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Luxury in Switzerland: 5 lush indulgences!
Luxury and quality are usually top descriptions used when thinking of Switzerland. Both are reflected in different aspects, from the overall quality of life, indulgence in hotels, resorts and fine dining, to luxurious shopping, and of course creation of renown trade marks such as swiss watches. The Swiss usually don’t like to show off their wealth very vulgarly, so you won’t see a lot of “bling bling” but rather effortless luxury in Switzerland that’s embedded in an elegant life style.
1. Quality of life in Switzerland
At the heart of luxury is the Swiss quality of life, Switzerland lives up to its reputation of being safe, efficient, and clean. It’s not surprising to see children walking themselves to school during the day and youngsters strolling the streets at night. Located in the heart of Europe, Switzerland has an outstanding reliable transport infrastructure. Major city connections make it easy to get anywhere in an efficient manner without needing a car. Outdoors and sport lovers have easy access to wonderful nature, can enjoy exploring an enormous selection of lakes and mountains, and are presented with multi options in all seasons from ski to water sports. In general, the diversity of lifestyle in Switzerland, makes it an appealing destination for people of many backgrounds and interests, add to that multi-lingual speaking nationals (mainly German, French, and Italian) which makes it much easier to communicate.
Three Swiss cities rank among the top ten for quality of living year on year: Zurich, Geneva and Bern. A separate personal safety survey, which takes internal stability, crime levels, and effectiveness of law enforcement into account, also ranked Bern, Zurich and Geneva in the top ten.
In 2015, Swiss per capita annual gross income stood at the highest sum both in Western Europe and the world.
2. Hotels / Resorts
Although not an exclusive trademark for Switzerland but Swiss luxurious hotels and resorts have something to stand up for!
Did you know that the most expensive hotel room in the world – the Royal Penthouse Suite – is in Hotel President Wilson, Geneva? For only $80,000 per night you can get the entire top floor of the hotel, including 12 bedrooms, 12 marble bathrooms, and a terrace with a sweeping look at the Alps. Guests listed have included Bill Gates and Bill Clinton!
Hotel Villa Honegg: Art Nouveau-style Villa Honegg dating from 1905, is Switzerland’s smallest superior five-star, occupying a sun terrace high on the Bürgenstock mountain above Lake Lucerne is one of the examples of luxury in Switzerland at its best. It offers 23 rooms and suits of secluded opulence, as well as Gault-Millau-standard dining and a heated outdoor infinity pool with an un matchable stunning view. The hotel’s terrace faces a panorama of interlinked summits, while the woodland at the back covers the start of the Felsenweg, a two-hour circular cliff walk incorporating Europe’s tallest exposed lift.
Bürgenstock Resort: From its origins in 1873 to its glamour in the 50s and 60s, when Hollywood stars including Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn lived here, the Bürgenstock Resort has quite the heritage. Its image after a nine-year, £440m renovation is even more spectacular. An architectural collage of four hotels merges 19th-century grandeur with sheer modern flanks. Balanced like an eagle’s nest on top of a sheer forested flank 500m up above Lake Lucerne, the 60-hectare Bürgenstock Resort overlooks mirror-like vistas, cow-filled meadows and jagged Alpine horizons.
Grand Hotel Trois Rois, Basel : The Trois Rois resides on the edge of the Rhine river, exactly in the same place for over 300 years. Age only added beauty, as the Trois Rois has more than kept up with the times and offers a truly luxurious experience for guests. The culinary experience is exquisite as the Trois Rois houses the remarkable Cheval Blanc, a three-starred Michelin restaurant run by culinary genius Peter Knogl.
3. Fine dining
Probably not as popular for its cuisine as France but you will be surprised to know that Switzerland leads in terms of fine dining!
In 2018 Swizerland has a trio of three star restaurants – Cheval Blanc (Basel), Schloss–Schauenstein (Fürstenau) and Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville (Crissier). The country contains a total of 118 starred restaurants: out of them 3 3-star, 19 2-star and 96 1-star. This means Switzerland has retained in 2018 its title as the country with the highest density of top-class restaurants per capita in the world.
Even more impressive has been the speed at which Switzerland has acquired its class and dining swagger. In a mere 10 years, the number of Michelin-starred restaurants has increased by a whopping 40 percent.
At the same time,, chef Frank Giovanni at the Hôtel de Ville in Crissier near Lausanne and Virginie Bassot, head chef at the Loti at Geneva’s La Réserve, were recently named Gault Millau Chef of the year in Switzerland.
4. Luxury in Switzerland: Watches
“Made in Switzerland” is, for many, the ultimate guarantee of quality and craftsmanship in the luxury goods world. When it comes to watches Switzerland is home to the most renowned luxury timepiece brands in the world.
The list is quite long but the equity of these watch brands literally defies time as some come back long from at least couple hundred years ago such as Breguet, Patek Philippe and Rolex.
Already In the second half of the 18th century, Breguet was widely regarded as the most renowned of all watchmakers and Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte belonged among its clientele’s list. Breguet created the oldest Swiss wristwatch, also probably the oldest one in the world for the sister of Napoleon: Caroline Murat, Reine de Naples.
Perhaps the most prestigious of all: Patek Philippe. Its watches regularly achieve record sums at the largest auction houses. In 2014, Patek Philippe Henry Graves “Supercomplication” became the most expensive auctioned watch of all time with a price of 16 million GBP. Patek continues to cultivate and groom its exclusive image were waiting times for certain models are standard fair as the demand far surpasses the supply sometimes.
On the other side, Rolex doesn’t concentrate on the production of highly complicated watch movement mechanisms, but rather its main focus is centered on the creation of precise, robust, and maintenance friendly everyday wear pieces and sport watches. It places reliability and quality at the forefront, which remain unsurpassed even today.
These brands among others what made, the term “Swiss made” not just another commodity label for a place of origin, but more importantly a seal of approval and a mark of quality recognised worldwide. Today more than half of the total of all luxury watches are from Switzerland. On top, you can even make your own watch during one of the workshops.
Whether in Geneva, Lucerne or Lausanne, Switzerland – not surprisingly – is home to some of the best and biggest watch retailers in the world, housing some of the widest ranges and most exclusive watch brands.
From Bucherer – founded in Lucerne, whose store in Paris is officially the largest watch and jewelry store in the world – to local boutique A L’Emeraude in Lausanne, run by Patrick and Marina Cremer, to Les Ambassadors which bills itself as “The Leading House of Leading Brands”, add to it Gübelin selling timepieces from some of the world’s most coveted luxury brands, Huber and Kirchhofer.
Although Switzerland doesn’t hold fashion capitals like Paris, Milan or London, yet most of the top end fashion and jewellery creations of those cities are luxuriously displayed in Zurich, Bern and Geneva. Many fashion icons run very elegant boutiques as acknowledgment of the need to be present in top luxurious cities in the world (such as Geneva and Zurich) where the purchasing power is one of the highest in the world. What distinguishes shopping in these cities is the easiness and comfort. Most boutiques are located in two streets in the city center with the most elegant window displays of the world are seducing you to enter. On top you can enjoy couple of premium department stores like “Globus” or “3 Pommes” that are always decorated in a seasonal theme making it a pleasure to the eye. There you can enjoy the shopping experience with no crowds or queues.
If you are into luxury and elegant indulgence, Switzerland is definitely your destination, for enjoying opulent experiences that will last a lifetime!