It’s the birthplace of mass tourism, where Thomas Cook brought his first tour group, where César Ritz developed high-end hospitality and where the Palace hotels of the mid-19th century gave well-to-do Brits somewhere to stay on their ‘grand tour’ of Europe. It’s also home to the top three hospitality schools in the world.
So while Switzerland may be criticized for cold service in shops in restaurants, when it comes to hotels, it's a pretty hospitable place.
And last week the country picked its top five most welcoming hotels in the Prix Bienvenue, a tourism award aiming to recognize “outstanding Swiss service quality and genuine hospitality”.
Entrants were selected based on reviews submitted by guests on online booking platforms during 2015 and evaluated by reputation analysis company TrustYou, before three finalists in each of five categories were visited by judges.
And the five most welcoming hotels were…
CERVO Mountain Boutique Resort, Zermatt (Valais)
The CERVO has 36 rooms in six chalets nestled in the woods, all sporting a spa and views of the Matterhorn, plus it’s one of the few ski-in ski-out hotels in Zermatt. Get in quick for the summer season, which opens on June 24th.
Hotel Glocke, Reckingen (Valais)
Photo: Hotel Glocke
This simple but cosy family-run place is in the Goms valley, a great place to go hiking and biking (and even llama trekking) in summer. Appropriately, it’s also the birthplace of famous Swiss hotelier César Ritz.
Hotel Walther, Pontresina (Graubünden)
Photo: Hotel Walther
This fairytale belle époque hotel dating from 1907 makes an impression on guests. “Although we stayed at this hotel for the first time, we were welcomed by the owners and their staff in the style of regularly returning guests,” said one reviewer on Trip Advisor.
Hotel La Rinascente, Locarno (Ticino)
Photo: Hotel Rinascente
Near Locarno’s Piazza Grande, this boutique hotel occupies a building that dates back to 1550 – but thankfully it’s been thoroughly renovated since. Reviewers say it does particularly fine breakfasts. “Good, smiling, efficient personnel in both reception and restaurant,” said one satisfied customer on Booking.com
Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva
Photo: Hotel des Bergues
Geneva has numerous posh hotels, but this one’s ultra-friendly service has helped push it into the city’s number one spot on Trip Advisor. Its rooftop restaurant Izumi is considered by many to serve the best Japanese food in Geneva.