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The New Year is here and it is time to inventory all the exciting getaways lined-up on my 2016 calendar. Some are penciled-in and some are in ink. One trip that falls in the latter category is a return to Switzerland this spring to experience the Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region.
This fascinating region stretches from the metropolis of Geneva to Lausanne, through the charming Montreux Riviera, across to the iconic Matterhorn and surrounding resorts of Crans-Montana, Leukerbad, Verbier, Saas-Fee and Zermatt. Featuring beautiful lakes, majestic mountains and colorful city life and countryside’s, the area is a veritable microcosm of the country.
Here at the crossroads of Europe, a visitor can find international shopping, world-class culture, famous spas, skiing, vineyards, luxury hotels and charming chalets, and much more. Travelers can also soak in Lake Geneva, the largest freshwater lake in Europe. Famous for steamships that crisscross its waters, the lake is must-see Switzerland.
One of the things I want to do on my upcoming trip is visit the new Charlie Chaplin museum (www.chaplinsworld.ch) that opens this spring in Montreux Riviera. Dedicated to the life and times of the famous American comedian, the museum will boast more than 32,000 sq-ft of Chaplin in a “symbiosis of the scenic, cinematographic, multimedia and virtual world.” The museum will take guests on a tour of Chaplin’s mythical mansion, dubbed Manoir de Ban.
Surrounded by more than 34 acres of gardens, pathways and terraces, the sprawling estate was Chaplin’s home from 1952 until his death in 1977. The entertainer and his wife sold their Beverly Hills home in 1952 and moved to Switzerland after controversy surrounded his re-entry to the US after touring abroad. And while visiting the Chaplin Museum I hope to stay a night at the Modern Times Hotel, which will be part of the museum. Situated in the town of Vevey, the 4-star hotel overlooks Lake Geneva and is scheduled to open next month.
Another interesting gallery slated to open this year in the Montreux Riviera area is the “Nest,” the new Nestlé Museum. The food industry giant is celebrating its 150th anniversary and the new educational and historical complex will stand on the site where Henri Nestlé devised his famous Farine Lactée infant cereal in 1866.
From the “Swiss Riviera” of Montreux, I would like to take a train to Lausanne and experience the renovated Royal Savoy Hotel (www.royalsavoy.ch). An iconic Swiss hotel since 1906, the 5-star hotel reopened last November. The historic structure resembles a castle and sits in the center of the city, surrounded by parks and wonderful landscape views. Later this year the hotel will open a new spa and swimming pool to compliment its luxurious accommodations, gourmet dining options and attractive location.
While staying at the Royal Savoy, I hope to take a train and then a mountain cable car to Glacier 3000 (www.glacier3000.ch/en) to experience the “Peak Walk by Tissot,” the first and only suspension bridge to connect two mountain peaks. Opened in 2014, the 107-meter-long suspension bridge connects the mountain station with the Scex Rouge’s summit at 3,000 meters above sea level. Glacier 3000 is a company that operates cable cars in the Diablerets region. The Glacier 3000 station offers memorable views of Oldenhorn, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and numerous other Swiss mountain peaks. And the “Peak Walk by Tissot” is a great, albeit scary, way to see them.
The Lake Geneva & Matterhorn Region is at the center of an efficient national network of trains, cable cars and turn-off-the-century steamers, providing seamless transportation to every corner of the region. The Swiss National Railway system provides connections to every major city in Switzerland and throughout Europe, and Swiss International Airlines, along with other major carriers depart daily from Los Angeles to Geneva. For more information on visiting Switzerland, visit: www.MySwitzerland.com