Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Hotel Eden Roc, Ascona

Switzerland

A slice of paradise on the shores of Lake Maggiore

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Hotel Eden Roc, Ascona
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Hotel Eden Roc, Ascona

Location

Ascona, Lake Maggiore, Switzerland

Travel Information

The hotel is a 1.5-hour drive from Milan Malpensa Airport, or a 10 minute drive from Locarno railway station.

Top Tips

Swim in the crystal-clear glacial waters of the lake and spend a day sailing on the hotel’s new Saffier Se33 sailing boat, complete with crew and skipper.

5-Star X-Factors

It’s hard to look beyond the hotel’s mesmerising location but be sure to catch a sunset from La Casetta restaurant, as the lake turns from deep blue to shimmering shades of pink and purple.

Lake Maggiore's slice of paradise

This is a slice of paradise on the banks of Lake Maggiore, in Ascona, southern Switzerland. An exquisite property, it is the only five star hotel on the shores of the lake, offering outstanding vistas from every terrace and balcony. If you’re after the glamour and beauty of the Italian Lakes without the crowds of Como and Garda in high season, then look no further.

We arrive via Milan Malpensa airport, from which it is a spectacular one and a half hour drive, following the twists and turns of the lake for its entirety. Guests staying in a junior suite or above are offered a complimentary car transfer service from/to Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate and Lugano Agno airports. A pick up service from/to Locarno railway station is free for all visitors. Guests arriving by boat can dock at the hotel’s private marina.

Lake Swimming

The resort is open year-round, but it’s during the summer months, from May to September, when Lake Maggiore really comes alive. This is when the lake is generally warm enough to swim in comfortably. Lake swimming is adored here. The glacial water is so clear that I watch shoals of minnows dart in different directions as I dive into its depths.

The hotel has its own water sports school, Asconautica, which is ideally situated for enjoying all the lake-based activities on offer. Paddle-boarding, waterskiing, sailing, and motor-boating are just a few of the options on the agenda.

Island hopping

We hire a sleek Riva speedboat to visit the alluring Brissago Islands - home to a historic subtropical botanical garden, and Palladian villa. On land, complimentary vespas, bikes and electronic bikes (which reach speeds of 30mph) are ideal for exploring the local scenery and neighbouring villages. For families, there is an excellent kindergarten with staff on hand to look after children at all times.

High end design

Eden Roc is spread over three buildings in which there are 95 rooms, with 34 suites and three grand suites.

Each wing has its own distinctive style. The left features brightly furnished interiors by acclaimed Swiss designer Carlo Rampazzi. His quirky style (vivid colours, flamboyant furnishings) won’t be to everyone’s tastes - though we love it. Those who prefer a more restrained design and gentle choice of palette will find their tastes catered for in the right-hand wing. There are a further 16 rooms in the Eden Roc marina building, which feature a youthful, maritime theme. All rooms have a balcony or spacious terrace.

We highly recommend room 402 - a deluxe suite with lake view. A 65 sqm space, the living room has magnificent views. A complimentary mini bar is refilled daily, as is a fresh fruit plate. The living and bedroom open up onto a spacious terrace, with recliner loungers. With a retractable awning, we could happily pass each day sitting just here, watching yachts bob on the lake in the distance, enjoying the utter peace and tranquillity.

Bedrooms are extremely comfortable, with super king beds and significant wardrobe space. An enormous grey marble bathroom with separate bath and large shower is another showstopper, with an abundance of Molton Brown products.

The Grand Suite panoramic lake view room is the hotel’s top rated room. At 110sq m, it has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a vast sun terrace overlooking the magical lake.

Throughout the rest of the hotel, the overriding feeling is of space and comfort. Communal areas feature gleaming marble floors and vast sofas, beneath arching palazzo ceilings.

Outside, there is a panoramic landing stage, jutting into the water, with sofas underneath parasols. The lakefront gardens are ablaze with purple lavender and pink hydrangeas, and there is ample seating, with sun loungers throughout. The pool is beautiful (one of three - the others are in the spa area), and looks out onto a delightful shorefront private bathing beach.

Exquisite dining

With four restaurants, all with unparalleled lakefront views, it would be easy to never leave the resort. Pick from La Brezza which serves signature light Mediterranean/Sicilian cuisine and Restaurant Eden Roc, a classical French fine dining spot. We particularly enjoyed meals at La Casetta, housed in an idyllic open-sided historic stone lakeside villa where you can watch chefs grill freshly caught fishes and serve up seafood specialities; and Marina, a modern grill and pasta restaurant, with a relaxed outdoor bar.

Breakfast is superb, with an extensive buffet with hot and cold local specialities. Every taste is catered for.

Secret Escape

The hotel is a short stroll along the water from the centre of Ascona. It’s a true hidden gem that exudes luxury - not surprising, given it’s home to some 40 millionaires and, with it, a refined culinary and cultural scene. Certainly, it feels undiscovered by British tourists.

Each June brings the internationally renowned 10 day Ascona Jazz festival - a five minute walk from the hotel. While this is a busy time to visit, we love stopping for an Aperol Spritz and taking in performances on some of the many lakefront stages throughout the village.

It’s pedestrianised waterfront promenade hugs the shores of the lake, and is lined with photogenic multi-coloured cafes, restaurants and bars. A charming hillside Old Town has a medieval and Renaissance history and the high bell tower of its 16th century Basilicca church can be seen - and heard - throughout the village. Winding cobbled streets are full of smart fashion boutiques, flourishing galleries and shaded gelaterias.

Before our flight home, we descend into the hotel’s spa or “wellness world” which is newly renovated and extensive, at 2000m2 across two interconnected buildings. Seven treatment rooms offer a spa menu with an outstanding range of Clarins, Dermalogica, Cellcosmet, and Sensai treatments.

An indoor-outdoor pool is heated year-round, with breathtaking views of the lake as the star attraction. The hydrotherapy pool features underwater whirlpool recliners. There are multiple saunas and steam baths in a spacious complex.

The spa’s design aims to echo the tranquil waters of Maggiore, with a blue and grey palette. It’s certainly a calming oasis - and would be a great escape on the occasional rainy day.

We leave Eden Roc rejuvenated, in awe of Maggiore - and the fact that it’s only a two hour flight away. Come here and experience La Dolce Vita, Swiss-style.

Holly Rubenstein
Holly Rubenstein


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer

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