Rue du Grand-Chêne 7, Lausanne: this is the address I would like to have permanently printed on my business card.
After every stroll through the old town, I would return to those large columns guarding the entrance. And those revolving doors would swing me into a palace of luxury.
Here in the heart of Lausanne, I would glide across the opulent lobby with its real-size tree. A quick elevator ride to the fifth floor, and I would be home: the former “Juan Antonio Samaranch” Suite, renamed after yours truly...
Daydreaming at the Lausanne Palace
This dream came true during our recent stay, if only for a few days. The Lausanne Palace with its century-old history has seen it all. From the signing of a friendship treaty between Turkey and Poland in 1923 to hosting the G8 delegations in 2003.
Opened for business at the tail end of the elegant Belle Époque, it has evolved along with the city of Lausanne but retains its prestigious vibes until this day. Swiss hospitality, which is world-renowned, was born in this very part of Switzerland, the canton of Vaud.
Deserving the “palace” in its name, this hotel has housed countless royalties and celebrities. As a testament to the hotel’s creds, we spot name tags for Nicole Kidman and Elton John at the in-house brasserie. And there is a suite named after Coco Chanel just a few doors down from ours. (She was a regular in Lausanne, now resting in peace on a cemetery nearby.)
The building sits on an elevated spot in this hilly town, and all of its rooms and suites have views. Some towards the Flon district, and others towards the majestic Lake Geneva.
Those views unfold in front of our eyes the second we open the heavy doors to our presidential suite. Then, the views double - and even triple! That’s because each of the three rooms has its own balcony with sweeping vistas over the lake and mountains beyond.
We get a feeling of how the likes of composers, fashion designers, politicians and writers must have felt as they stayed here over the decades. Is this where they found the inspiration for their next big thing?
The ultimate en suite breakfast
With three balconies and scenic views, we decide to have our breakfast in the suite. On the order sheet, we are asked to pick a 15-minute time slot for the breakfast delivery. Those small details turn a luxurious hotel into a palace.
As you can tell from these photographs, we did not regret our decision for one minute! If someone were to ask me about my favorite petit déjeuner - in my lifetime - I would enthusiastically answer: “At the Palace, hands down!”
French cuisine at the Brasserie du Grand-Chêne
The hotel has five in-house restaurants ranging from fine dining to Japanese. The Brasserie du Grand-Chêne is a Parisian style bistro, accessible from the hotel lobby or off the street.
The brasserie acts like a time tunnel. In an instant, it transports us from the heart of Lausanne to somewhere in Paris. The interior design with its grand staircase, chandelier and typical brasserie booths is straight out of the City of Light.
During the course of our stay, we indulge in the best French treats: coquelet au vin rouge (country stew of chicken and wine), escargots (snails), or soupe de poisson (fish soup).
This palace lives up to each of its five stars
The hotel is truly in the heart of Lausanne. The central location allows us to step in and out: out to the farmer’s market, back in for lunch, out for a visit to the new MCBA Museum of Fine Arts, and in for a swim in the pool.
Every time we walk across the lobby, the staff smiles and greets us, assisting with directions or a cab to the port in Ouchy. Until I can permanently change the address on my business card, I might have to become a regular here at the Lausanne Palace...
Hôtel Lausanne Palace
Rue du Grand-Chêne 7-9
Phone +41 21 331 31 31