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REVIEW: Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne, Switzerland

Written by gaytourism

The hotel’s decadent Art Nouveau-inspired facade makes a lasting impression | Photos: Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne

When I think of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve been fortunate enough to take in around the world, I think of exotic beachside spots like Mauritius and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Never would I have expected the most beautiful to take place in Lausanne, overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland. (Comparatively close to my native England, where the sunsets are generally rubbish.)

Perhaps it’s all in my imagination, but I’ve always felt sunsets are unique to the destination: in Mauritius, they were serene and cleansing. In Puerto Vallarta, playful and vibrant. In Lausanne, where such displays I’m told are a nightly occurrence, they were so dramatic as to be basically shocking.

The drama doubtless had something to do with my enviable vantage point: the balcony of the Royal Savoy Suite of the lakeside Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne, which I was being given a tour of. It is one of 196 rooms and suites at this staggeringly huge and regal establishment.

The 1,300 square feet suite, with its 10-person dining room, is epic and expansive as the view. Grander still is the castle-like exterior of the hotel’s Art Nouveau-style main building.

Its ‘Grand Château aesthetic’ looked unforgettable, all brightly lit up against the evening’s dying light. I still fantasise about moving into its central tower, and living the rest of my days as a Disney princess.

‘The chic appearance is owing to a five-year restoration project’

Inside, the appearance isn’t quite as dramatic, but rather rather exquisitely refined and luxurious – although not short of a chandelier or 10, and plenty of quirky touches, from modern artwork to statement furniture. The chic appearance is owing to a five-year restoration project, completed in 2015.

My Deluxe Room [above] clocked in at a 320 square feet, but there were plenty of echoes of the suite’s elegance apparent, from the rain shower to the creamy, luxury toiletries (Hermes) to the extravagant linens.

The hotel is well-located, with the main train station 10-minutes walk by foot. Meanwhile the Olympic Museum – one of the most dynamic and compelling I’ve ever visited, and I don’t even like sport – is right next door.

However, and this is hardly a criticism, the hotel is like a little village; there’s so has so much to see and do, you’ll be hard pressed to drag yourself away from it.

‘The Spa du Royal-Hammam below looks like a cave on the moon’

Wile away the hours with a leisurely buffet breakfast in the charming Brasserie du Royal [above], where the food is exquisite and the service world-class (as per the rest of the hotel). Then, an Aromatherapy Associates-infused massage at the glorious Spa du Royal, with its outdoor and indoor swimming pools. The otherworldly Spa du Royal-Hammam [below] looks like a cave on the moon, while the purple-lit waters of the Wet Area are right out of a music video.

Then, turn around the grounds of the hotel’s relaxing 5,000 square meter park. Perhaps followed by a trip down to the quiet shores of the lake. You’ll soon forget you’re in Switzerland’s fourth largest city altogether.

There is indeed so much to see and do, and preferably at such a glacial pace, that the hotel isn’t somewhere I’d personally suggest staying for just one night. A three-night stay, budgeting a day to get out and see the city, could be the template for the perfect long weekend/city break, however.

No stay is complete without a meal and a cocktail at the hotel’s buzzing SkyLounge, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, a 360 degree view balcony, and thus more staggering views of Lausanne. And even, if you’re lucky, nearby Geneva.

The food and service has a cooler, younger feel than elsewhere. The Asian-inspired food menu is limited, with the inventive cocktail menu taking precedence. The Red Point Martini, with wasabi and sake, and the classic Royal Spritz is Aperol and R de Ruinart Champagne, are standsouts.

‘The meaty hulks of Tuna Tataki were flame-seared on the table’

Regardless, the evening was an event. Of the several light bites I tried, my favorite were the meaty hulks of Tuna Tataki, flame-seared on the table front of me.

A final word again on service, which really was faultless. Upon check out, I was already running late for my flight. The receptionist was the epitome of cool, unflappable calm as she went through my transfer options with me. (I ended up getting an Uber to Geneva, which was insanely expensive). Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to leave a hotel less.

For more information about Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne, visit the official website.

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