The combination of elegant décor, attentive service, delicious food and drink and gratifying activities will make you feel like a VIP at a hotel. Five top Switzerland luxury hotels offer that magical blend of experiences. From incredible history to sumptuous suites to relaxing spas, discover what makes these properties so enchanting.
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, Basel
In a country full of historic hotels, Les Trois Rois stands out. Opened in 1681, it is Switzerland’s oldest hotel. The property has been restored to its 1844 appearance – the year it reopened in its new building. In fact, the hotel façade and some rooms are designated as heritage landmarks and can’t be changed. Antique furniture decorates the 101 rooms.
As one of the top Switzerland luxury hotels, over the years Les Trois Rois has hosted a slew of VIP guests. They include Queen Elizabeth, Bob Dylan, Pablo Picasso and Charles Dickens.
Two famous guests have been especially honored with namesake rooms. Napoleon did stay at the hotel in 1797 but never in the suite bearing his name. The lime-green room overlooks the Rhine, and contains heritage details like frescoes, silk wallpaper with a 300-year-old pattern, and gold-painted ornamentation. The Herzl Room pays homage to Theodor Herzl, who laid the groundwork for the modern state of Israel. He stayed at the hotel in 1897, and the room retains its appearance from that time. It includes a claw-foot tub, ornate radiator and elaborate chandelier.
The hotel’s top suite – literally and figuratively – is the Suite Les Trois Rois. The 2,700-square-foot Art Deco-styled accommodations contains two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a sitting room with fireplace, dining areas and workspace. But walk up a narrow stairway, and you’ll find a roof terrace with a panoramic view of Basel and the Rhine River. There you’ll enjoy a private sauna and outdoor Jacuzzi to relax in while admiring the vistas.
Exceptional Food and Drink
Cheval Blanc, which holds three Michelin stars, is the highest ranked hotel restaurant in Switzerland. It serves creative French haute cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian influences. You might spy filet of veal with artichokes and young leeks on the menu, or red mullet with saffron, black garlic and tomato vinaigrette. The hotel lets guests have a sneak peek inside the kitchen as they’re walking down a hallway off the lobby. Large windows allow views of the culinary team hard at work.
The hotel offers two other dining choices. Brasserie Les Trois Rois features fresh Swiss and French specialties. The menu could include veal cordon bleu with French fries or roasted sole with mushrooms, asparagus and lemon risotto. It also serves an outstanding breakfast buffet.
And the cozy Bar Les Trois Rois serves afternoon tea as well as craft cocktails created by the chef de bar. On the menu: 24 different types of gin alone alongside other spirits, and creative cocktails with names like the Smoking Cucumber and Cloud Rider. Guests can enjoy snacks with their drinks as they listen to live piano music at the award-winning establishment.
Badrutt’s Palace, St. Moritz
For 120 years, the castle-like Badrutt’s Palace has been synonymous with luxury. Owned by the fifth generation of the Badrutt family, the hotel is constantly evolving while remaining true to its heritage. It has truly earned its place as one of the top Switzerland luxury hotels.
Its 157 rooms and 37 suites convey a sense of history while embracing modern touches such as WiFi, movie channels and a refreshment bar. Many rooms retain their original look because annual visitors want their stay to be exactly the same as previous years. Service is impeccable, with touches such as a hot-water bottle on your bed every night. Many rooms also feature stunning views of Lake St. Moritz.
One suite full of history is room 501 – the Hitchcock Suite. Famed director Alfred Hitchcock loved Badrutt’s Palace so much he stayed there 34 times, including on his 1926 honeymoon. His classic film “The Birds” was inspired there when, sitting on his balcony, Hitchcock spied a flock of birds soaring in the sky. The suite, with its wood floors and antique furnishings, resembles what Hitchcock would have enjoyed decades ago.
The Hans Badrutt Suite, the hotel’s largest, extends over 3,015 square feet. Its features include a marble entrance hall and bathroom, Jacuzzi, library, dressing room, terrace with lake view and piano.
Two elegant dining options delight guests. Le Restaurant offers French and international haute cuisine in a formal atmosphere. La Coupole – Matsuhisa serves Japanese-Peruvian cuisine in an airy space formerly an indoor tennis court.
The hotel’s stellar wine cellar offers something for everyone. Big spenders can go all out on a $10,000 bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild from 1900. Or perhaps a $25,000 bottle of Champagne coated in white gold?
