Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
In Lucerne, time sometimes seems to stand still. You might glimpse a paddlewheel steamer making its way across the lake, or find yourself admiring a monument that moved Mark Twain to tears (the mournful, mortally wounded Lion of Lucerne). A turreted, Belle Époque landmark, built in 1906, Mandarin Oriental, Luzern chimes perfectly with that mood. Its setting is second to none. Check into a lake-view room with a terrace, and you’ll never want to leave.
On a summer’s day, the lake’s waters are cold and clear, and it’s up to you to explore either the sandy lakeside beach, or visit the stylish two-storey floating structure, Seebad Luzern, which is just opposite the hotel, on the shore. In situ since 1885, it offers open-air pools, sun-trap decks, and steps down to the lake. Afterwards, stroll to the Gellateria dell’Alpi, for a scoop of fig sorbetto or black sesame gelato.
If you find the mountains calling you, the hotel can set up some suitably scenic adventures, from cable-car rides to the famous Fürenalp to precision-planned excursions, featuring a limousine ride and lunch in the mountains. Feeling adventurous? Head to the bottom of the lake, to explore its ancient shipwrecks in a P-63 submarine.
What to pack: A sketchbook – the views are truly inspiring.
Don’t miss: The hotel’s afternoon tea, which combines sublime pâtisserie with soul-soothing views of the lake.