Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Lugano, Switzerland.
We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points. We hope to run one review per day for the next few weeks. There will be a deliberate mix of European and worldwide properties, super luxury and mid market, branded and independent. You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here.
Today’s hotel is The View, a 20-room boutique hotel with astonishing views in Lugano, Switzerland. It is reader Alexander’s favourite hotel and here is his review:
Booking and arrival
Lugano was our first stop on our Winter driving holiday through Germany, Switzerland and Austria. At the time we settled on the destination there were no good points options, but shortly before our stay Hyatt announced its partnership with SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) which made The View available for redemption through World of Hyatt.
Availability was good – even over New Year’s Eve – albeit at the top World of Hyatt rate of 40,000 points per night. Cash rates were 900 CHF (£750!). I paid with a mix of points for one night and a ‘stay 4 get 1 free’ offer on my credit card for the other four nights.
The first impression of the hotel was flash. We drove up the hills above Lugano, with great views of the lake on one side, and around the corner you could see The View pop up out of the terrain in front of you.
The arrival was a bit different – instead of having a traditional porte-cochere, you drove straight into the recessed parking garage where there was a small bell office to take your bags etc and escort you to reception on the ground floor.
My wife was very impressed with the building and the arrival process, and likened it to arriving at a Bond villain’s lair. The only difference between me and James Bond, of course, is that I was driving an Opel Astra…
The hotel’s location is stunning. All twenty rooms – this is a genuine boutique property – face the lake and are spread out over two floors. Only two of the rooms were suites so I wasn’t expecting (and didn’t get) an upgrade. The other 18 rooms were all the same. The only difference was if you got a fractionally better view of the lake depending on whether you were on the second or the first floor, or the left hand side of the hotel or the right.
Our room at The View was on the second floor in the middle with a perfect view of the lake and the New Year’s Eve fireworks.
The décor of the room was modern. The website describes it like this:
“Thanks to the design of its interiors and the sensation one gets when looking out from the suites and the other areas of the hotel, one feels as though one is setting sail on a luxury cruise across the lake.”
As someone who gets seasick moored at the dock I was a bit apprehensive about this, but it is actually quite an apt description! The interiors had a big emphasis on wood, mirror and cream. It doesn’t sound particularly appealing when I write it down, but the overall effect was to make the room look very smart whilst still keeping a cosy vibe.
The standard rooms were a generous 50m2 in size and are open plan. As you came in the door there was wardrobe space and luggage storage to one side, opposite which was the shower and a separate toilet cubicle. The rest of the bathroom (sinks and large soaking tub) sat on a small platform just past this area and leads to the bed/sitting area. There was also a bypass on the wardrobe side so you could access the rest of the room without always stepping through the bathroom.
The king bed backed on to the bathroom and was perfectly positioned to take in the view whilst lying down. There was a small sitting area with a leather sofa, an armchair, and a coffee table. For those staying when it is warmer (ie not us!) there was also a generously sized balcony for you to sit out on and enjoy the view.
Standard toiletries were from the Italian brand Ortigia. You could opt online before your stay for different toiletries – Argan or Trussardi were on offer. You could even choose the colour of your toilet paper! We went for pink, if only because the other options of brown or black didn’t look or sound particularly attractive ……
Food at The View
Breakfast was included. It was served in the restaurant downstairs or alternatively, as the lovely woman who took us to our room put it, ‘you can have it in the room for no extra charge, so why not?’ We could not find a reason to decline.
There is something to be said for breakfast in bed whilst looking out on sunrise over Lake Lugano. There was a good choice of options: fruit, yoghurt, cold cuts, cheese, bakery, eggs (including omelettes), bacon, mushrooms, sausage etc., and some sweet options like pancakes or French toast.
The quality was very good apart from the bakery basket which was terrible. It was so bad that after the first morning we asked them to limit the bakery items to plain toast, and to leave the croissants, pastries and brioches – normally the best bit – in the kitchen.
The obvious trade-off for the great views was the out-of-the-way location. You are up in the hills and so cannot easily stroll to the lake or town centre. There was a small train station nearby but a more convenient – and much more fun – option was to use the hotel’s fleet of electric smart cars. You only needed to show a driver’s license on the first day and you then had free use of the fleet.
We had great fun zipping round town in them. Even my wife, who normally is terrified of driving on what she considers to be the ‘wrong’ side of the road, was happily menacing the roads like an Italian by the end of our stay! The smartcars had a charge of up to 90km and there were no restrictions on where you could take them as long as you stayed in Switzerland. With the Italian border only 20 minutes away this was not as silly a restriction as it might otherwise sound ..…
The View hotel had a reasonably large – for its 20 room size – spa facility. There was a large swimming pool and hydro pool. There were separate men’s and women’s sauna and steam areas, and a Himalayan salt room. There was also a restaurant adjacent to reception on the ground floor where you could have lunch and dinner; in practice most people seemed to eat out as there were never more than one or two tables occupied.
It is honestly difficult to find much to fault about The View. For us, the amazing view and the ability to easily dart into Lugano in the smart cars added a real ‘fun factor’ to an already luxurious stay and made it one of those visits that we will remember fondly for a long time.
If you want to find out more, the hotel’s website is here.
Booking ‘The View’
If you are thinking of bookng The View, you can get a special deal by using our hotel booking partner Emyr Thomas at Bon Vivant.
Emyr can access special rates via the Small Luxury Hotels of the World ‘withIN’ programme, which is exclusively offered to luxury travel agents.
If you book via Emyr and pay Best Flexible Rate, you will also receive:
$50 voucher per room
room upgrade, subject to availability at the time of check-in
early check-in or late check-out, request at time of booking and subject to availability at check-in
Because of the slightly complex relationship between SLH and World of Hyatt, you will not receive World of Hyatt points unless you book via the Hyatt website. Booking via Emyr is likely to be better value, however.