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Short stay: Lausanne Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland

Built over a century ago, in 1915, the historic 140-room Lausanne Palace is a 5-star hotel in the Olympic city of Lausanne. A member of Swiss Deluxe Hotels and Leading Hotels of the World, this Belle Epoque hotel faces out towards the city at the front and enjoys Alpine vistas across Lake Geneva (which goes by the preferred name of Lac Léman in this part of Switzerland) to the rear. The welcome We arrived by train from Geneva Airport and the hotel had asked us for our arrival time at Lausanne station so that they could meet us on arrival. My phone rang shortly before we arrived into Gare de Lausanne. It was our driver confirming that he would be on the station platform to meet us. He greeted us with a smile, helped us with our cases, led us to the car and took us on the short transfer to Lausanne Palace. This was our second stay at the hotel, but our first for quite a long time, yet the hotel was every bit as welcoming and inviting as we remembered. Whilst the formalities were sorted, we had a welcome drink in the lounge at LP’s Bar close to reception. The room We stayed in a spacious (60 sq m) Junior Suite (room 301) with an interconnecting twin bedroom (303) for the children – rooms 301 and 303 on the third floor of the hotel. The décor was very simple yet stylish which we liked; we actually saw a number of other rooms, too, and there are a number of differently-styled rooms throughout the hotel, so something to suit everyone, with a constantly rolling refurbishment programme. The suite came with a separate living area with a balcony you could sit out on, and with fabulous lake and moutain views, situated between the two bedrooms. The bathroom The same neutral tones extended to the bathroom with floor-to-ceiling tiles, twin basins, a bath and separate walk-in shower could be found. Penhaligon’s London toiletries were provided – Blenheim Bouquet shampoo, shower gel, conditioner and body lotion. The facilities When it comes to facilties, Lausanne Palace is extremely well-catered for, with four restaurants, two bars, a spa and extensive meeting and event space. Cote Jardin is where breakfast is served each morning. It has a bright and open terrace lined with box trees and with yet more of those fabulous views out towards Lake Geneva and the Alps. For dinner, they offer quality Mediterranean cuisine and were awarded 14 points by the prestigious food Gault and Millau guide. On the evening of our visit, they were holding a barbecue evening where we were first treated to a refreshing amuse bouche of melon and tomato gazpacho with deep fried octopus and cherry tomato. We then visited a grill which was being manned by a chef and were able to able to choose from a range of meats – steaks, ribs, chops and various other cuts. Inside there was a buffet with a range of salads you could also choose from… …as well as a selection of desserts that were so tempmting that it required a serious measure of self-control! There is also the Brasserie du Grand-Chene, serving classic Parisian dishes and classic plats du jour, and Palace Sushi Zen, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant offering sushi and sashimi, udon noodles and soba soup. We dined at the latter where four sushi masters from Japan work their magic. We opted for sushi and sashimi selection plates that we could share and that allowed us to savour a variety of different pieces. Among our favourites were the shitake sushi which were really hearty and full of flavour, and eel sushi which was so soft and tender, with a slight sweetness. Both are pictured below. La Table d’Edgard is the hotel’s gourmet Michelin-starred restaurant but was unfortunately closed at the time of our visit. It wasn’t all bad news, though, as we visited the Cafe Beau-Rivage brasserie as the Beau-Rivage Palace sister hotel in Ouchy. Here we had an exceptional meal. The Japanese Amberjack Tatiaki had a firm texture and seemed to complement well with the yuzu and black sesame seeds and radish pickles. The Nicoise-style gambas a la plancha with spring onions made a lovely salad. Pictured also is the grilled line-caught bass from Noirmoutier (an island off the French Atlantic coast), served with an eggplant caviar and cima de rapa and anchovy condiment. In terms of being packed with flavour, the bomba rice (like paella) with pan-seared king prawns and calamari and chorizo mousse was a real winner. Also pictured here to tempt your tastebuds… an amazing open ravioli of Maine lobster with candied lemon and baby fennel with a bisque emulsion… …and a pan-seared spider steak of pork with coco beans and chanterelle mushrooms with parsley and garlic. For dessert, I had the meringue with strawberry sorbet and gruyere double cream to round off a truly exceptional meal. Returning to Lausanne Palace, the hotel spa is one that uses Valmont products – a Swiss brand and a pioneer in cellular cosmetics and the development of effective anti-aging treatments – as well as skincare products from Menard and Aveda. I had a facial treatment that left my face feeling fresh and radiant, but there are also massages, body treatments, manicures and feet care services available. In addition to the spa treatment rooms, there’s a spa shop selling swimwear and Valmont products, as well as a selection of candles and scents from specialist creators based in Lausanne. There’s also an outdoor area with sun loungers, an indoor pool and a gym with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment and a personal trainer on hand if required, plus a range of daily programmes available. Guests can also access the Yogi Booster Bar which is open daily and caters for anyone looking to ‘live better’ with an organic plant-based diet and a focus on detox cuisine. For business travellers, Lausanne Palace is also a popular meetings and events venue. The hotel has five banquet and receoption rooms, four of which are modular and can be adapted to the needs of the client. They can accommodate up to 300 people for a sit-down meal or 500 guests for a cocktail party. There is also a modern and fully equipped conference centre with eight fully adjustable modular meeting rooms, some of which have direct access to the hotel’s terrace. Location Lausanne Palace is just a 10-minute walk from Lausanne Gare and within easy walking distance of much of the city. If you are arriving with luggage, you can arrange to be collected from the station and a member of the hotel’s team will be there to meet you at the platform. If travelling around the city, taxis are available but the Metro system is also very easy to use. Tickets can be obtained from the hotel concierge and the nearest Metro station (Lausanne-Flon) is just a 3-minute walk away on Rue du Pont. Other nice touches The hotel went out of its way to make every aspect our stay special. From Champagne and fresh flowers in our room, to chocolates and snacks and drinks for the kids. It’s the little things that demonstrate the extra special care and attention that set a true luxury hotel apart from the rest, and Lausanne Palace offered these in abundance. Cost Rooms start from 400 CHF per night, excluding taxes and fees. A Junior Suite with a lake view starts from 770 CHF, excluding taxes and fees. The best bit It’s hard to put your finger on just one of thing as there is so much to appreciate at the hotel, but our suite and the view over Lake Geneva certainly took some beating. The final verdict We last visited Lausanne Palace more than a decade ago when A Luxury Travel Blog was still in its infancy. Back then we were travelling with a toddler and a baby so didn’t get to relax quite as much as we might have liked! The hotel was every bit as good as we could remember, only this time we were able to fully appreciate and enjoy its deserved reputation as one of Switzerland’s favourite hotels. Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Lausanne Palace. Our thanks also goes to Lausanne Tourism and Switzerland Tourism for their support with the trip.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. On my travels I have always found that Swiss hotels seem to have an edge over other leading hotels throughout the world. From your experience at the Lausanne Palace this is certainly another example of a Swiss Hotel with immaculate standards of service. The rolling refurbishment programme is so typical of the continuous desire to develop and improve.

