Arrival/Check-in: We arrived in Lugano by train direct from Zürich Airport and hadn’t even emerged from the station when we saw the smartly uniformed driver holding a brass-framed sign with our names. Our luggage was whisked into the van; and we headed downhill to the lakeshore, where the doorman welcomed us and escorted us to the desk in the wide, gleaming marble lobby. We were again welcomed, checked in immediately (although it was barely noon) and provided with maps and information about Lugano. The receptionist gave us a brief tour of the first floor, where a few other guests sat in the elegant but comfortable sitting areas overlooking the lake; it was all most genteel, without a hint of old grand hotel dowdiness. We were escorted to our room, and less than 15 minutes after stepping off the train we were standing on our balcony, soaking in one of Europe’s loveliest views. (30/30)
Guest Quarters: Our room was as splendid as the view. The king-sized bed had excellent reading lights; and there were two comfortable armchairs, a large desk and a bureau with an LCD TV. The décor was luxuriously elegant: Padded gold damask walls above limed-birch wainscoting were edged with twisted satin cord; and the floor was covered in a green, Persian-design carpet. The large closet was equipped to address two of our pet peeves, providing two luggage racks and ample free-hanging wooden and satin-padded hangers. Our balcony overlooking the lake and mountains was furnished with two large, cushioned chairs and a table (the hotel offers 24-hour room service). The large marble bathroom had a wide vanity with two sinks, a lighted make-up mirror and two sets of Etro amenities, including bath salts. An extra set was on a shelf over the long bathtub, and towels hung on heated racks. Two thick terry robes hung on the door. When we returned after dinner in the evening, each sink and the tub had a bathmat on the marble floor in front of them. White linen mats were beside each bed, and trays on each nightstand held mineral water and glasses. (30/30)
Services/Amenities: The hotel’s restaurant, La Veranda, has the high-ceilinged, white-linen grace expected in a grand hotel where heads of state stay, but the service is gracious and accommodating. Lugano is in the Italian-speaking Swiss Ticino, and our waiter, who spoke flawless English, quickly understood that we preferred to practice our rusty Italian; he spoke slowly and translated from the Italian only when we were clearly puzzled. He was not in the least concerned that this took a bit longer. The daily multicourse menu was priced quite reasonably. Breakfast was a memorable occasion, a buffet that included delectable fresh-baked pastries and breads, smoked salmon, local artisanal cheeses, hot entrées and a variety of fresh fruits and berries. It was one of the finest breakfasts we have ever been offered in a hotel. A piano bar has live music in the evening, and afternoon tea is served in the sitting room overlooking the lake. The small business center offers free Internet; all rooms have free LAN Internet access. (38/40)
The Experience: Location doesn’t get any better, and the staff is exceptional. One simple example: On the second morning of our stay, our waiter didn’t offer me coffee, instead inquiring if I would like Darjeeling tea again or a different variety. That sort of attention to little details makes it clear how the Splendide Royal earned its five stars.
Total Score: 98/100
Hotel Splendide Royal Lugano
Riva Antonio Caccia 7
6900 Lugano, Switzerland
tel 41 91 985 77 11
Discover why Global Traveler readers named Cunard® the Best Large-Ship Cruise Line for seven consecutive years. For a limited time, book your voyage during Cunard’s Explore with More promotion and take advantage of lower fares*, up to $1,200 Onboard Credit†, Free Specialty Dining for Two^, 50% Reduced Deposit††, and more. Choose from an array of exciting journeys, including Transatlantic Crossings and voyages to Alaska, the Caribbean and Canada & New England.
Without visiting, it’d be easy to throw Chicago into any number of categories. Everyone thinks they know Chicago; after all, it’s the third-largest city in America, the most prestigious foodie city in the country, the city of jazz, a comedian’s playground, an architect’s dream, a writer’s paradise. The list goes on. Only when walking the streets themselves do you realize there’s nothing categorical about the Windy City, especially as it continues to evolve.
PHOTO: © ADRIAN OLSTAD
FXExpress Traveler of the Year Contest 2023
The Lanesborough, one of London’s most luxurious properties and part of Oetker Collection, offers a romantic afternoon tea experience alongside a hotel stay just in time for Valentine’s Day. Available Feb. 11, 12 and 14, Valentine’s Afternoon Tea features Rosé Champagne and a rose cake to share with that special someone.
Nashville’s once-modest skyline continues to evolve as its luxury market grows. Lavish hotel properties are added to the landscape while acclaimed chefs stake claim in the robust culinary scene and premier cultural offerings round out the city’s repertoire.
A deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Türkiye and Syria Feb. 6, with more than 11,000 fatalities thus far reported. That number is expected to grow as rescue operations continue.