Some hotels have endured the test of time, meanwhile looking just as handsome as on inauguration day.
But as many of us would confirm, fighting the effects of aging is easier said than done. Thanks to their knack for detail and sheer commitment, the former and current owners of Swiss Historic Hotels have managed to preserve their properties for the rest of us.
We have recently caught wind that the Balcon du Jura Vaudois plateau is surrounded by nature and gifted with spectacular views. With Lake Neuchâtel below and the Swiss Alps in the distance, no wonder the Grand Hôtel des Rasses has made it onto our shortlist of unmissable historic hotels in Switzerland.
Historic charm at Grand Hôtel des Rasses
The drive from lake level to the plateau turns out to be quite an experience. Once the last vineyards and farms disappear in the rearview mirror, the scenery changes by the minute. The curvy one-lane road is shared with wild horses. There are gnarly trees, moss-covered clearings, and piled-up rocks that serve as fencing.
Canton Vaud is full of surprises. We never thought to find ourselves in such an uninhabited and remote place here in Switzerland. After a 20-minute drive, we reach our destination: Grand Hôtel des Rasses.
The three-star hotel sits at 1200 meters above sea level on the Balcon du Jura, the panoramic ridge between the towns of Bullet and Sainte-Croix. (We’ve previously reported on Sainte-Croix, the automaton capital of the world.) Amid all these pine trees, the air up here is crisp and refreshing.
Designated as Historic Hotel of the Year 2019, this grand hotel dates back to the 19th-century. If the lobby area is a precursor for the rest of the hotel, we already like what we are seeing. The architecture is Style Sapin, a Swiss variation of Art Nouveau born out of nearby La-Chaux-de-Fonds. As such, the details are impeccable, from the tiled floors to the chandeliers.
A junior suite with magnificent views
To our great surprise, we are upgraded to a Junior Suite with two balconies. The suite is historic by definition, but all amenities are in good shape. We are particularly fond of the bathroom and the hallway where we experience moments of #AccidentallyWesAnderson:
During fair weather, our balconies would have provided unobstructed views of the lake below and the Alps beyond. Unfortunately, we are only able to peek through the low-hanging clouds and heavy fog here and there.
The dramatic weather conditions remind us of pictures we have seen of Scotland. But for some reason, it rather fits the atmosphere of this historic grand hotel.
The indoor pool is perfect for swimming some laps, and children seem to get a kick out of it, too. The adjacent sauna is small but serves its purpose.
We have our minds set on trying an outdoor activity, though: from our suite’s balcony, we have spotted a petanque court. The reception is happy to borrow us the petanque set, and off we go!
The dinner menu of the in-house Restaurant Belle Epoque has lots of seasonal choices. While there are several set menus such as "Hôtel Historique", we decide to go à la carte. Ranging from deer to beef and white trout, most ingredients are sourced in Switzerland. This is a welcome surprise, adding to the delicious taste experience.
We soak in the hotel's vibes one last time by feeding the historic music box. And we make a pact that the next time around, we will be combining a stay with a visit to the nearby Creux du Van, the Swiss Grand Canyon.
Grand Hôtel des Rasses
Rte des Alpes 25
Phone: +41 24 454 1961