Hotel Splendide Royal Lugano: Italian hospitality in Switzerland
Palm trees and snowcapped mountains are rarely seen in the same landscape, but this combination is the norm in Lugano, the largest city in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. Between the trees and the slopes is the serene Lake Lugano (Lago di Ceresio in Italian) into which the steep mountains drop sharply, creating a spectacular panorama of natural beauty. Hotel Splendide Royal‘s lakefront location provides guests with front-row seats for the show of sunshine and colours as they change throughout the day.
First opened in 1887, Hotel Splendide Royal is Lugano’s most famous five-star hotel. It is easy to imagine the Crawleys of Downton Abbey spending time here, perhaps on their way to Italy; indeed, Switzerland’s prominence as a travel destination today can be traced back to the times of the Grand Tour when British aristocrats travelled to the Mediterranean region to enjoy the weather and the scenery. Switzerland at that time was merely a transit stop; thankfully, times have changed and Switzerland’s own appeal is well appreciated by travellers who come here from all over the world. Not so many of them, though, venture to Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Those who do make the 2h40m train trip from Zurich will find the joie de vivre of Italian hospitality alive and well at Hotel Splendide Royal; under the astute leadership of General Manager Giuseppe Rossi, the hotel’s fastidious staff execute their duties with a mixture of pleasant Mediterranean friendliness and unerring Swiss efficiency. This is especially true in La Veranda, the domain of dynamic young Executive Chef Domenico Ruberto who brings an inspired menu to his tables. Award-winning Head Sommelier Simone Ragusa and the equally lauded Chef Domenico see to it that the hotel’s guests are wined and dined in fine style. The impressive wine room is a beautiful setting for a private dinner to celebrate a family occasion or share a special experience with work colleagues.
The hotel’s original building houses the traditional accommodation, of course retrofitted over the years to suit the needs of contemporary travellers. Rooms and suites in this building vary in size and configuration; rooms in the executive wing have the more familiar floor plans found in new-build hotels today. The two wings are cleverly and seamlessly connected by a shared lobby. Whether staying in the executive wing or the original building, the interiors will be both charming and functional and service will be flawless. Hotel Splendide Royal’s location is also exceptional; the treelined lakefront promenade is just across the street, the Lugano Paradiso pier is less than five minutes away on foot, and the museum and performing arts theatre of the new LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura cultural centre is only two blocks away. From Lugano Paradiso it is possible to take boat excursions to see the small villages dotting the shores of Lake Lugano, some of which have not changed for centuries. Those guests who prefer to drive can hire the hotel’s sleek Maserati Quattroporte for private use.
Hotel Splendide Royal, the first member of the burgeoning Roberto Naldi Collection of hotels, has been joined by properties in Rome and now Paris, where an ultra-exclusive hôtel particulier with only 12 suites provides visitors to the French capital with superb accommodation very close to the presidential palace in one of the most exclusive locations in the city between rue du Faubourg St-Honoré and Avenue Gabriel.