With so much pristine lakeside real-estate available, it is not surprising that some of Switzerland’s finest hotels fringe the waters
Conveniently located a short walk from the city’s shopping hub, this stylish hotel also boasts unparalleled views of the lake and the river. Privately run, this property has a décor that marries the modern and the traditional. The rooms are plush and homey, and the cuisine is the best of Swiss and French. With all multimedia amenities in place, including a conference hall with a view of the famous Jet d’Eau, this is suited for tourists and business travellers alike.
Auberge Port Gitana
Beautiful arched windows, billowing curtains, the fresh catch of the day on your plate, and magnificent views of Lake Geneva are on offer at the restaurants in this charming little lakeside B&B. When you are not out, all your spare time can be spent on one of the four sun-kissed terraces that abut the sparkling waters of the lake, sipping wine and trying out the chef’s clever little creations. The rooms are few, but designed to maximise that relaxing water’s edge experience.
Congress Hotel Seepark
Ringed by venerable, old trees and wetted by the waters of Lake Thun, this used to be a boring old training centre for Swiss bankers. It has been thoroughly renovated since into a spectacular four-star hotel, geared equally for the business traveller and the solitude-seeking tourist. The restaurant serves up fresh produce caught from the lake, the bistro is open almost 24 hours for a tranquil lakeside snack, and if you’re antsy, the bustle of the city-centre is just minutes away.
All the Alpine clichés are present here: thickly wooded slopes in summer, white wonderlands in winter, twinkling sailboats, hot chocolate, hearty Roesti, fondue and warm home-made bread. Lake Brienze is a picture postcard, and this little mom-and-pop hotel offers it all, in the cradle of the majestic Alps. Even if you are not a water-activity person, you will never tire of the view, or walking down the stunningly quaint and romantic Brungasse Street, a photographer’s dream, only 100m away.
Grand Hotel National
The love child of Cesar Ritz and Auguste Escoffier (the father of modern French cuisine), the word ‘grand’ is perhaps, understated, in this case. Towering majestically over the sweeping promenade of the lake, with the Italian Alps looking on, this structure is straight out of the 17th century Italian Renaissance period, showcasing the best of Florentine and Parisian art, blended with elegant, contemporary interiors. The city centre is also minutes away on foot.
La Reserve Geneve
Not just any other hotel, this is an unparalleled experience in hospitality, gastronomy and wellness: 10 acres of treats tucked away in a quiet suburb on the shores of the lake, just 3km from city-centre. The spa may remind you of a lodge in a fantasy African kingdom. Five restaurants, 85 rooms, 17 suites, a summer lodge and a winter lodge, the former celebrating the outdoors and the latter with its own skating rink: this is the stuff of hotel/spa legend.
Heavily-wooded Alps with streamers of waterfalls cascading down, the lake water so calm an entire village is reflected in it, Fondue, Raclette, Rostis and hot chocolate on your balcony, sailboats twinkling in the distance: the best of Switzerland is right here. This little chalet is ideal for hikers, climbers and bikers, with 500km of well-marked trails. Add to that, glaciers, cable- cars and the stunning Reichenbach Falls, and it’s also perfect for a romantic weekend.