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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?
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The Regent Bali
While we continue to recover from last week’s ma-jah announcement of Tommie Hotels, the lovechild of Commune and Thompson, we have a roundup of news bites from around the world for you this Monday morning. Join us as we hop from Bali to Venice, Amsterdam to China, and Switzerland to Australia, for updates on everything from brand new Chinese brand Ahn Luh to the old school Gritti Palace.
Starting in Southeast Asia, Regent Hotels delivered on the promised opening of its new resort on Bali this past weekend, with 94 suites, one Regent Villa, 25 residences, and that inviting-looking infinity pool above. The Bali resort follows last year’s arrival in Phuket, which we swung by recently to see for ourselves how Regent’s first opening in years would stack up – more on that to come.
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We've started a series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Seaweed facials
What's In: Facials with gold, diamonds and other sparkly things
Diamonds and other precious metals and gems are sparkly and luminous; why shouldn’t your skin be the same? See what the hotel spas below are doing to make your skin radiate with good health.
The Dorchester Hotel in London offers the Carol Joy London Diamond Facial. Following ten years of research and three years of development, Carol Joy London products are created with some of the most precious beauty ingredients around (who knew that Golden Millet Oil was like pure gold?).
This intensive facial includes exfoliation with a diamond-head contraption that is said to be gentler than the traditional crystal ablater (we just like that word –- it sounds kind of bad-ass). While that’s going on, you’re being blasted with an Oxyjet machine that produces 95% pure oxygen to cool and soothe your skin and stimulate collagen production. The result? A firmer, clearer and more glowing you. The price for beauty, in this case, is £205 ($279).
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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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Today we start a new weekly series of what’s trending in hotels these days: What’s Out, What’s In. Do we like what we see? Think it's a dud? You be the judge!
What’s Out: Generic flower aromas
What’s In: Bespoke signature scents
Hotels are getting personal with their smelly goods. More and more they’re looking to give you a local scent experience as soon as you walk in the door or when you’re executing your nightly ablutions. Capitalizing on the strength of olfactory memories, they’re partnering with local scent companies to choose unique aromas that embody the spirit of the hotel and give it a sense of place.
Here are just a few examples: