The grandest of historic chateau-style hotels are always to be found in Switzerland and the Hôtel Royal Savoy in Lausanne-Ouchy is particularly smart and alluring, standing tall in the ranks of the great as one might expect in the city of the world’s finest hotel schools (The École hôtelière de Lausanne).
Set in landscaped parkland, there are 196 rooms and suites spread out across the main historic hotel and a new contemporary Park Wing. Facilities wise, The Spa du Royal offers a 1,500 square metre wellness area with heated, interconnecting indoor and outdoor swimming pools; wet areas with steam rooms; saunas and Jacuzzis; a dedicated area for women; two private spa areas; a relaxation room and eight treatment rooms. There is also a 24/7 well equipped fitness facility with the latest equipment.
For wining and dining, the hotel has wonderful offerings including La Brasserie du Royal, the Lobby Lounge and Lounge Bar, the Royal Terrace and the SkyLounge.
Situated in the Ouchy district of Lausanne in 5,000 square metres of parkland, overlooking Lake Geneva, the Hôtel Royal Savoy is about a 15-minute transfer from Lausanne-Blécherette airport if arriving by private jet or helicopter. Transfers from Geneva Airport will take approximately an hour, EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, two and a quarter hours and Zurich is just a little further out, meaning a journey time of around two and a half hours. Equally Paris and Milan are reachable by train within just three and a half hours.
When arriving at the hotel, guests are given a transport card covering their entire stay enabling them to travel free of charge on public transport (including trains, metros, and busses) in zones 11, 12,15,16,17,18 and 19 operated by Mobilis. The closest metro station is Délices and is located a few minutes’ walk from the front of the hotel.
With Lake Geneva (also known as Lac Léman) so close – around eight minute walk - and the hotel a 900 metre walk from the pier, it is just a 35-minute crossing to reach France and Evian-Les-Bains or 50 minutes to reach Thonon-Les-Bains. Lake Geneva is the largest freshwater lake in western Europe and offers a host of water sports including sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, pedalos and more. The French side of the lake (the border cuts through the middle), is surrounded by terraced vineyards whilst on the other, the snow-capped Swiss Alps.
Ouchy is a garden city with three examples situated out on the quays – the Denantou (famous for its Thai Pavilion), the Elysées and the Olympic Park. There is also the rose garden of Place du Générale Guisan with over 130 different species of flower. It is also known for its cafés, restaurants, and small bars, especially near Lausanne Train Station, and for the interactive Olympic Museum outlining the history of the modern Olympics from Ancient Greece to today whilst also offering an opportunity to race against Usain Bolt, if you dare.
Lausanne is the fifth biggest city in Switzerland and the Olympic capital of the world. Over 40 international sports federations have chosen Lausanne for their headquarters and the city boasts 360 hectares of parks and public gardens; 60 kilometres of cycling routes; 33 hectares of vines, a whole host of museums and 11 kilometres of shoreline. It is also just one and three-quarter hours by train away from Glacier 3000 and the Alps.
There are a lot of attractions here including a plethora of museums (including the Typewriter Museum – a must for hipsters and Chaplin’s World by Grévin - a cine-homage to Charlie Chaplin, the Little Tramp), Lausanne Cathedral, the new Platforme 10 arts district and the UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyard terraces.
Set in landscaped parkland, there are 196 rooms and suites spread out across the main historic hotel and a new contemporary wing, all with stunning views out across Lausanne or Lake Geneva.
The accommodation is anything but historic though and is sleek and elegantly comfortable. The starter rooms in the tranquil Park Wing overlooking the manicured gardens are the bright and airy Deluxe Rooms, all larger than 30 square metres and all offering private balconies furnished with table and chairs to admire the view. Featuring lacquered wood flooring with a neutral colour palette enlivened by pops of colour from flowers or artwork, there is also a custom bar featuring a complimentary tea and coffee selection with a Nespresso machine, a seating area and an ergonomic desk. Other amenities include marble bathrooms with either rain showers or tubs; Bulgari toiletries; hairdryers; individually controlled air conditioning, televisions, 122-centimetre flat screen televisions; minibars and personal safes with power outlets for charging laptops.
The south-facing Savoy Executive Rooms and The Savoy Lake View Executive Rooms, which include breakfast, are located in the Art Nouveau-styled historic building and start at around 25 square metres and 30 square metres of living space respectively, looking out across the city, the lake and the Alps from individual balconies.
The next category up are the suites (ideal for families) – the more apartment styled Savoy Suite with Terrace or Balcony or the Savoy Lake View Suites with around 70 square metres of space and spectacular views out over the lake from the balconies or from large picture windows. Located in the main Savoy building, with interconnecting rooms available, these suites feature a separate lounge and dining space, a fully equipped kitchenette, a guest powder room and a large master suite with dressing area.
