Lausanne's finest hotel and possibly, in our view, the best in Switzerland, is the Beau Rivage Palace in Ouchy, near the lake. But up the hill on a bluff, with a fine lake view, is the town's other five-star hotel, the Lausanne Palace. It appears to cater a bit more to business travelers (President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, maintains a suite there) but its excellent service, comfortable rooms and central location near Lausanne's old town recommend it.

One has high expectations of a five-star Swiss hotel and the Palace more than lived up to ours. Perhaps it helped that we spent the Easter weekend there when the hotel had only a few guests. We were a party of four and each morning beneath the glittering chandeliers of the soaring lobby/breakfast room we had the gigantic buffet breakfast spread virtually to ourselves. Hovering nearby, of course, were at least two young servers ready to fulfill our every whim. Service was top class, especially that provided by the charming and helpful concierge. If, as someone once suggested, we conduct a "concierge-of-year" balloting, this fellow (we failed to record his name but he is the man whose picture is on the cover of the hotel's brochure) would get our vote so far in 1995.

Like so many of Europe's grandest hotels, the Palace was built early in the century, 1915 to be exact. It thus has the broad halls, high ceilings and spacious rooms characteristic of that period. Our two guestrooms, normal doubles, were furnished and decorated with a restrained but comfortable elegance. The almost opulent bathrooms were equipped, of course, with heated towel racks, oversize terrycloth robes and an array of toiletries.

The Palace offers many guest services including two hair salons, six boutiques, a night club, a fine French restaurant, limousine service, workout facilities and a cozy bar with live music. Its restaurant, Le Relais, is good but very expensive. During our stay, the six-course fixed-price dinner menu was 125 Sfr. ($109) per person. A celebratory dinner for two couples cost—take a deep breath—675 Sfr. ($587). Most astounding—and here's a great reason to drink tap water—the mineral water alone cost 32.50 Sfr. ($28). But such is the reality of five-star travel in Switzerland in 1995.

Street Address: 7-9 Rue du Grand Chêne
City: Lausanne
Country: Switzerland
Phone: +41 21 331 31 31
Fax: +41 (0) 21 323 2571
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Quality: Rating: 5 stars
Value: Rating: 2 stars
Price Level: $$$$
Type: Hotel