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Report 281: Daydreaming in Switzerland

By azwaniecki from Washington D.C., Summer 2003

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Page 4 of 4: Hotels and Restaurants

Hotels:

Lausanne

Hotel City Rue Caroline 5, 1003 Lausanne Tel. (41) 21-320 21 41, Fax (41) 21-320 21 49 Recently renovated hotel is very modern, sleekly designed and perfectly located - not far from the Old Town, the cathedral, popular restaurants and main shopping tracts. But because it faces a very busy intersection, the noise level is unbearable in street-side rooms. The windows are supposed to be soundproof but in hot weather (and it was hot when we were there), you have to keep them open. Request a room at the back with the view over the rooftops of the Flon district.

Room at $120 per double (booked through Octopus Travel) was smallish but funky and had a kitchenette. The rate included continental breakfast in the lovely glassed-in breakfast room overlooking rooftops of the Flon district.

Hotel Bellerive Avenue De Cour 99 , CP 34 1000 Lausanne 3 Tel. (41) 21-616 44 44, Fax (41) 21-616 44 88 E-mail: hotel.bellerive@urbanet.ch

Small, family-run hotel in Ouchy renovated in 1999. Decorated with prints by local artists and supplemented with other nice touches, it is likeable. It is located in Ouchy, a 10-minute walk from a beachfront park on the Lake Geneva, and a 10-minute bus trip from the central station and all important attractions and shopping. A small grocery and a pastry shop are nearby. Room at $120 per double (booked through Expedia) was sunny and not too small, and had spacious bathroom with balcony! The rate included good buffet breakfast and a welcoming drink at hotel's bar (which on weekdays was rather quiet and empty.) But here again, our room faced a busy street so we had to suffer the noise of roaring buses and cars. Lakeside rooms are quieter but none was available at the time we stayed there. During one sleepless night I realized that when you book hotels through Internet intermediaries you lose control over the booking process, thus not always getting what you really want.

Lugano

Continental Parkhotel Via Basilea 28 Lugano, 6903 Tel: (41) 91-966 11 12, Fax: (41) 91-966 12 13 Located only about 400 yards from the railway station. But if you have heavy baggage, call the hotel in advance so they can pick you up. (More details in the trip report above.) Hotel has a bar, parlor, swimming pool with bar service, and a palm garden. It offers live music and entertainment for boarders every day but Monday and deals on local attractions. Staff is very knowledgeable, so in case their information conflicts with what your book says, trust them not your book (We learned it hard way when we went to Castagnola to look the for Parco degli Ulivi recommended by Rough Guide. A receptionist never heard about it, neither several people in Castagnola we asked about it after a long walk.) Lakeside rooms are with a view over Lugano and Lake Lugano (some have balconies) but also face railroad tracks of the busy Zurich-Milano line with all the consequences. Parkside rooms are quieter and overlook the garden. Rates are $135 per double (we booked directly on hotel's website) and include buffet breakfast (a half-board is $20 per person or $15 if you stay more than 5 days.)

Geneva

Hotel Bel'Esperance Rue de la Vallée 1 CH-1024 Genève Tel. (41) 22-818 37 37, Fax (41) 22-818 37 73 E-mail: belesp@swi.salvationarmy.org

Small hotel run by the Salvation Army. It is not by any way posh but it is better than it sounds. Renovated in 1996, it is more than a youth hostel and less than a charming hotel. But it is located on a quite street in the Old Town and rooms are bright and plasticy (ours had a small balcony with a nice view.) My wife found decor in the corridors tacky and complained about noises made by young guest having fun until late night. I did not find décor tacky and did not hear anything.

Food

Nothing memorable beyond Continental dinners.

In Lugano we lunched in Manor department store's espresso bar (Piazza Dante 2). Good sandwiches and desserts can be bought at the adjacent bakery counter and salads at the deli counter, and brought to a bar's table.

In Lausanne the self-service Manora has a limited selection of pizzas, pastas, meat dishes and desserts in addition to a salad bar. With a poor selection in the salad bar section and mostly overcooked vegetables served with hot dishes, it was just OK. But with mostly underprivileged patrons frequenting it, the restaurant offered a view on the other side of Swiss prosperity.

We enjoyed more hors d'oeuvres (stuffed sun-dried tomatoes, spicy mussels and likes) and salads we bought at the Globus department store (Rue du Pont 5.) With wine, they made a very tasty meal (and the Globus has a good choice of wines, too.)

Resources

Continental Park Hotel

Hotel Bel'Esperance

Hotel City

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