In 2020, travel restrictions required us to rediscover destinations within Switzerland. What we found was gorgeous design, unparalleled natural landscapes, charming boutique hotels, and breathtaking historic properties. In 2021, we might just travel locally again.
Are you looking for the perfect place to finally break your travel fast this summer? We’re sharing some of the most delightful places we found while researching our own holidays. Some you’ll have heard of, but others are a bit more off the beaten path. We’ve included addresses for architecture and design mavens, nature lovers, boutique hotel snobs, and amateur historians.
Architecture and design
You’ve already toured Le Corbusier’s house – twice. When you meet someone new, you like to casually reference the most recent issue of Espaces contemporains or that exhibit you saw at the mudac that changed your perspective on consumption culture. Dinner plans? Definitely a Designer’s Table event with Raphaël Lutz.
Addresses for you
Nature meets history meets modern design: The raccards at Anako Lodge in Val d’Herens hit all the right points. Chic and innovative, Hotel Palafitte is literally ON the water. Cheesy marketing aside, the B2 hotel in Zurich has been on our list for years! Vitra fans will love the look of The Hamlet in Geneva – the location is an architectural dream as well. Though a private developer has transformed it into an overly-exclusive destination, Peter Zumthor’s thermal baths in Vals is still an architectural marvel. Not for the faint of heart, a trip to the Cabane de Mont-Rose is rewarded by the most complex wooden structure existing in Switzerland. We loooove the minimalist yet swanky design of the Carina hotel in Zermatt.
Les Cabanes de Marie.
Over are the days of waiting in long lines at Europe’s most touristy sights. If the pandemic taught you anything, it’s that waking up with the scent of pine on your nose and the fresh mountain air on your skin is the only way to really relax. Even little Lausanne feels too urban for your tastes. When you’re not cooking bear garlic you scavenged from the forest outside your apartment, you’re dining at L’Auberge de Montheron.
Addresses for you
Retreat to nature and to your childhood fantasies by sleeping in a treehouse at Les Cabanes de Marie. Hit the open road and join the international #vanlife trend by reserving your overnight camper van through MyCamper.ch. Or if a Land Rover is more your style (because…why not?), this Pangea on Airbnb looks especially memorable. If you’re feeling especially extreme, how about spending the night in a hanging tent on the side of a cliff? Or in the elegant wooden chalet with a glass roof? Go back to the basics with this log cabin for eight people. Or sleep under a canopy of trees in this bubble room in Zurich. For a really unique hotel that serves as a starting point for spectacular hikes, offers sophisticated cuisine, and welcomes families, the Grimselwelt Hotel Handeck is a standout.
Small is better
For you, holiday magic comes from the unexpected, spontaneous charm of a unique space. Something human-sized where heart, soul, and personality are on display. Nothing kills your vibe faster than generic carpeting or anything that calls itself a “resort.” You can be found hanging out at Café Louve or Le Perroquet – or let’s be honest, any place Julia Christ designed.
Addresses for you
Eclectic and charming as can be: We’re always looking for a reason to visit the Maison Bergdorf B&B in Interlaken. The Spedition Hotel in Thun may have big business backers, but it was also named “Best New Boutique Hotel in the World,” and the moody color palette is calling our name. For a cozy “staycation,” we love the eight-room Maison d’Igor over in Morges (check our article for more details). We’ve always dreamed of living in the Bourg of Lutry – maybe a stay at the Maison No Quatre is the trial run we need to finally do it.
The past is present
Art deco charm; period details, grandeur, and glamour. They just don’t make them like the used to! For you, hotel nirvana is rippled antique glass and the romance of original flooring, any place where you can step into the storied past of voyages in search of mountain vistas. Why only travel to a place when you can also travel to a time period?! Your perfect date? An exhibit at the Hermitage museum followed by dinner at the Brasserie de Montbenon. Because really, those ceilings!
Addresses for you
Villa Flor is a boutique historic hotel dripping with charm in Grison’s Engadin Valley. Experience Thun as it should be experienced: at Schloss Schandau, a restored lakeside castle, obviously. The period details of the Paxmontana Hotel in Obwald are almost as beautiful as the rolling mountain hills of central Switzerland out its windows. Or prepare to get lost down the most stunning rabbit hole of historic monuments for rent – just keep your expectations in check because most of these properties require reserving a year in advance. The Kurhaus Bergun Hotel is on our list because it was not only named Best Countryside Historic Hotel in Europe in 2017, but also because they welcome children with open arms.