Whether you want to stay in Europe’s only hotel on stilts, chill out in an igloo with fantastic views of the Matterhorn or step back in history in a stylish medieval bedroom, Switzerland’s best quirky boutique hotels can ensure you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.
Boutique Hotel Schluessel
Self-described as the oldest boutique hotel in Switzerland, the Boutique-Hotel Schluessel mixes modern styles with antiques from the ‘Belle Epoche’ to give the impression that you’ve stepped back in time for a little while. The hotel sits in the village of Beckenried, an ideal location to visit the nearby city of Lucerne while allowing you to enjoy scenic views of the surrounding mountain and Lake Lucerne. Dining out will be a roll of the dice as all of the restaurant’s food is cooked using fresh, local ingredients so there are no written menus, rather the options are described depending on what is available.
Boutique-Hotel Schlüssel AG, Oberdorfstrasse 26, Beckenried +41 41 622 03 33
Located a short distance from Lake Geneva is the Eastwest Hotel. Don’t let its solemnly classical exterior fool you, inside is a contemporary, relaxed setting designed by artists Mark Hertrich and Nichola Adnet. Eastern designs blend seamlessly with Western and your first site of the hotel interior will be through a traditional moon gate, paying homage to Chinese art. The 41 rooms available are made to make you feel completely at home, offering levels of comfort that will make you want to stay a few days more. At the hotel restaurant, you can sample traditional local dishes that have been spiced up with a touch of Asian cuisine.
Eastwest Hotel, 6 Rue Des Paquis, Geneva +41 44 511 8477
Château d’Ouchy is found on the banks of Lake Geneva, with beautiful views of the surrounding Alps. A neo-Gothic castle dating back to the 12th century, it was reconstructed into a hotel in the late 1800s. It now contains 50 delicately designed rooms and offers a hammam, sauna and its own boat so you can easily get out on to Lake Geneva and enjoy its tranquil waters. At the waterfront restaurant, you can take in the fresh Alpine air while dining on traditional perch meunière, caught from Lake Geneva itself.
Hotel Firefly brings the traditional alpine lodge into the 21st century. The design of each of the 21 suites on offer pays homage to the four elements of earth, fire, air and water, blending modern styles with a cosy feel. At the end of a day on Zermatt’s slopes, you can relax in the aromatherapy steam bath or the Schnapps Distiller sauna, or just rest up with a smooth cocktail in Bar 55. This stylish family-owned hotel will be sure to make your visit to Zermatt a trip to remember.
Hotel Firefly, Schluhmattstrasse 55, Zermatt +41 27 967 76 76
In the shadow of the Matterhorn, the Iglu-dorf, or ‘igloo village’, is nestled off Zermatt’s Riffelhorn piste. Don’t expect the height of luxury as each igloo comes with a sleeping bag on top of a bed of ice, but tunnels connect your bedroom to an indoor bar and restaurant. In the outside jacuzzi, you can relax and take in the splendour of the surrounding mountains. The village also offers a private jacuzzi in its romantic igloo, a prime choice for honeymooners or couples.
Iglu-Dorf, Rotenboden, Gornergrat Skigebiet, Zermatt +44 41 612 27 28
Whitepod offers spacious, luxury ‘pods’ in the heart of the Swiss mountains. If you want to escape from the crowds and enjoy nature at its purest, the Whitepods are for you. In the summer, you can indulge in long hikes through 25km of signposted trails or stay put and enjoy playing outdoor sports. In the winter, you can go take advantage of 7km of private slopes, go for a snow-shoe walk or take a trip on a husky-driven sled. At the Restaurant Les Cerniers you can regroup, relax and enjoy non-stop lunch service featuring traditional mountain and regional dishes.
Whitepod, Les Cerniers, Monthey, Switzerland +41 24 471 38 38
Art Deco Hotel del Lago
Sitting directly on Lake Ticino, the Art Deco Hotel del Lago is an ideal place to take in the ambience of Switzerland’s Italian side. You can feel the relaxed pull of the Mediterranean even from here and that’s particularly true of the Hotel del Lago with all of its 21 rooms each individually designed with vibrancy and colour. Its seafood restaurant is stocked with wines and there’s even a whisky bar overlooking Lake Ticino and the surrounding mountains. The Hotel del Lago isn’t perfect nor is it luxurious, but for a calm, slightly wacky trip to Switzerland’s southern side, be sure to make a stop here.
Art Deco Hotel del Lago, Lungolago Motta 9, Melide, Ticino +41 91 649 70 41
In the heart of Zürich’s old town, the Widder Hotel‘s nine historic residences date back to the 12th century. Its design is contemporary but throughout its 49 rooms, the rich medieval heritage is gloriously maintained. The hotel takes its name from the house of the Widder, a butcher’s guild that still organises meetings today. For a limited eight month period the Widder Garage, a former stable is also home to the hotel’s bar, adding a touch to its uniqueness.
Widder Hotel, Rennweg 7, Zürich +41 44 224 25 26
At the Hotel Palafitte you can literally stay on top of Lake Neuchâtel, in Europe’s only hotel built on stilts. It’s an experience that is guaranteed to not be found elsewhere. The hotel’s bungalow style rooms stand above the lake, giving the feeling that you’re hovering on your own personal island and ensuring you’re treated to fine morning views during your stay. Hotel Palafitte is located in Neuchâtel, a small town with a charming historical centre and a well-maintained chateau.
Hotel Palafitte, Route des Gouttes-d’Or 2, Neuchâtel +44 32 723 02 02