We hosted our wedding at the spectacular Park Hotel Vitznau. I didn’t realize how important it would be for me/us to get up there and say things in front of family and friends. Lifetime memories. Magic. Not seeing everyone enough because there’s no time and we planned the whole thing ourselves. A brief moment in time where everyone was in the same place, and it will never happen again. My heart just bursts thinking about everyone who took time, found childcare or brought their kids, spent money, and made the trek to this beautiful tiny village in Switzerland to celebrate us…and our baby girl, too.
Chances are if you've been to Switzerland, you have never been to or heard of Melchsee-Frutt, a tiny ski resort 45 minutes from Lucerne. You dream of Gstaad or St. Moritz or Zermatt. But part of the joy of getting to know Switzerland better has been discovering tiny little villages - ones I had no idea existed. For the Swiss, especially those who live in or around Lucerne, Melchsee-Frutt is pretty well-known.
There isn't a lot up here. I think 100 people live here year-round. If you want a buzzing restaurant scene, people decked out in Canada Goose and Prada ski clothes, Chanel storefronts, and glossy magazines breathlessly covering the society of the ski town (hello Aspen - I love you too), this isn't the alpine village for you.
But. BUT. If you want to truly disconnect (but yes, there is free, fast WiFi), finish that book you've been meaning to finish for months, actually talk to your partner (really talk, about life and plans, and solve long-stewing debates), spend time in a wonderful spa, hike in gorgeous Alpine scenery followed by a hot bowl of soup, and feel your shoulders relax for the first time in months, this is the place for you.
We stayed at the WONDERFUL Frutt Lodge, where the food is delicious (including the breakfast buffet), and the rooms are sink-into-your-bed worthy. The main lodge is separated from the family-friendly lodge by an underground tunnel.
Day one was rainy and gross and I still loved it because it meant we didn't really leave Frutt Lodge. We still did a 45-minute walk around the lake in the cold fog. I got a massage, swam in the gorgeous spa pool, read my book at the bar (with Swiss cow bells adorning it), and read some more in the super cozy lobby lounge with a crackling fireplace.
Day two the sun shone brilliantly and we hiked again, past the picture-perfect church, next to the clear, glassy lake, breathing in that crisp, perfect Alpine air.
I love so many places in Switzerland, but this feels like a secret. I can't wait to go back.
- Tip: You need a car to get here. You can drive all the way up to Melchsee-Frutt and park it in the lot (and you won't use it for the rest of your trip as you can't drive in the village) or park it at the base of the mountain and take the gondola up with your luggage.
I started this blog years ago because of an obsessive love I had for great hotels. The Dolder Grand, located in the hills above Zurich, Switzerland, is one of the GREAT ones. It reopened in 2008 after no Swiss franc was spared for its renovation and restoration. Famed architect Norman Foster designed two wings surrounding the historic main building.
The artwork is provocative...and FAMOUS - don't miss the Warhol above the check-in desk. The award-winning spa (most recently Virtuoso's Best Spa winner) is enormous and stunning. Basically, this place is another world. It's an easy "Dolderbahn" ride into the center of Zurich but you won't want to leave once you're here.
Zermatt is where I first fell in love with Switzerland. You can't believe it exists - high in the mountains, no cars, stunningly gorgeous scenery and crisp air. I visited last week with my sister and it made me fall in love all over again. We stayed in the most gorgeous hotel, the Mont Cervin Palace.
It feels like a family-run B&B--the general managers are a funny, charming husband-and-wife team, Karin & Kevin--yet has all the amenities of a five-star resort. Many of the rooms have Matterhorn views, when the mighty mountain chooses to appear from behind the clouds. Here are a few photos, if you're interested. We loved being picked up from the train station for the super short ride to the hotel by horse-and-buggy!
When I first started this site, it was called Hotel Belle. It was just as blogging was becoming "a thing" and I knew I wanted to carve out a niche in travel, so I focused on hotels. I'd say this lasted about six months and then my writing/blogging career took off in an entirely different way that I hadn't imagined.
That said, I still am obsessed with hotels. I love amazing hotels. It's part of everything I do. The great ones are some of the most magical places on the planet. I'd rather stay home than stay in a hotel that I don't love.
Last week, I spoke at the Ritz-Carlton regional meeting in Miami, with Johnny Jet & Natalie DiScala. We had a blast. But before I went to Miami, I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton beach resort in Naples (they also have a golf resort, but my passion for golf is...nonexistent).
It's this big, fancy hotel fantasy - the design is Mediterranean but the beach (and humidity!) is very Florida. There's something I love about these huge American resorts - waking up lazily, having a great breakfast with orange juice AND a cappuccino, slathering sunscreen on, dressing up, having cocktails, going for dinner.
I went to their gorgeous spa for the signature Intuitive Retreat. You send them a form beforehand telling them what you're struggling with (who ISN'T stressed in some way?) and they create a program just for you. I soaked in a seaweed bath, got a chakra massage, personalized bath scrubs, and more. I'd go back to the Ritz for Jeanine. She kneads you like a ball of pizza dough, hitting all the right spots. When I left, I was a dazed, floppy noodle - perfect.
Best of all - I got to see some of my family for dinner and brunch.