Luxury Hotels

The luxury hotel that even laid on a marathon…

The main reception lounge..

After what seemed like a good long spell in UAE, to return to Europe, specifically Switzerland, and its history is a reminder of the importance of an authentic past.  The luxury Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa Lausanne, a Preferred property, has been here since it was opened, as The Royal Hotel, in 1909 by the Haeberly family. They built elegance, in the form of a six-floor mansion with high ceilings, in a small park half-way up the slope from Lac Léman to the city’s rail station. It was re-opened in 2015 by its present owners who, working with designer Maria Vafiadis/MKV, have turned the main reception lounge into an art gallery.

.. and part of the garden

Cleverly, part of that lobby is separated by a glass screen to hide the bar behind, which flows out into the garden.  Some of this outer space is divided by low box-shrub parterres into quasi-private sitting areas, ideal for local Swiss who do like to sit in small groups, taking in the sun and having a glass of local wine, perhaps Clos du Boux 2016 Grand Cru Epesses Luc Massy, poured from an unusual 1,400ml bottle to avoid taxes in years gone by.  A glass-sided corridor leads from the main house to a new extension.  Now, in all, there are 196 rooms (LOVE the sixth floor Mansard rooms in the original block, see a video, below).  I also really loved the 24/7 gym, and spa, in the new block – the therapists truly seem to personalise whatever product, and treatment, they think best for you.

Looking into the kitchen

There is one restaurant, with four different rooms, and for both meals I was sitting next to the open kitchen, always a pleasure but especially so when the operators you are watching are keen and agile young Europeans brought up with respect for the apprenticeship scheme.  I was with the hotel GM, Alain Kropf, and as it happened his boss, Bruno Schöpfer – the guy on the right above, with Alain Kropf – was also staying that night.  I do not know what the Schöpfer party ate but I can report my ‘soup’, hiding an egg Florentine, and Swiss veal flank (which barely needed the Laguiole-type Snife – yes, that is the Swiss maker’s brand) were both outstanding.  Marc Haeberlin, whose name is on paper bags holding the baguettes kept warm under a hot lamp in the restaurant, is consultant here, and he really believes in local products.

Room service lunch

Alain Kropf and I talked fitness. He picked up Ironmanning during 14 years in Asia and here, with Switzerland’s terrain, he is in his element. Tomorrow morning he will be up at five for a practice.  I wake up at five and am greeted by a paper bag of Swiss edibles thoughtfully provided as part of my welcome: I have Rösti, Knorr Aromat herbs Cenovis (like Marmite), Ovomaltine, Kägi Fret chocolate wafers, Rivella milk drink and much more. Anyway, after a good workout down in the gym I am back in the restaurant – going in past a wine wall that is an excellent primer to Swiss wine areas – and love the elegant buffet.  Today is Lausanne’s marathon (no, Mr Kropf is not taking part, but do see a video, below, taken just outside the hotel). I feel even more healthy, myself, after trying a room service lunch, a simple vegan bowl, with tofu, eggplant caviar, sesame paste, pomegranate, pecan nuts, mine, coriander, chia seeds.  Any hotel that can offer from Haeberlin heaven to vegan basic has a true understanding of modern luxury. AND NOW SEE, IN ORDER, LAUSANNE MARATHON, WALKING INTO THE RESTAURANT, ND SUITE 606