Lausanne in Switzerland is known as being a holiday resort town. Though it is better known as the “Home Of The Olympics” since the International Olympic Committee has been based there since 1915. The town, with Lake Geneva at its feet, is built on three hills and is relatively car-free with small alleyways cafes and boutiques shaping the medieval city centre.
If there ever was a hotel to stay in this picturesque city, it would be Lausanne Palace. The historic luxury hotel which opened in 1915 is the only five-star accommodation in town centre and has managed to evolve with the times and the city.
Straight through the hotel’s revolving doors and you’re in an opulent lobby with a real tree! The marble columns and chandeliers gives off a feeling of history preserved within its walls. The lobby is also home to 1915 bar and it is very popular.
Check-in is smooth and within minutes you are guided to lifts that are sort of hidden so they blend into the interior design rather than stick out. The complete wooden lift interiors add to the old world charm, which continues to the corridors of the hotel.
The hotel is home to 140 rooms, with 44 junior suites and suites. A lake view room is always the best choice, and my corner suite came with a porthole window that looked out onto Lake Geneva. Such a treat!
It is hard not to spend all your time on the balcony that overlooks Lake Geneva and the Alps beyond, and take in the fresh cool Swiss air. But the hotel is home to five restaurants — La Table du Lausanne Palace, which is two Michelin-starred; La Brasserie Grand Chêne, a Paris-style brasserie; Matcha Picchu, offering Nikkei or Japanese-Peruvian cuisine; Le Yogi Booster offering natural and vegetarian cuisine in the spa; and Côté Jardin, which offers Tuscan flavours on a terrace. 1915 isn’t the only drinking hole in the hotel as LP’s Bar is offers live music, guest shifts and bespoke cocktails in the evening.
Le Spa is a place of Ayurveda, relaxation, combining a hammam, meditation zone, sauna, indoor pool, jacuzzi, 21 treatment rooms, fitness and yoga rooms, and a hair salon aka HairSpa. The pool and jacuzzi area open out to a sun terrace, which is also home to the only urban vineyard in Lausanne. Insider’s tip: the hotel produces 2,000 bottles of merlot annually. In addition, chef Franck Pelux from La Table du Lausanne Palace uses the wood from the vineyards to smoke one of his signature meat dishes.
Embodying the word “palace”, the hotel has housed countless royalties and celebrities, and is home to the Coco Chanel suite, which comes with an ample walk-in closet complete with a few sketches by the designer herself. After World War II, Lausanne Palace welcomed Chanel in exile in Switzerland. The suite is on the fifth floor in a nod to her lucky number (n°5).
Breakfast at Côté Jardin was ample and service was on point. The friendly breakfast chef makes eggs to order, while there is a buffet with an assortment of anything and everything breakfast. Freshly-squeezed juices, a variety of croissants and pastries, charcuterie, cheese, fruit, cereal, yoghurts, pancakes, French toast, sausages, bacon, the works! Breakfast on the terrace with a view is the best way to begin the day.
One of the best things about the hotel is that it gives free transportation cards for Lausanne for each night of stay. This allows use of the metro and buses, which is the best way to see the city and its surroundings.
Though the hotel opens out to a busy road, since it’s in the town centre it is the perfect spot to walk around and get a lay of the land.
A brisk walk from the hotel and over a bridge leads you to the piece de resistance in Lausanne — the cathedral. Undoubtedly, a must-see attraction in the Vaud capital, the cathedral is one of most beautiful Gothic art monuments in Europe and its grounds offers a splendid view over the entire town. The 224 steps that separate you from the top of the belfry is worth climbing should you want a breathtaking view.
Across from the hotel is the Lausanne-Fion metro station, accessible by a lift. It is from here that one can use the free travel pass (or Swiss Travel Pass) and get to the Olympic Museum, which is an interactive museum that takes you on a journey through the history of the Olympic Games.
Once done with the museum, head to the park for a view of Lake Geneva and the mountains. It is here in Ouchy that you will encounter the only Thai sala in Switzerland. The “Sala Thai” can be found in Parc Denantou, a protected area, facing Lake Geneva or Lake Leman, as it is known in Lausanne.
The hotel is also a stone’s throw from a farmer’s market and plenty of boutiques and chocolateries. It is not impossible to lose track of time while window shopping and walking through the small alleys and cobblestone lanes.
The Lausanne Palace has seen it all —from the signing of a friendship treaty between Turkey and Poland in 1923 to hosting the G8 delegations in 2003. Having opened at the tail end of the elegant Belle Époque era, it retains its prestigious vibes. Swiss hospitality, born in this canton, is best experienced at Lausanne Palace. Visit hlausanne-palace.ch/en/offers-packages.