Thursday, 30 July 2015

Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, Basel, Switzerland



Taking in the early morning rays of sun on the terrace of the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, Basel’s most chi-chi address, the only sound I could hear was the aqua-blue waters of the Rhine flowing rapidly beneath me. 

This hotel certainly lived up to its name. I felt regal as I tucked into my lavish breakfast of coffee, fruit, smoked salmon and poached eggs served up well-done, just the way I like them. It was the perfect way to start the day.



Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois at night


An ode to old-world elegance, the immaculate and opulent décor of Les Trois Rois is  resolutely traditional. One of Europe’s grandest and oldest hotels it has been attracting the great and the good for centuries. Les Trois Rois must have been proud of Napoleon’s visit as there is a suite named after him. 

Starting out life in 1681 as the Inn zu Drei Königen, an establishment for gentlemen only, it  had morphed by the middle of the 19th century into a first-rate hotel. Thomas Straumann, the current owner who bought the hotel in 2004 became its new knight in shining armour. 

He bought the neighbouring former Basel Cantonial Bank as an extension and had the buildings painstakingly restored to pay homage to the lavishness of the legendary Belle Epoque property. With contemporary comfort slotted in to reflect the very essence of what guests now demand of a luxury establishment, 20 months later Les Trois Rois reopened its doors.



Double room overlooking the Rhine



Time and effort has been put into every detail. Ascending the carpeted steps, huge glittering chandeliers greet you as you enter. There is definitely a sense of occasion as you enter the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois. Antiques pepper the establishment. The marble gilded pillars of the atrium add style and sophistication.  

As I checked in I was presented with a single red rose –such a lovely thought. After a warm welcome. I knew that this stay was going to be an experience that I would treasure.

My spacious room overlooking the Rhine was served up with a dollop of nostalgia enhanced with discreet nudges of high-tech such as Wi-Fi, a heated bathroom floor and a flat screen TV. Awaiting me was an elegant vase filled with water ready for me to place my rose. Other lovely touches included three pears, chocolates and a plate of little cakes. The mini-bar was complimentary. Cocooned in the finest of linens on an extremely comfy bed, I slept so well.



The Brasserie



The two-starred Michelin-starred restaurant, the Cheval Blanc was full so I never got to sample the delights of the renowned chef Peter Knogl. I went to the Brasserie instead where I had superb food dished up with a distinctive French and Swiss flavour in a congenial atmosphere with a wonderful setting. 

The river and its banks had taken on a different character at night, something more magical, I thought as I sipped a delicious glass of chilled Swiss white from Vaud. This country does produce some real palate pleasers. 

I was spoilt for choice as the menu had plenty of mouth-watering dishes to tempt me. On the recommendation of the Maître d’hôtel Brasserie I began with cerviche of scallops which was wonderful. 

For the main course I tucked into the turbot with an exquisite champagne mousse accompanied by minted peas and home-made ravioli bursting with fresh vegetables. It was absolutely sensational. A glass of citrus-drenched Chablis Premier Cru went down a treat with this dish.

Finding room for dessert was difficult but they were too tempting to turn down. The variation de sorbets maison was magnificent. Flavours of passion fruit and coconut assaulted my senses.  

Service throughout Les Trois Rois is impeccable. Everything is done to make your stay most memorable. The only problem is that it will be extremely difficult to trump this hotel.

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there

British Airways currently flies from London City to Zurich up to four times a day. Each-way hand baggage only fares are available from £69 (based on a return hand baggage only fare) and are available to book on www.ba.com/londoncity

(In addition BA has services from Heathrow with connections also available from across the UK and Ireland.)

All British Airways fares include online check-in 24 hours before departure, complimentary refreshments and drinks on board and no debit card charges 

Customers have a quick and easy journey through the Docklands airport, with hand baggage it takes just 15 minutes to get from kerbside to airside
 
This is such a great way to fly

Train fares from Zurich to Basel start at £40 standard class return. For bookings visit www.voyages-sncf.com or phone 0844 848 5848 or call into the Voyages-sncf Travel Centre, 193 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EU

Travelling by train is easy in Switzerland. Good frequency trains are punctual and altogether a pleasant experience

For more information on the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (www.lestroisrois.com

For more information on Basel visit www.basel.com/en

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