Often overlooked as a short break choice, the Swiss city has much to offer. It sits on the River Rhine, with a wealth of art galleries, museums, opera houses, and theatres, as well as historic sites. Basel is cosmopolitan yet traditional, with an exciting emergent art scene, alongside its more classic offers. It plays host to an autumn fair, Christmas market and spring carnival, with wild river swimming a popular summer pastime. Families will enjoy the indoor water park, zoo and treasure hunts, with beer tastings, staged tours and boutiques galore delighting the adults. Here are our favourite hotel haunts for a stay in Basel.
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Dine on three Michelin starred fine cuisine at this hotel’s destination restaurant, where Chef Peter Knogl presents deeply stylish, surprising works of edible art – Cheval Blanc is said to be among the 100 best eateries in the world. Swiss and French specialities are also served in the Brasserie, with drinks in the gentlemans’ club-style bar, or the Salon Du Cigare. 101 rooms include a rooftop suite, Napoleon riverside suite and more standard city rooms (although even in these, you’ll feel like you’re sleeping in a grand stately home). The Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois is actually one of the oldest hotels in Europe – Empress Michiko of Japan, James Joyce and Pablo Picasso all stayed here – a piece of living history.
This late 19th-century hotel feels very modern by comparison. The uber-cool five-floor, Rhineside property is designed to be relaxing and fuss-free, yet luxe. 48 individually decorated rooms are contemporary, comfy and cosy, with L’Occitane bath products. Guests can tuck into fancy and substantial hot platters in the herringbone floored dining room beside the hotel’s river promenade. Or enjoy fresh light lunches on the summer terrace and drinks under the stars by night. Private dining for up to eight can be arranged in the refined and bright Rhybligg room.
The Passage Basel
Opt to stay downtown in the four-star Passage. It’s so named due to its placing between the old and new towns of Basel. The central location is handy (not least as there’s no hotel restaurant) yet won’t impinge on a good night’s sleep thanks to soundproofing in the 46 bedrooms. Designer accommodation fuses mid-century and Scandi style, with trendy feature pieces and LED lighting. Clarins toiletries are provided for all guests and those in the loft apartments have their own kitchenettes and balconies. An organic breakfast is served daily in the lobby or on the patio, with day or evening drinks in the bar.