  2. I’ve always said reading A Luxury Travel Blog is good for my education. I’ve visited Geneva quite a few rimes but I never knew that to be an authentic Genevan you had to refer to the lake as Lac Léman – I’ll know next time. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Some people think that there’s not much more to Swiss cuisine than fondue, chocolate and cheese. These pictures go to show that cuisine in Switzerland’s hotels is definitely alive and kicking. To quality nosh!

    1. Let’s not forget rösti! But yes… you make a good point, Jack. That’s like saying there’s not much to French cuisine other than frog’s legs, croissants and cassoulet (notice how I chose items beginning with the same letter as your own list ;)). It’s really quite narrow-minded as you can hopefully see not only from this post, but also my other luxury Swiss hotel write-up that is going live tomorrow.

  4. That’s quite a facade to the hotel, very grand in that the architect is keen to emphasise that many of the rooms have balconies.

  5. Hotels are getting better at providing a varied selection of restaurants. Essentially, at the end of a day, whether it’s business or leisure, the best option is just to head downstairs, have a drink and slump into a restaurant chair without having to go out. Then stick it on the bill, especially if it is business and you are on expenses.

    1. Hi Lesley

      Thanks for dropping by. I know what you mean and the benefit of having a varied selection means that, even if you are staying several nights, you can still enjoy varied dining experiences, still without having to venture out. That said, Lausanne is spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants both inside and outside the confines of the hotel! There are century-old brasseries and let’s not forget gourmet dinner cruises also available in the vicinity.


    2. I’ve done a dinner cruise on Lake Geneva. They are beautiful and tasty events on any evening. On the night I chose we began with a spectacular thunder storm and then we had a rainbow as the foreground to the setting sun, utterly beautiful.

