Winter Beckons in the Lake Geneva Region

Ski promotions and new and refurbished hotels heighten the region's appeal By: Mark Rogers
The Lake Geneva Region is a favorite winter retreat for skilled skiers.  // (c) 2013 Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office
The Lake Geneva Region is a favorite winter retreat for skilled skiers.  // (c) 2013 Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office

The Details

Lake Geneva Region Tourist Office

The Lake Geneva Region has an enduring ability to attract some of the most celebrated figures in the arts, from Lord Byron to Charlie Chaplin, from Coco Chanel to Audrey Hepburn. They fall in love with the serene natural beauty of the region and the cosmopolitan flair of cities, such as Lausanne and Montreux, and then stay for years. The present-day Lake Geneva Region is continuing to cast its net with ever-widening appeal, especially for skiers.

The Lake Geneva Region is now part of the fifth largest ski area in all of Europe, thanks to the Super Pass Gstaad Alpes Vaudoises. The pass provides access to 260 miles of slopes served by 116 lifts, covering three different regions in both French and German-speaking Switzerland. From Gstaad, skiers can explore the Berner Oberland, to Saanenmoser and Zweisimmen. In the Lake Geneva Region, they can access Rougemont and Leysin, as well as Glacier 3000, Villars and Les Diablerets. The Super Pass is good through May 5.

Families will get a break this winter, as the major Lake Geneva Region ski resorts let children ages nine and under ski and stay for free this winter. Chateau-d'Oex, Rougemont, Leysin-Les Mosses, Les Diablerets-Glacier 3000 and Villars-Gryon have extended the offer for free accommodation in the parents' room and a daily lift pass for kids up to nine years old.

The ski resort of Villars will offer six performances this winter of the "Legends of Music" at the early evening Villars Night Show, featuring sound, light, pyrotechnics and 200 actors on the snow. There will be performances on Feb. 9, 13, 20 and 27 as well as March 2 and 6.

The Lausanne Opera will reopen this winter after a complete refurbishment, with an expanded stage to accommodate the sets for of major European opera productions. The winter season presents a varied schedule that includes productions of "Viva La Mama," "Tosca" and "L'Aiglon."

The Lake Geneva Region recently won three awards from the prestigious Gault Millau guide. Benoit Violier of Hotel de Ville in Crissier was named Chef of the Year just six months after becoming the new Chef Patron of the restaurant, taking over from the Philippe Rochat. Chef David Tarnowski of Le Montagne in Chardonne won Gault Millau's Award for "Rising Chef in French Part of Switzerland" while Georges Lelievre of Auberge de l'Union in Arzier was given the "Discovery Award in French Part of Switzerland."

Rooms with a View

Hotel des Inventions is a new hotel in the building that was formerly the Park Hotel in Ecublens. Set to open in early 2013, each of its 46 rooms and four suites will highlight a different Swiss invention, from bircher muesli and Ricola toffees to the bathyscaphe of Auguste Piccard. This three-star property is a member of the Hotels et Patrimoine group.

La Maison d'Igor is a new boutique hotel, located in the house where composer Igor Stravinsky lived in the lakeside town of Morges. The property is surrounded by lush gardens and offers a restaurant as well as eight rooms, which have retained their period charm and have been decorated with a mix of contemporary and classic furnishings.

The Agora Swiss Night, a new four-star design hotel from Fassbind Hotels, is located about 1,000 feet from the Lausanne train station. The 82-room hotel features a breakfast room on the top floor with a panoramic view of the Alps, Lake Geneva and the Jura Mountains.

Le Baron Tavernier, located in the heart of the Lavaux vineyards in Chexbres, has superb views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. In early 2013, the property will unveil Valmont spa, located in a new building that will also include eight new luxury rooms and one suite.

The Hotel Lavaux, designed by the renowned architect Alberto Sartoris, has been completely refurbished. The four-star property in the lakeside wine village of Cully has 58 rooms and six furnished apartments, all done in a minimalist style, many with views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. The hotel also has a restaurant with a panoramic terrace and a wine tavern, and two conference rooms.

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