Thursday, December 27, 2007

Beauty SPA: Review on Swiss SPA Hotels in Lugano

What can be a better way for a Type A beauty addict to celebrate Christmas than a SPA weekend. I have the sweetest husband who surprised me with a SPA weekend in the Italian-Swiss Riviera for Christmas (and a year-long ELLE subscription in addition!). Being an American, my hubby has a natural talent for getting great deals and upgrades so we enjoyed a lot of add-ons to our reservation. Here is my review of the trip and on two Swiss SPA hotels.

On 24 December we headed to Lugano, the main city of The Tessin, the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. It was a bit of a discovery SPA trip as we stayed at two Lugano hotels with SPA facilities. Both hotels are located on a breathtakingly beautiful Lugano Lake.

First we checked out The Grand Hotel Eden located a 10 minute-walk from downtown Lugano and situated right on the Lugano Lake. The name speaks for itself! It was truly Grand. We got an upgrade to a room with a Lake View which was absolutely fascinating and hypnotizing. The view gives you a feeling of flying over the lake and you simply cannot take your eyes away. The room’s interior was nice but nothing too striking. I also have to mention another nice detail: we received a complimentary plate of traditional Christmas Swiss delights (sweets, cookies, traditional Italian cake Panettone and nuts) and a basket of fruit.

Normally room fee includes the use of hotel’s spa facilities such as a beautiful heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam bath and Jacuzzi. For an additional fee you can get various beauty treatments. Hotel staff were absolutely 5-star attentive and the atmosphere created at the spa was most relaxing and comfortable. Bottled water and green tea were always available for re-hydration, as well as healthy snacks such as almond nuts together with unhealthy but so right for Christmas traditional cookies. This was an amazing retreat from the cold and gloomy Zurich winter and stresses of everyday life. Got me totally relaxed! The only remark I have to make that when guest leave the spa area to go to their room they have to go through an unheated corridor which I found a bit uncomfortable.

To keep the wonderful relaxed feeling for the longest time possible we decided not to venture out into the cold Lugano night but to continue Xmas splurging and went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. The cuisine was more French than Italian. The quality of food and service were excellent. What made the experience even more special was the panoramic view over the lake with Lugano lights reflecting on its glassy surface.

Next morning after a rich Christmas buffet breakfast accompanied by a fairytale lake view and served in a somewhat chilly breakfast room we headed to our next destination - Swiss Diamond Hotel. Swiss Diamond is a truly luxury hotel located 15 minutes’ drive from Lugano near the medieval village of Marcote. We have already stayed at Swiss Diamond so we knew what to expect: everything from service to facilities is top-quality. We got an upgrade to a Lake View Room (hotel has 2 types of rooms: with mountain view – smaller and somewhat darker, and with lake view – much bigger, brighter and decorated just like a small palace). My husband booked an “I Prefer SPA” package for us so we had a massage included into our fee. After booking our massage treatments we headed to the SPA area that includes: Hammam, Steam Bath, Sauna, Jacuzzi and Swimming Pool. Drinking water and apples were available to keep you hydrated and for a vitamin-charged snack.

Massage was a very nice experience and took place at a separate Beauty Salon area decorated to create a feeling of a medieval Italian village. Rooms and corridors were made to look like Italian villas and had house numbers and names, painted pillars, statues, and pictures of relaxing Roman Gods. The salon had a relaxation area with a lake view. Nice meditation music was softly playing in the background. Swiss Diamond Beauty SPA Salon offers a lot of packages and beauty treatments: starting from facials and finishing with SPA and Beauty Week-Long offers.

In the evening we decided to go and see what was going on in Marcote at Christmas. That was a big mistake. We definitely underestimated the importance of Christmas day and family to Italians. Marcote was a ghost town and we were the only ones walking its streets in the dark at 7 p.m in the evening, our steps echoing from the medieval walls of the town and dying away in its winding streets.

Back to the hotel, we were faced with no other choice but another splurge on a 5-star restaurant dinner. Well, it’s Christmas night after all! And this way I can review the restaurant as well. Swiss Diamond Hotel Restaurant Panorama is located on the 6th floor and is open for winter period. In summer an open restaurant on the lake is available for guests. Swiss Diamond Hotel's Restaurant Panorama creates a feeling of a stage performance where you are a queen or a king having a dinner in your castle. Waiters are like actors moving gracefully around the tables, attending to any need even before it arises and magically refilling your glass of water so that you never notice. Cuisine is an unusual mix of Swiss, Italian and French. For example my husband’s dish included deer sirloin with blueberry sauce, accompanied by, baked pear with cranberries (I believe), mushrooms, spaetzli (traditional Swiss pasta-like garnish) and sauerkraut. Mine was a Mediterranean style Seafood Grill with various vegetables which I would recommend to any fan of seafood.

This was the best winter retreat ever and the greatest way to celebrate Christmas.

For more reviews on Lugano Hotels as well as other Swiss Hotels and destinations check out our website Europe Travel.

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