Every winter, Switzerland reminds me that not all shades of grey are exciting. I always go to Ticino when I need a break from my daily routine; time slows down as one contemplates at Lake Lugano.
It always seems to be sunny in Lugano. That fact did not escape the mind of Dr. Adolf Keller-Hoerschelmann when he created his wellness house, the Kurhaus Cademario Hotel & Spa in 1914. He even stated that "sunshine is crucial for good health," and I could not agree more.
I was already feeling more relaxed just by stalking the Kurhaus Cademario online.
I had very high hopes and I was not disappointed. At an altitude of 850 meters above sea, the location was perfect with great views of Lake Lugano. Unfortunately, it was very foggy during my stay, but I was still able to sneak out at twilight and capture the sunrise.
The room decoration is warm and homey. Every little detail is thought through, including a personalized welcome note and gifts including nougat which was out of this world. (I am still dreaming of it!) Just to give you an idea: you can choose your own pillow! There is a pillow menu which allows you to order the perfect pillow to sleep on.
Stepping inside the DOT.spa
The hotel's DOT.spa articulates all its services around the needs of the guests. I really had the feeling that my well-being was a focal point during my entire stay. There was a special event for women only the first night with music, massage, drinks, and food. We also got a chance of discovering the exclusive range of beauty products of the DOT.spa.
Let's be honest: the difference between laziness and relaxation resides in the location where you do it. It’s not lazy if you are doing the relaxing at a spa!
I was most excited to visit the DOT.spa, a 2'200 m² oasis dedicated to relaxation. I could not believe that such a place existed and that I was lucky enough to be invited there. The facilities included a water world and a sauna world.
My favorite part was the outdoor pool at night where the view was simply breathtaking:
*Disclaimer: I can never warn my non-European friends enough. The sauna area of the wellness spa is a naked zone. You can keep a towel around you, but it does not mean others will do the same.
I was going to Lugano to relax and so I decided not to lie to myself by packing my workout clothes. I was accompanied by a personal trainer and no amount of relaxation could keep him away from doing his daily workout. He said that the gym was really good and he was surprised to see how well equipped it is. So, the hotel gym was approved by the professional yet avoided by the relaxed girl...
Restaurant La Cucina
Surprisingly, relaxing during an entire day does build up an appetite! As a vegetarian, I was a little bit worried when dinner time came. The typical gastronomy of Ticino is filled with delicatessen and meat. I was delighted when the Restaurant La Cucina created a vegetarian meal for me: a delicious pasta dish with mushrooms on a creamy sauce.
It gets better at the Villa Principe Leopoldo
I was already over the moon about my stay at the Cademario. I did not think this experience could have been topped. Holy cannoli was I wrong!
Our night at the Hotel Villa Principe Leopoldo was incredible. The villa is the former private home of German Emperor Wilhelm’s brother in law; the height of luxury. I was speechless as we discovered the room. (Trust me, speechlessness does not happen often to me.)
The room was very spacious and luxurious. There were small items at the disposition of the guests to assure their stay was as comfortable as possible. I personally grew fond of a scarf which stayed on my shoulders during my entire stay. It was possible to buy it, but the price brought me down to the reality that I cannot afford it just yet.
Restaurant Principe Leopoldo is an epicurean paradise
The paroxysm of my stay was that second dinner at the Restaurant Principe Leopoldo: a champagne sampling paired with exquisite courses. It was my first time experiencing the Ruinart champagne which basically tastes like my life if I only made good decisions! The distinct taste of its bubbles will, from now on, punctuate every important event in my life worth celebrating.
A delicious six course meal prepared by the infamous Dario Ranza was awaiting us. Once again, I was worried that my vegetarian values might limit my experience. I was enchanted when Dario Ranza himself told me that they arranged vegetarian courses just for me! He even had the kindness to describe every course to me.
Grazie mille, Lugano!
I loved my stay in Lugano, or as my friend renamed it: the Brazil of Switzerland. Those three days were even better than what I could have imagined. The staff was amazing and the hospitality would make the candelabra from Beauty in the Beast blush. (Be our guest!)
I must admit that a part of me did not want to leave. I will definitely be back in Lugano as soon as possible!
(For the purpose of this review, the hotels mentioned in this article have offered a complementary night each for two persons, as well as spa treatments, dinner and champagne.)