Those on a smaller budget will enjoy the signature drink at the cozy Renaissance Bar. The San Moritzino combines Cointreau, almond syrup, lemon juice and vodka. Enjoy the fire, sink into an upholstered armchair and sip away.
For guests focused on wellness, the Palace’s spa and fitness area is wonderful. Its entrance is hewn into the rock six floors beneath the hotel’s reception. Guests can alternate between cold and hot features in the “wet zone” to enhance relaxation. The cold features include a Kneipp foot and leg bath to stimulate circulation, a mist room to close pores, and a small room chilled with ice. Those seeking warmth can opt for a salt steam room, aroma steam room, Jacuzzi, and ladies-only and mixed saunas. Every kind of treatment, including massages, wraps and facials, is available. Enjoy the heated infinity indoor and outdoor pools or dive off a granite rock into the pool’s deep end. There’s also a gym with private instructors, salon, yoga room and kids club. Outdoors, jump on a trampoline, test your ping pong skill, match wits on a giant chessboard, or perfect your tennis game.
Carlton Hotel, St. Moritz
Another grande dame of St. Moritz, the Carlton Hotel was built in 1913. Its 60 suites all face picturesque Lake St. Moritz. The hotel’s double-eagle logo alludes to a longtime unconfirmed legend that the Carlton was built as a summer residence for Russia’s Czar Nicholas II.
The modern style of the suites appeals to an international VIP clientele, and includes pops of vivid color. Some return guests even request a blue or orange room, for example. Textures add interest to the décor, such as leather headboards for beds, painted wallpaper, Murano glass chandeliers and velvet brocade armchairs.
Art lovers will enjoy one of the two suites paying homage to modern artists. Both the Chagall and Kandinsky suites feature reproductions of their works painted onto the walls. If the art in the 700-square-foot suites inspires you, the hotel provides your own easel, drawing pad and colored pencils.
The showstopper is the Carlton Penthouse, formerly the residence of the hotel’s owner, which occupies the top floor of the hotel. In more than 4,000 square feet, it offers three bedrooms, adjoining marble bathrooms, large kitchen with state-of-the-art technology, fireplace and dressing room. VIP guests enjoy the panoramic view of Lake St. Moritz and the Alps from five terraces and balconies. They also enjoy conveniences such as butler service, transfer service via the hotel’s Bentley, satellite TV and a music entertainment system.
The hotel offers three distinctive dining experiences, as befits one of the top Switzerland luxury hotels. Da Vittorio St. Moritz features innovative classics such as sole with lemongrass, caviar and cauliflower and risotto with scampi, pickled carrots and tarragon cream. Its culinary excellence has been rewarded with one Michelin star. Restaurant Romanoff, despite its Russian name, offers Swiss fare such as raclette and veal stew with noodles and vegetables. Casual diners can enjoy lunch on the huge outdoor terrace. Guests stay warm with heat lamps and blankets, while a chef grills their food on the terrace.
The Carlton’s spa spreads over three floors and almost 13,000 square feet. It offers six treatment rooms, where guests can indulge in a variety of services. Just three of the options: a revitalizing anti-aging facial with cellular therapy, purifying body peel or signature massage incorporating five applications in one. The spa also features an indoor/outdoor pool, sauna, steam bath, relaxation area, sun terrace and relaxation lounge. A private spa suite offers a whirlpool, sauna, rain shower with light therapy, relaxation and treatment areas as well as a flat-screen TV and DVD player.
Other amenities include a fitness center with Technogym machines and separate clubs for kids and teens. The clubs offer activities such as skating and carriage rides.
Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, St. Moritz
St. Moritz’s first luxury hotel, the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains debuted in 1892. It’s perfect for winter sports enthusiasts with its ski-in, ski-out convenience and its own ski school.
Its grand historic exterior contrasts with its contemporary interior. The hotel has 184 rooms, 45 of which are suites. The biggest is the Presidential Suite, at almost 3,500 square feet. It houses three king-size bedrooms and a kitchen. Another choice room: one of the two Tower Suites in each turret of the hotel. The two-bedroom suites extend over three floors and 1,300 square feet, with separate living and dining rooms.
Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains also offers 27 modern residences for short- or long-term stays. Decorated in a neutral color palette with Alpine touches, they range from one to five bedrooms. The largest is a two-floor unit of 4,500 square feet. All the comforts of home are included, such as Blu-ray players, Nespresso machines and a fully equipped kitchen.
