Palafitte: the first and only Lacustrian luxury hotel
Heading north-north-east for inspiration, let’s discover the unique, one and only luxury hotel built on stilts: Palafitte. An architectural structure of baffling modernity yet reminiscent of - and inspired by - the Paleolithic architectural remains excavated by archeologists in several lakeside locations around western Europe. Including, precisely the Lake of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland. Built back in 2002 as part of the Swiss national exhibition Expo.02 – and originally not meant to survive past the exhibition – this unique hotel was devised as a visionary “work of art” by talented, world-famous architect Kurt Hofmann, in cooperation with the students of Lausanne renown Swiss Hospitality School (École Hôtelière de Lausanne). Drawing inspiration on the oldest remains found in Switzerland, on that very same lake side, Palaffite has been built on stilts, with the objective of offering its guests , wherever they might stand, a stunning and grandiose all-round view on the lake and the surrounding landscape. Unusual and superb, Palafitte is an architectural masterpiece, designed to always live in close association with the seasons by following the rhythm and breathing of the water. A poetic yet ultra-contemporary symbiosis built of light, wood, water and glass: the guarantee of being able to relax, immersed in a total change of scenery - with a breathtaking landscape at your entire disposal.
All the rooms are set and devised in harmony with the innovative style of the buildings. With, as far as I am concerned, an added “extra “for the pavilions directly facing the lake and the mountains: they look and feel like an “out-of-time” cosy bubble, hovering over the water. A heaven of charm and quiet nestled at the very heart of Nature. Bathing in total visual immersion with the blue-grey light suffused by the watery sky – or cloudy water, as sky and lake constantly mix in a limitless horizon – is an absolute must!
A ladder allows you to slide directly into the lake for a refreshing swim… in summer. I would strongly discourage you to try the experience at this time of the year, except if you are a die-hard adept of icy cold baths. But the view, with its misty atmosphere, advantageously replaces the pleasure of freezing in the water, especially if you decide to enjoy it snugly cuddling in a soft, warm blanket while sipping a glass of Oeil-de-Perdrix rosé wine on your very own private terrace. I should know: I have done it…
Do not hesitate to directly contact Hotel Palafitte to take advantage of the packages available, especially in autumn and winter (with great offers at lower prices than during the peak of the season), for an exclusive, personalised and à-la-carte stay. The area really deserves a special mention, even in November-December: the light shines in softer hues and, but this is my personal opinion, is a lot more beautiful, even magical, than in the bright shinning sunny summer days. The summits of Alps, in the background of the unique, natural theatre set, are already highlighted with white and the lake displays a camaieu of greys… there prevails a facinating yet almost melancholic beauty, a song of forgotten legends and magic, infused with the long-lost memories of the intriguing ruins discovered here. A mysterious token left by one of the most brilliant and refined cultures of Western-Europe Celtic ages.
Dining options are on the level of excellence expected from a five-star hotel, lakeside charm included: be it La Table, the gourmet restaurant, the Bar, or The Terrasse, the external panoramic deck, you will enjoy a great stay in a beautiful place, complete with a superb view, perfect service and unique experience. An autumn getaway to be highly recommended!
Hôtel Palafitte - Route des Gouttes d’or 2 - 2000 Neuchâtel - Switzerland - www.palafitte.ch
What to do, taste and see in the area… our very own addresses and suggestions:
A fascinating archaeological museum-and-park: Laténium : www.latenium.ch