For fans of luxury hospitality, Switzerland is the perfect playing field! I had the pleasure of traveling through on a fabulous road trip from Zurich to Geneva in late August. Along the way, we stopped off at Vevey, the site of one of the country’s best establishments: the Grand Hôtel du Lac. It was perfect for me, complete with antique charm, a handful of rooms, two fantastic restaurants, and exemplary service!
Breathtaking Swiss Beauty
Located on the shores of Lake Geneva in the town of Vevey, the Grand Hôtel du Lac offers an exceptional panoramic view of the lake with the mountains in the distance. From a touristic point of view, the location is ideal: Geneva, Lausanne, and Montreux are well within reach, as are the vineyard terraces of Lavaux (classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site).
150 Years of History and Unbelievable Charm!
A member of the Relais & Châteaux catalog (practically a bible for me ^^), the Grand Hôtel du Lac is truly a marvel! To maintain its top-notch standards and mark its 150th anniversary (which takes place this year), the establishment was given a complete makeover when the premises was redesigned in 2006. Interior architect Pierre-Yves Rochon was at the helm of the project, and is also responsible for the renovation at the Shangri-La in Paris (which I visited last August).
As soon as I arrived, I was absolutely enchanted by the beautiful lobby! It features a subtle blend of different styles: a few carefully chosen Chinese elements, as well as a more classic European style with some modern touches in the lounge area, not to mention the superb Salon Oriental. It’s by far my favorite place in the hotel! You need only sink into one of the sofas to find yourself transported to the land of the Thousand and One Nights.
A Luxurious Hotel on a Human Scale
As soon as we entered this 5-star establishment, the service was customized and incredibly attentive to our needs. With “privacy” being the motto of the Relais & Châteaux philosophy, the Grand Hôtel du Lac gives you the impression you’re in a gorgeous, exclusive mansion.
Next I headed up to my abode for the evening: the Junior Suite with lake view! Spacious and luminous, it includes a small balcony for admiring the view of Lake Geneva. The classic décor works perfectly with the building’s historic look, embodied in details such as the lovely pastel blue and beige floral pattern on both the curtains and the duvet. To perfect this period style, there’s nothing like a grand fireplace with imposing armchairs to make up the living area.
In-Depth Treatment at the Spa
Visiting a new spa is also an opportunity to discover new high-quality cosmetic brands! This hotel features products from the prestigious brand Dr. Pauline Burgener, made in Switzerland and used in the world’s most distinguished spas! From the colossal menu (including facials, exfoliation treatments, wraps, and massages, not to mention a series of slimming treatments), I chose the signature massage. After a personalized and detailed consultation, I let myself be pampered by the therapist for total release! I left the massage feeling utterly relaxed, prolonging the moment in a deckchair beside the outdoor pool.
Relaxing at the Pool
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the outdoor pool. First of all, it’s heated, which is essential if you get cold easily as I do. It’s also beautifully arranged, with two-person deckchairs allowing you to lounge in the sun tête-à-tête, soft lounge music in the background, and a view of the establishment’s façade to top it all off!
Don’t Forget the Gastronomy!
For dinner, two options were available; we could eat at the restaurant “Les Saisons” to enjoy the cuisine of Michelin-starred chef Thomas Neeser, who favors locally-grown, seasonal products, or the brasserie “La Véranda” for more casual gourmet dining. The starred chef is in charge of both restaurants, so the brasserie’s cuisine is also top-notch.
We settled into the outdoor seating area at La Véranda in a pastoral ambiance to enjoy a three-course set menu, enhanced by an assortment of wines. From the menu for this summer, we began the meal with a duck pâté en croute with foie gras. A fantastic treat that I won’t soon forget! Next up was a sea bream filet, simply exquisite. For dessert, a seasonal delicacy: apricot compote with pine nut cream, strawberry coulis, and lavender-olive oil ice cream. I completely fell for this original and flavorful dessert, which nevertheless was a light end to our meal. As for the service personnel, they were sophisticated and thoughtful, demonstrating a professionalism which, combined with the delicious cuisine, helped us to enjoy an excellent evening.
For breakfast, we returned to the brasserie patio to begin our morning surrounded by birdsong. The breakfast buffet was varied and delicious, with both sweet and savory dishes. Brioches, pancakes, and high-quality croissants were juxtaposed with scrambled eggs and locally-sourced cold cuts: a fantastic way to start our day off right!
What a wonderful time we had at the Grand Hôtel du Lac. It fulfilled all of Relais & Châteaux criteria that I love so much! First of all, it’s a human-scale hotel with only a handful of rooms and suites; it has historic appeal that’s been enhanced thanks to the renovation directed by Pierre-Yves Rochon in 2006; it provides extremely professional, customized service; and it also has a fabulous culinary offer. To top it all off, the spa with the prestigious Dr Burgener brand and the outdoor pool gave us plenty to do on a sunny afternoon. Lovers of beautiful mansions will adore this hotel, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary but doesn’t have a wrinkle in sight!
- The incredibly charming decoration, harmoniously blending several styles
- The restaurant “La Véranda”: it’s lovely to sit on the patio in summer, and the quality of the cuisine was a pleasant surprise – a true delight!
- The pool area is absolutely lovely and perfectly arranged
- The sound-proofing in the rooms was not very efficient!
- More information available on their website
- Junior Suite with lake view: 620 € in late August 2018
Thank you to the Grand Hotel du Lac for the invitation to explore their establishment. Of course, the content of this blogpost was left entirely up to me!