Three restaurants provide a variety of culinary choices. Les Saisons offers 100 different products in its breakfast buffet, which has been named the best in Switzerland. Come evening, it offers an international menu with steaks and sushi as highlights. Ca d’Oro’s modern Mediterranean cuisine has earned it a Michelin star. Enoteca serves up the bounty of the region with creative dishes. The menu might include lamb with gnocchi and cherry tomatoes and tagliatelle with Italian ham and fresh basil.
When evening comes, curl up with a cognac in the clubby Smokers Lounge & Library. Or sip an expertly crafted cocktail in the Kempinski Bar & Lobby. If you’re feeling lucky, visit the Casino St. Moritz in the hotel’s west wing.
Spa & Wellness
Occupying 30,000 square feet, Kempinski The Spa offers a range of treatments in 12 massage rooms. The hotel’s Alpine packages can include mountain steam baths and herbal massages, using products from the region for deep relaxation.
The spa boasts four saunas alone – everything from the traditional Finnish to an herbal aroma variety. There’s also a steam bath and a dry heat room. Other offerings include an indoor pool, Kneipp bath, 24-hour gym with open-air workout terrace, personal trainers, and classes including aerobics, yoga and Pilates.
Wellness seekers enjoy an added bonus. The hotel is built on a water source known as Mauritius Springs. Its water is believed to have healing properties due to its above-average concentrations of minerals, including iron, calcium and sodium. Guests can experience the springs water from a tap near the spa entrance.
Villa Principe Leopoldo, Lugano
When you pull into Villa Principe Leopoldo’s circular driveway, you feel as if you’re arriving for a stay at a charming private manor. Indeed, the building began its life as a royal summer home. Prince Federico Leopoldo, part of the German Hohenzollern dynasty, built the villa in the 19th century. Nobility from throughout Europe have stayed at the historic villa. Today it’s one of the top Switzerland luxury hotels for modern VIPs.
Villa Principe Leopoldo occupies a breathtaking location atop Collina d’Oro, which overlooks the city of Lugano and its gulf. The villa occupies a gorgeous park setting, with ancient camellias, multicolored azalea bushes and abundant chestnut and cypress trees. It’s located in an exclusive residential area, but just five minutes from the heart of Lugano.
Walk around the back of the property and delight in the vista of mountains, water and the city below. Don’t miss sunset on the terrace. Sit at a table, have a drink and snack, and savor the view.
The intimate hotel features just 37 suites. All have a balcony either overlooking the garden or Lake Lugano. The suites, carved into the hills, are arranged in a half-circle to guarantee amazing views and a VIP feeling of privacy. One welcome touch for guests: choose your own pillow from an extensive menu to encourage a great night’s sleep.
The most spacious are the Signature Lake Suites, with breathtaking views of the body of water. In 1,350 square feet, they contain a bedroom, separate living room and terrace.
The Kiso Spa offers facials, massages, nail services and other beauty treatments. Unique options include a honey and brown sugar scrub massage, a detoxification service with Dead Sea salt, and an oxygen ritual to hydrate and firm skin and reduce stress. The spa is available for private functions, such as couples services or a celebration with friends.
Active guests enjoy two heated swimming pools, a Jacuzzi, two synthetic grass tennis courts and a fitness room with cardiovascular machines and sauna.
The hotel’s fine-dining establishment, Principe Leopoldo Restaurant, serves Mediterranean cuisine with regional influences. Seasonal and local products take center stage in dishes that blend traditional recipes with modern twists. Two examples: pork loin sautéed with lemon, apple and raisins, or sea bass cooked in a salt crust for moisture and flavor.
Guests can choose between the elegant, classic dining room or eating al fresco in nice weather. Wherever you sit, know that dining is a leisurely pursuit in Lugano. Linger properly over each course. Sit back after dinner in the intimate Bar Principe, with a malt whisky, grappa or port, and enjoy the live music.
Book Your Stay at These Top Switzerland Luxury Hotels
Ready to become a VIP with a stay at one of these top Switzerland luxury hotels? If so, you’ll secure the best value and complimentary benefits by booking with a Virtuoso travel advisor. You’ll receive extras like an upgrade to the next category of room, food and beverage and/or spa credit, and early check-in and late check-out. Find a Virtuoso travel advisor who specializes in Switzerland here.
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