By Hilary Stockton on Sep 22, 2017 in Accommodation, Europe, Going Out, Hotels, Regions, Restaurants, Spas Pampering, Speciality Travel, Switzerland, Western Europe
Switzerland is well known for its stunning alpine scenery, its extensive rail network, including cog railways that lead to the highest railway station in Europe, skiing, fondue, and Swiss chocolate. The country is also home to several of Europe’s finest luxury hotels, several of them perfect not only for luxury ski holidays, but for a romantic summer or fall getaway. Here are my top picks:
1. The Alpina Gstaad
The Alpina Gstaad may be in tiny Gstaad, population about 9000, but it’s already a favorite of A-list celebrities, for good reason. It offers just 56 rooms and suites, ranging from 350 square feet to over 4300 square feet, all with private terrace and beautiful mountain views. Come winter, the resort offers ski equipment rental at its Lorenz Bach ski shop and complimentary shuttle service to the nearby ski lifts.
The Alpina Gstaad also features the only Six Senses Spa in Switzerland, and its 12 treatment rooms for just 56 rooms and suites help ensure high availability of its superb spa treatment to guests. The treatment rooms include a Flotation Room, Hammam, Colonic Hydrotherapy Room, Color Therapy Room, an Ayurvdea Room, an Oriental Room, a Salt Room and a Cave Room for couple’s treatments. Additional Spa facilities include an indoor pool, outdoor pool, two jacuzzis, a yoga room, fitness center, and juice bar.
Gourmands are in the right place, as the Sommet Restaurant and MEGU each have 1 Michelin star. And the Swiss Stubli Restaurant features authentic Swiss specialties such as fondue and raclette, which, with the Alpine Lounge Bar, round out the resort’s culinary offerings.
2. The Chedi Andermatt
Andermatt at first blush seems an even less likely place for a top luxury resort, with permanent population just over 1300, and not a traditional ski resort “hot spot”. But The Chedi Andermatt. But the property was named Hotel of the Year in 2017 by Gault Millau Switzerland, and it’s not hard to see why. Each of its 123 luxurious rooms and suites boasts its own fireplace and ultra-comfortable bed by Hästens of Sweden. The bathroom offers heated stone, soaking baths and separate rain showers, in a timeless Asian influenced design.
The Spa includes a 114 foot long indoor pool, as well as a 40 foot long outdoor pool, with Alpine views. Additional spa facilities include a Finnish sauna, bio sauna, steam room, and hot and cold plunge pools. Thanks to the Chedi’s Asian heritage, spa treatment options include Balinese massage, Himalayan warm stone massage, Thai foot reflexology, and Tibetan Ku Nye massage, in addition to a full range of facials, exfoliation and envelopment rituals, bathing rituals and body polish treatments.
8 restaurants offer everything from Japanese Kaiseki and the most extensive sake collection in Switzerland to modern Swiss cuisine, Chinese dim sum, and Thai and Indian dishes.
3. The Four Seasons Geneva
Geneva, in French-speaking Switzerland, is known for its joie de vivre, and the Four Seasons Geneva embodies this. From the gorgeous lobby flowers to the customizable Four Seasons bed to the warm yet professional service, you’ll feel well taken care of. The 115 guest rooms and suites are each unique, and while pricey, I highly recommend splurging for a view of the lake, particularly if your stay is in late spring or summer. Similarly, in summer don’t miss al fresco dining at rooftop restaurant IZUMI, which serves lunch and offers two dinner seatings–reservations are a must.
The Spa’s indoor pool offers panoramic views from its oversized windows (note that there are specific morning and afternoon hours for families with kids) and there’s also a hammam, steam room, and a well-equipped fitness center.
4. The Baur au Lac, Zurich
The Baur au Lac is my top recommendation for a stay in central Zurich, even though the hotel does not have a spa. It’s a family run hotel, and has been in the hands of the Baur family since 1844, when it was presciently established by the lake, with its own private gardens. Treat yourself to a lake-facing junior suite or suite, and enjoy a drink from the mini bar, which is complimentary in all rooms and suite.
Breakfast is a lavish affair, with both a cold buffet of fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals, smoked salmon and cold cuts, cheeses, breads and pastries, and eggs cooked to order, along with freshly squeezed juices and coffee and espresso drinks. Don’t miss the honey, which is made right at the Baur au Lac from the hotel’s own beehive in the garden (cleverly built as a mini model of the Baur au Lac).
5. Lausanne Palace
Oenophiles shouldn’t miss a stay in Lausanne, close to the UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyard terraces, where some excellent local wines are produced. Production is small, so you won’t find these wines outside of Switzerland. And after an invigorating e-bike ride past the vineyards and some tastings, where better to stay than the Lausanne Palace?
While its sister hotel, the elegant Beau-Rivage Palace, is better known and also lovely, I actually prefer the Lausanne Palace. Rooms are spacious and modern, with wood floors, beautiful fresh flowers (both a large bouquet on the table and a smaller one on the desk, in the Executive Room I stayed in), a fresh fruit welcome amenity, soaking bath and separate glass enclosed shower, complimentary mini bar, and Nespresso machine. One of my favorite meals in Switzerland was also at the Lausanne Palace, at the 1 Michelin Star La Table d’Edgard.
Hilary Stockton is the CEO at TravelSort.
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