Anytime a hotel employs three full time resident florists, we sit up and pay attention. Opened in 1915, the grand dame Lausanne Palace & Spa caps the highest point in this Swiss resort town with panoramic views overlooking Lake Geneva and the French Alps. Its location in the heart of the city versus the lakefront gives it a more business-like air, but the updated Belle Epoque romance is off the charts in the Cuban Revolution-era Habana Bar and La Brasserie du Grand Chêne—plucked straight out of La Cage aux Folles.
When in town, Mick Jagger retreats to the brasserie. One of the opulent suites is named after Coco Chanel, who escaped here routinely after Paris’ fall fashion season. And this is the official hotel of the International Olympic Committee.
The Palace grabs you at “bonjour.” The all-white grand lobby is offset with orchids, roses and even a pine tree placed around plush lounge chairs circling the elegant Bar 1915. It feels brand new following the $67 million renovation in ’09, but care was taken to retain the Old World oomph. Adjacent, LP’s Bar is a fun and quirky modernization of a Colonial Era train depot filled with leather club chairs and steamer trunks.
“LP’s Bar is the place to be in Lausanne, where people come to be seen,” says Alice Sieber, International Sales Manager. We then segue into the 1-Michelin star La Table d’Edgard restaurant with an 8-seat Chef’s Table serving 7-course dinners with coffee and wine for $275 pp. Check out the private wine room available for rental too, stocked with 30,000 bottles.
The 141 rooms, including 30 suites, are split between “classic” and “deluxe.” The former features antiques and marble baths—“They’re popular with Americans and Russians,” says Sieber—while we like the latter with wood plank floors, chocolate settees, designer egg shell sinks and darkwood vanities.
In the spa, the owner brought all of the furnishings over from India. For events, the historic ballroom seats 250 pax, with a lovely lakeview terrace and 14 breakouts.
Just five minutes away on Lake Geneva, Chateau d’Ouchy dates back to 1170 when it was the official residence of the Bishop of Lausanne. Today it’s a sister hotel of the Palace, so groups have signing privileges at the restaurant and spa. For overnights, the 50 rooms are aggressively modern with sheer white linen bed canopies and repro Art Nouveau furnishings.