      There were quite a few anniversary and birthday parties onboard. A dinner cruise is clearly one of the ways that the Genevans like to celebrate.

      The food was excellent and I would definitely repeat the experience.

    3. Thanks for dropping by, Mo… I’ve been to Geneva and Lausanne a few times now, but that’s not something I’ve done yet. I imagine it’s quite special, though!

  6. The hotel looks like the ideal candidate for the next time I visit Lausanne.
    Love the style, and the food looks picture perfect. And to know this will all be accompanied by good service, it will be hard to find anything better.

    1. Hi Kristof… the hotel certainly has a style and grandeur of its own. We were also lucky on this trip in that we had a short tour that took us ‘behind the scenes’ within the hotel. It was a fascinating insight into how busy things were – much like a swan gracefully gliding on a lake, when actually the feet are paddling furiously out of sight! The laundry… activities relating to the kitchens and waiting-on… deliveries… and so on. It was like a whole new world within the hotel!

  7. I hadn’t even heard of Lausanne. I need to get out more! The architecture of Lausanne Palace is incredible, it certainly makes a first impression and it has that traditional, regal kind of feel to it. It’s lovely when you can return somewhere for a second time and it’s just as good and as welcoming as you remembered it to be. I like the design of the rooms you stayed in for feeling quite fresh and understated, and the food options there sound fantastic with plenty of variety to suit everyone. I think I’d personally be inclined to skip the techno gym and head for the spa treatments and indoor pool for more of a relaxation focused stay there. The Yogi Booster Bar is an interesting one too, so it’s good to see their focus on holistic wellbeing and health.

    I know what you mean about the small details. For me when I stay somewhere it’s the small touches that make my stay feel warmer and they’re often the things I first think of. Ditto for places that recognise you as a returning customer. The last time I stayed at a hotel I’d previously stayed at they left a bottle of champaign, a couple of truffles and these delicious fruit skewers in my room, and it perhaps sounds small but that really made my day and sticks in my memory.

    1. Lausanne is perhaps best known for being the home of the IOC (International Olympic Committee). In fact, they hold most of their meetings at Lausanne Palace, I believe.

  8. Definitely want to stay at the hotel but there are a lot of things that I want to do in Geneva like the Red Cross Museum and the United Nations Headquarters. I also am very keen to get to CERN. Would staying in Lausanne work? I don’t mind spending a bit of time travelling as it’s such a stylish hotel.

    1. This is very doable, Diana. From Lausanne to Geneva is less than an hour on the train. By car you could do it in around 50 minutes, depending on the time of day you travel.

  9. The view looks amazing from any of the rooms! I would have love to bring my family there to stay, but our number just wouldn’t cut it (extended family included). But I might be able to swing another Lausanne trip with the wife from Bern and look at the Palace as a place to stay in the city.

  10. I like the short stay format as the reader knows what they are getting each time. You’ve got a very thorough structure which ensures that things don’t overlooked.

    I get the impression, particularly, in some of the national newspapers, that it’s more about the reviewer showing off the pyrotechnics of his or her writing than helping the poor traveller to decide where they are going to rest their weary head.

    I also like the fact that you cover the bathroom too. Far too many reviewers just ignore the bathroom. For me that’s far more important than the view.

    I can trust your review and know without doubt that the Lausanne Palace would work for me.

    1. Thank you, Pete… we do try to give a very honest and not too flowery picture with these short stay reviews, hopefully broken down in easy-to-follow, digestable sections. Personally, I like a great view as well as great amenities, but at Lausanne Palace we were lucky enough to be treated to both. :-)

  11. Staying somewhere with expansive views across Lake Geneva must be lovely. I really like that old fashioned luxury of the meet and greet on the station platform to transfer you to the hotel and the warmness of the welcome you got there. I don’t often stay in the same play twice but I have on occasion and it’s very reassuring when you go back the second time and it’s as good as you remembered. Looks like they outdo themselves with the food as well. I imagine it would make for an excellent conference spot for businesses too given how well equipped it is. I can see why you liked it here.

    1. Hi Susan – thanks for commenting. Because of the hotel’s elevated position within Lausanne, the views are indeed some of the finest from around the city. You’re right about the welcome – it’s nice not to have to worry about logistics and to have everything taken care of so seamlessly when you arrive somewhere. Like you, I often visit different places rather than return to the same ones – there were in fact 12 years between our two visits to Lausanne Palace, but absolutely no decline in service from one to the next. Lausanne Palace exceed all our expectations not just once, but on two occasions.

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