the World).
Traditionally used for meditation, Tibetan Singing Bowls are kind of like inverted bells. The rim is struck by a mallet to produce a harmonic sound and reverberation that is said to both relax and soothe. The folks at the Palace Luzern decided that if a little bowl is good for you, then a gigantic one must be terrific.
This is the hotel that lost the design competition but won the commission anyway. While its mirrored walls are intended to reflect the surrounding Alps, on a sunny day it may look more like a sword in the stone.
Back in February, we heard about the 7132 Hotel design competition in Switzerland that yielded no official winner. Now the world has its first glimpse as to what all the fuss was - and is - about.
Just take a look at the rendering above. A skyscraper in the Swiss Alps. Seriously? The proposed design rises 1,250 feet above the tiny spa village of Vals, with a population of only about 1,000.
The 107-suite 7132 Hotel will be about as tall as the Empire State Building, making it the tallest building in Europe and one of the tallest hotels in the world. Perhaps, but only until another hotelier surpasses it. Count on that.
A design competition in Switzerland has seen a little drama recently, but will likely result in one amazing new hotel.
The competition involved several international "starchitects" who were challenged to design a luxury hotel adjacent to the Therme Vals spa in the Swiss Alps, pictured above. It all went downhill from there, so to speak.
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Guys, this is just the beginning.
You thought millennial hotels were bad enough? Meet the Club Med Val Thorens Sensations, which was designed by… its Facebook fans.
According to the Mail, the 384-room hotel was the first to be entirely crowdsourced, and it was all done via Facebook requests.
So what do Facebook fans want in a hotel?
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Switzerland has been concentrating so hard on their budget offerings recently that we were beginning to worry they’d forgotten all about what they do best – insanely expensive luxury properties.
The Kameha is already styling itself as your new “lieblingsplatz”, or regular haunt, in Zurich. Not sure where they reckon we hang out already, but this is a bit of an upgrade.
Hotel Openings / Base Hotels / Nyon Hotels / Geneva Hotels / Serviced Apartments / Hybrid Hotels / → All Tags
New brand Base will be a cross between a hotel and a serviced apartment – but a good cross. Think large, modern suites (accessed via self check-in) with Hypnos beds, internet TV and floor-to-ceiling windows, plus proper kitchens. The rooftop bar will have views of Lake Geneva and the Alps, there’s a fitness center and Italian restaurant, and guests will also have free use of bicycles (or Base Bikes as they call them). Planning to return? They’ll give you a “Base Box” to store your belongings/papers/drinks until next time. For free.
The first Base will be in Nyon, outside Geneva. It’s being “sustainably constructed” right now, and will have eco cred too – solar panels, triple glazing, and no chemicals will be used during cleaning. It’s due to open October 2015.
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Switzerland: a country that takes pride in being completely unaffordable for anyone from outside of it. Edit – a country that did take pride in being completely unaffordable. For this summer, we have seen the emergence of a New Switzerland – one that pities us, one that wants us to come stay without having to remortgage our house, one that suddenly wants to thrust budget accommodation at us. Not you’re your standard crappy budget digs, of course; no, the New Switzerland is a place of hip ‘hostels’ that other countries would class as nice hotels.
Of course, you already know it’s a trendy kind of place – it was clearly named to be a hipster magnet, after all – but listen to what it actually has. It has a pool (and separate children’s pool). It has a spa with saunas, a herbal steam bath, hydromassage showers, and a ‘gorge balcony’ (presumably it looks over a gorgeous, rather than being especially gorgeous). It offers a hotel-level massage list. And all this stuff comes with humungous windows overlooking the mountain landscape.
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Nestled 1600 feet up from the shores of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, a luxury resort is recreating itself--The Burgenstock Resort, scheduled to re-open in 2017. When all is said and done, there will be three hotels: The Burgenstock Hotel; the circa 1906 Palace Hotel; and the Waldhotel, a medical wellness destination. Add to that a spa the size of a football field, a conference center, residences, and several dining options.
The Burgenstock Resort is being developed by Katara Hospitality, who are also presently transforming the Royal Savoy Lausanne. Katara has again retained London-based MKV Design to take on the interiors of the Burgenstock Hotel, as well as the Palace Hotel renovation and the mega Alpine Spa. Right now, we're getting an early look at the Burgenstock Hotel.