This town may be in the south of Switzerland but looks like a Mediterranean resort (and, as one of the warmest places in the country, feels like it). Found in the Ticino canton, it lies along Lake Lugano, northwest of Lake Como. Lugano’s annual film festival draws a crowd, but it’s just as enjoyable when experienced at other times of the year, to swim in the waters, hike the Alpine mountains, see the snow-capped landscapes and enjoy the unique culinary offer that comes with a blend of Milanese and Swiss culture. The main language used is Italian, but the signs are mostly bilingual.
Hotel Splendide Royal Lugano
A palatial Belle Epoque property, the Hotel Splendide dates back to 1887. Deeply fashionable, with a prime waterside spot, it boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant – Due Sud – serving traditional dishes by Executive Chef Domenico Ruberto and La Veranda with its stunning terrace views. Bar Belle Epoque offers expert mixology to the sounds of the grand piano and there’s a chic pizza lounge for cocktails by the lake. Splendide’s Lifestyle Spa includes a starry steam room and a dreamy indoor-outdoor pool overhung by glittering chandeliers. The bedrooms range from classic, to contemporary, to regal, depending on the category.
Villa Principe Leopoldo
An all-suite hotel enjoying an elevated position overlooking the lake, the Villa Principe Leopoldo is part of the esteemed Relais and Chateaux portfolio. Built into the hillside, it features multiple terraces, with dining areas, water features, manicured gardens and a fan-shaped pool surrounded by yellow loungers for a retro feel. Dining here is an elegant affair, with tables set using fine linen, silver and crystal glassware, with gourmet menus presented by Executive Chef Cristian Moreschi, who has been lauded by food critics as a great talent. The hotel’s Bar Principe provides live music, bistro dishes and signature cocktails. Well-being and cosmetic treatments are offered at its DOT Spa.