I’m suddenly awash in invitations and news about new, newly improved and improving hotels and restaurants in Switzerland – and this at a time when everyone has been worrying about tourism and the high Swiss franc.
Clearly, some of us are expected to keep traveling and eating and spending our money, so some of us will do our best.
Here are a few of the changes going on, just the ones I’ve had mentioned to me today ( a day later I’m adding the unusual HO hotel in Vercorin, which is a combination second-hand shop/hotel, so if you love your chair, you can buy it. Great Alpine views and skiing, plus affordable):
March 1 is the press date for the new Geneva airport restaurant Le Chef. I’m keen to try it, as I have some experience of chef Benjamin Luzuy’s cooking and his energetic entrepreneurship from some of his earlier ventures. More than that, after I wrote about the restaurant they contacted me to ask me to do an English version of the menus (fun and challenging little job). So I know what to expect and it sounds great.
Le Brassus, new 5-star hotel to attract more charm lovers
Big news from Le Brassus, where Audemars Piguet surprised everyone there and elsewhere by announcing they are tearing down and rebuilding the very popular hôtel des Horlogers. The problem is the aging building itself and the need for a top-quality hotel to encourage visitors to linger in this beautiful spot in the Jura.
The staff has been given notice, reports 24 Heures but they’ve reportedly been told the company hopes to rehire as many as possible once the new building is ready to house a five-star hotel, in 2018. The watchmaking firm isn’t unhappy with the current hotel operation, under the direction of Sina and Nicolas Frey, where the restaurant has an excellent reputation and the rooms are elegant country style. But the new hotel will be larger and aims to pull in 9,000 guests, a significant boost to tourism in the area.
The forest that Le Brassus edges is Europe’s longest contiguous forest, a land of magic; the area boasts the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry, skiing of all sorts and the nearby Lac de Joux. If you don’t yet know it, this is a good time to explore it from the current hotel, which offers several packages.
Ticino hotel, restaurant offer – new attractions
After reading details of several new places opening in Ticino, sent to me by the canton’s tourism office, I’m thinking about the moment when it is still winter north of the Alps but Ticino suddenly bursts into spring.
Here’s the short version – visit their sites to see some beautiful buildings, food, and ideas for long weekends.
You don’t, of course, have to wait for spring:
- new 4-star hotel near Bellinzona: La Tureta, 31 rooms, hotel of charm in Giubiasco, opening April 2016, approx. CHF110 / www.latureta.ch
- re-opened in December 2015 after 2 years of renovations: Hôtel des Alpes in Dalpe, celebrated Ticino chef Waldis Ratti is in charge of this “jewel of the Leventine / www.desalpesdalpe.ch
- new concept at Ristorante Seven, chef Stefan Nowaczyk in charge, “great addition to the food scene in Ascona” / www.seven.ch
- Park Hotel in Ascona has a new wellness centre, CHF125 per person in a double room / www.parkhoteldelta.ch
- La Rucola – Fresh & Easy Dining from a Gault & Millau 15 points restaurant chef: mid-March, the Grand Hôtel Villa Castagnola in Lugano opens its new light cuisine restaurant / www.villacastagnola.com
- Hôtel Lugano Dante Center has opened a new electric car parking & recharging station and if offering packages with this – it is taking an active part in the new Swiss Grand Tour that focuses on sustainable development / www.hotel-luganodante.com
- If you love the Fifties, this is the year for you to visit the Vezia hotel, celebrating its 60th anniversary with a “return to the Fifties” programme – CHF235 per person, but it includes a spin in a pink Thunderbird Cadillac. Not bad when spring comes to Ticino / www.hotelvezia.ch