Many people would say Neuchatel’s famous castle is the best landmark the city has to offer, but for me the lakeside Beau Rivage Hotel is a whole lot more memorable.
Neuchatel may well be Switzerland’s watch making capital, but time is the last thing on my mind as I walk through the lobby of the Beau Rivage Hotel. After a long drive along the Grand Tour of Switzerland route from Montreux, all I want to do is relax and unwind.
The Beau Rivage Hotel is a glorious 19th century mansion perched about as near to Lake Neuchatel as you can get.
You might be put off by her vintage exterior, but following a recent renovation, there is no hint of faded glory, just classic luxury comfortably holding hands with fresh contemporary.
There is a distinct feel of peace and tranquillity as I wearily trudge into the lobby, but the opening remarks perk me up no end.
“Your room is all ready for you Mr. Mossack. Dinner tonight out on the terrace?”
Up in my room, the view across the lake is spectacular, as is the queen bed winking at me from the centre of the room.
But I banish any thoughts of a nap and take a walk around town instead using a pocket guide supplied by the hotel.
Neuchatel’s old town is an easy stroll, plenty of elegant fountains and 18th century sandstone houses.
Climbing to the hilltop castle and cathedral gets rid of the cobwebs and I take a cool drink square at one of the many cafes down in the pretty main square.
Back at the Beau Rivage Hotel I get back in time for a rest and shower before my promised “dinner out on the terrace”.
The bathroom is what I would call comfortable rather than spacious, but the marble sink, rainforest shower and high end toiletries does the job for me. As does a quick espresso from the machine above the mini bar.
Back downstairs, the O’Terroirs Restaurant terrace awaits, the lake just a stone’s throw away with the mountains in the distance. It is quite the memorable setting.
Head chef Eric Mazéas celebration of fresh local produce is very evident in his menu which is nothing short of outstanding.
Of course a drop or two of a delicious local red Adagio cote de l’Orbe 2011 helps it all go down even smoother.
A Chanterelle mushroom fricasse is followed by melt in the mouth veal tournedos dusted with bone marrow with gnocchi and puree carrot.
Some show-stopping cave aged cheese and a chocolate and blackcurrant, Baileys Irish Cream parfait dessert later and I am truly finished.
An epic example of culinary wizardry which will live long in the memory.
God bless Eric Mazéas and his team.
The lakeside promenade runs straight past the Beau Rivage Hotel and the citizens of Neuchatel make for perfect evening people spotting as a long line of different folk walk by.
The Beau Rivage Hotel ticks every box for me; it has an understated way about it even though it is a member of Relais & Chateux.
The position is perfect, the decor is sumptuous and the restaurant delivers quite simply, some of the best food I have tasted in Switzerland.
Tell me more about the Beau Rivage Hotel in Neuchatel
Double room including breakfast: from 345.00 CHF per night for two people.
O’Terroirs Restaurant from 54- 135 CHF
Espl. du Mont-Blanc 1, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Tel +41 32 723 15 15
For more information, detailed map and a bespoke guide book on the Grand Tour of Switzerland go to Swiss Tourism