Just south of Lausanne, on the border of Lake Geneva, lies a charming port and popular lakeside resort. It goes by the name of Ouchy and for decades, even before Coco Chanel resided in a 5 star hotel here, it has been famous for it’s old school luxury and charming hotels, bars and restaurants.
During my Swiss Tour in June I stayed at the 4-star hotel Chateau d’Ouchy, which holds a great deal of history! Here’s what I experienced.
A medieval fortress
Lausanne it located approximately 1 hour from Geneva and if you come by train, it’s really a piece of cake to explore this magnificent city. Compared to Geneva, Lausanne has reputation for being ‘younger’ and ‘more vibrant’, but at the same time it’s Switzerland’s answer to Cannes. In Ouchy, just south of Lausanne, one can experience what’s referred to as ‘old-school riviera glamour’. And of course, I couldn’t miss out on this!
When entering the historical hotel it’s quite clear that many things have changed since the heydays in the 12th Century, mainly because the tower is the only remain left from the original property. The tower is even older than Lausanne itself and it was originally though as a fortress when built in 1177.
Since the 19th Century the castle has served as a hotel residence and it was modernized by a local architect. The tower, though, still stands as it did more than 800 years ago!
Today, one will find a mix of modern architecture and historical elements as a general theme of the hotel, but the best thing about it has to be the location and the view! The small harbor and the lake is just a stones throw away and the city centre of Lausanne is easy accessible by tram.
A superior location
We were greeted by a friendly receptionist who showed us to our room - a Superior Lake Room. Now, I didn’t get the chance to view the other room types, but I’m sure this would be my favorite anyway! A spacious double room with a king size bed and a splendid view towards the lake and the mountains was all it took to make me happy!
Chateau d’Ouchy offers 4 different room types to fit any budget, but make sure to ask for a room with a lake view. Apart from the above-mentioned the Superior Lake Room also included a minibar, courtesy products and free wi-fi.
During the afternoon we enjoyed a sail from Ouchy to Evian (a legendary trip which you can read about here) and we returned to the hotel thirsty for a drink and a snack.
Chateau d’Ouchy offers both a restaurant, a lounge bar and a lakeside terrace. Last-mentioned is perfect for a cocktail either before or after dinner and it’s a very popular place during summer! It’s possible to eat here, but I’d recommend trying out the restaurant ‘The Waterfront’. The signature dish is the perch meuniére (a flat-fish living in Lake Geneva) with house fries and fresh salad, but one can also choose a seasonal menu, which includes vegetables from small independent suppliers, wild fish, farmhouse meats, traditional cheeses and dessert with ice cream or fruits.
I went for the rack of lamb accompanied by a glass of local white wine, and even though the experience was fairly OK, it didn’t truly convince me. The service, however, was both attentive and friendly.
A hedonistic lifestyle
Chateau d’Ouchy has a fully equipped wellness centre with pool, sauna and hammam and as an extra treat all guests are allowed unlimited access to Lausanne Palace & Spa as well. If that’s not a treat for wellness lovers I don’t know what is, but still I wouldn’t come here for the spa and wellness facilities. Chateau d’Ouchy should be experienced for its strong ties to history and its charming location, which guests are still allured by today - more than 100 years after the opening of the hotel.
Ouchy is indisputably a charming little place - perfect for honeymooners and couples looking for a little extra romance. Nevertheless, I’d go there anytime on my own as well just to get a glimpse of that timeless glamour and hedonistic lifestyle, which is really the essence of Switzerland. And Chateau d’Ouchy is a fine alternative to the pricey 5-star hotels placed at the coast like beads on a string.
For more information on Chateau d’Ouchy go to www.chateaudouchy.ch.