The premium suite is of course the Royal Savoy Suite. More classically styled with an Art Nouveau nuance, with antiques, crystal chandeliers and a bookcase with coffee-table tomes and objets d’art, this is really more like a city apartment with an entrance lobby; living room; dining room seating up to 14 guests; a kitchen; a guest powder room; a master suite and a large balcony. The suite also features a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Alternatively, others may prefer the almost 700 square metres of indoor/outdoor living space offered by The Penthouse taking over the entire floor at the very top of the hotel. Floor to ceiling windows open onto the wrap-around terrace with fabulous views out over the city, lake and mountains. There are three-bedroom master suites; a private gym and spa; a dining room; a kitchenette; guest powder room; a large living room; a library and marble bathrooms with freestanding tubs.
Facilities wise, there is a wonderful 1,500 square metre wellness area – The Spa du Royal - with heated, interconnecting indoor and outdoor swimming pools; wet areas with steam rooms; ice fountains, saunas and Jacuzzis; a dedicated area for women; a relaxation room and eight treatment rooms. The Spa Suite is ideal for couples, offering a private space for moments of relaxation.
There are also a number of group classes ranging from yoga to pilates and body sculpting. The spa menu features a range of individually adapted facial and body treatments using products by Biologique Recherche and Aromatherapy Associates. These range from energy, to relaxing, to pregnancy and sports massages. The spa also features a hair salon offering those vital mani-pedis and waxing.
There is also a 24/7 well equipped fitness facility with the latest equipment.
Many a titled heads of state has laid their head on the pillows of the Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne since it opened in 1909 - indeed the Spanish royal family once made it their home in exile and the late King of Thailand spent much of his youth at the property and its environs – hence the Thai Pavilion donated by King Bhumibol also known as King Rama IX which also denoted the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Thailand.
Revitalised and re-imagined in 2015 after a five-year restoration, the Hôtel Royal Savoy Lausanne still provides that magical historic ambiance and sterling service standards but does not rest on its laurels, continually evolving into the present with luxurious contemporary interiors and a techno-savvy infrastructure for today’s discerning travelling elite.
The hotel’s Qatari owner – Katara – spent a fortune on the much needed renovation. The interior – the public areas are quite Middle Eastern but with an Art Deco touch. Expect Moorish arches, splashes of gold detailing and plush furnishings. The rooms however are contemporary. The exterior of the Royal Savoy has remained true to 1909.
There are four areas for wining and dining including La Brasserie du Royal, the Lobby Lounge and Lounge Bar, the Royal Terrace and the Sky Lounge.
The flagship La Brasserie du Royal serves a variety of local and traditional gastronomic recipes from the region, reinterpreted and seasonally adapted by the restaurant’s head chef. The space is effectively a collection of four different rooms from the alcove to the expansive terrace and the covered veranda – the best of inside and outside dining - entered by a corridor of glass fronted wine fridges, packed to the brim with delectable vintages. With a cool, calm and collected ambiance, the space is flooded with light from large picture windows and overlooks the hotel’s Japanese styled garden.
The Lounge Bar & Cigar Lounge has a contemporary Art Nouveau chic about it with this elegant space an ideal meeting spot for friends, family and business colleagues. Blessed with high ceilings and light filled areas, furnished with plump armchairs and modernist light fixtures, the bar serves a traditional afternoon tea in the afternoons with an impressively full array of teas followed by a range of delicious cocktails and wines from the region when the day recedes, accompanied by a tasty casual menu of burgers, club sandwiches, mezze and planchettes. There is also a cigar haven within this space whereby cigar lovers can select from a prodigious selection of vitolas.
The Royal’s twin terraces abut both the Brasserie and the Lounge Bar and offer en plein air experiences when the climate permits.
The SkyLounge offers an impressive 360-degree view over Lausanne, the lake and mountains with a menu that offers a hitlist of favourites from across the globe from lunch to aperitifs and fine dining. Reopening every May, this is definitely the place to see and be seen. Every first Wednesday of the month is allocated to a “meet the winemakers” event where guests may discover the Royal Savoy’s winemakers, taste their vintages, and enjoy some charcuterie and cheeses from the region. The desserts at Skylounge should be consumed first - they are that good and must not be missed!
When the hotel was renovated in 2015, sustainability and eco-responsibility were considered. Isolation, heating, and air conditioning solutions were implemented in order to be eco-responsible and reduce waste and cost. A few examples of the hotel’s sustainability initiatives - laundry : use of ecological detergent and washers run on photovoltaic energy, waste : plant oils are treated and reused as bio carburant for the vehicles in charge of waste processing, food waste used to produce biogas and compost, food provisioning : focus on local suppliers for all food outlets as much as possible (bread, vegetables and fruits and wine) and the hotel works closely with different organisations and audit constantly different services to put new green perspectives into place.