Gina Baksa enjoys 5-star luxury at the Hotel Royal Savoy Lausanne on Lake Geneva
Lausanne boasts an enviable setting on the shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) in the French-speaking canton of Vaud. Within easy reach of Geneva airport by train – around 45 minutes – this historic and cultured city has much to offer visitors. Mountain and water activities, superb vineyards, great cultural life, and just a 35-minute boat ride across Lake Geneva to the French spa town of Evian and the Savoy Alps.
Lausanne is also home to the beautiful 5-star Hotel Royal Savoy, one of my favourite luxury hotels in this delightful Swiss city. Helmed by General Manager Alain Kropf, the Hotel Royal Savoy is a symbol of a bygone age, yet with all the amenities of a modern luxury hotel.
Situated in the heart of Lausanne, between lakeside Ouchy, the train station and the city centre, the Royal Savoy originally opened in 1906. More recently, this historic Art Nouveau landmark hotel has undergone an impressive SFr100 million refurbishment that puts it in the top three of Lausanne’s luxury hotels.
The refit, led by Maria Katsarou Vafiadis of award-winning MKV Design, whose team worked closely with the Swiss Heritage Council, has kept the Grand Design chateau-like open spaces yet given the hotel warmth that matches its sophisticated cool. The exterior façade, like a fairy-tale castle, is a magical vision of Neo-Baroque turrets and restored mosaic detailing.
I loved the expansive white marble reception area, with 8m-high ceilings that create a beautiful light-filled, gallery-like space. The staircase has retained its original stained glass windows and wide bustle landings with oversized mirrors.
All 196 rooms and suites have been refurbished in keeping with the hotel’s architectural heritage, combining comfort, charm and modern amenities. Mixing and matching of textures and materials lend a calm, rich ambience: wood and marble, white and dark, patterns and hues. Wooden floors, ornamental woollen rugs, soft sofas, vintage armchairs… elegance and functionality are paramount and visible throughout. Service is impeccable – attentive yet unobtrusive and without any of the stuffiness I’ve experienced in some 5-star establishments.
My room – a junior suite – overlooked the gorgeous gardens with its magnificent trees and views of Lake Geneva beyond. I loved the small balcony and especially enjoyed the Japanese deep bathtub, huge rainforest shower and Hermès products. Sleep was long and deep here: soft quality bedding, perfect pillows and aircon that was easy to control and kept my late-summer room beautifully cool.
The minibar was well stocked – non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary, as is the Nespresso machine and decent Wi-Fi. The in-room iPad with information on the hotel and the surrounding area was particularly useful.
The public lounge areas and dining rooms are exquisite and comprise four separate dining areas, a wonderful 40-cover terrace for alfresco dinners and the most generous buffet breakfasts ever. You’ll still be full at lunchtime.
Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail at the sophisticated lounge/lobby bar or head up to the 7th-floor Sky Lounge for breathtaking 360-degree views over Lausanne, Lake Geneva and the mountains. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a busy day’s sightseeing and watch a spectacular sunset – with friends or your partner.
Cigar aficionados will enjoy the Royal Savoy’s Cigar Lounge – with their own cigar deposit box, where they can enjoy their rolled leaves in comfort. Cigarette smokers are banished to the smoker’s terrace, thankfully well away from the dining area.
The Royal Savoy’s Brasserie du Royal has become a well-deserved dining destination with its gourmet and refined dining options, thanks to the expertise of its Executive Chef Julien Krauss and Michelin-starred Signature Chef Mark Haeberlin (Auberge de l’Ill, Alsace). The quality local provenance is prepared to perfection with an eclectic wine list that includes Swiss varieties from the local Lavaux vineyards, as well as Old and New World favourites. This was my first taste of the local white Chasselas and I loved its fruity floral flavours.