As Switzerland’s third largest city (next to Zurich and Geneva), Basel is a cultural mecca known for its museums, theatres and galleries, not to mention it’s a border city, just steps away from the north of Germany and France. If you have a love of art, music and stage performances, then this Swiss city is definitely for you. Overnight stay on the agenda? Here are three hotels we recommend booking yourselves into.
1. Best for the Refined Traveller: Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Les Trois Rois is the city’s oldest and most luxurious hotel. Even the guest list reads like a page of history. Queen Elisabeth II, Napoleon, Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones are just a handful of famous personalities who have stayed at the hotel. Ideally located in the centre of the city on the banks of the River Rhine, the service, dining and accommodations are nothing short of perfect. With 101 rooms and suites, decor-wise you’ll feel transported in time, thanks to the antique furniture, dark walls, rich woods and gold trimmings. Instead of feeling stuffy, as some historic hotels can be, it feels warm and contemporary. The downstairs bar offers outdoor seating on the terrace, ideal for summer evenings. Be sure to try a cocktail designed by their head barman, Thomas Huhn who is the current Swiss champion in “Classic Fancy Drinks.” Also be sure to make a reservation at the renowned restaurant Cheval Blanc, a 2 Michelin-star restaurant led by Chef Peter Knogl, who was recently awarded Chef of the Year 2011 by the GaultMillau Swiss restaurant guide. Onsite you’ll also find a fitness centre, sauna and massage room, perfect for relaxing after a long day of museum hopping. Rooms start at 300 Swiss Francs, making this hotel also the most expensive in the city, but we promise it’s well worth it.
Blumenrain 8, CH-4001 Basel
+41 (0)61 260 50 50
2. Best for Museum-Hoppers: Swissôtel Le Plaza Basel
Basel’s largest hotel is also conveniently located near some of the cities most important cultural sites like Fondation Beyeler and the Zoo. There are a total of 282 rooms and suites, outfitted in modern furnishings, many with views of the city. Dining-wise the hotel offers Le Plaza Restaurant, which serves up modern Swiss Cuisine, as well as a bar and little shop for take away snacks. The hotel also has a fully-equipped gym with free weights, treadmills and eliptical machines. For outdoor exercisers, the concierge also offers jogging maps for routes around the city. And if a spa treatment is on the agenda, you can also book yourself a massage or facial. Rooms start at 205 Swiss Francs a night, but we suggest you check out their current promotions to really get a great deal on a room and some added bonuses too!
Messeplatz 25, CH-4005 Basel
+41 (0)61 555 33 33
3. Best for Art Lovers: Hotel Der Teufelhof Basel
If the idea of staying at a chain doesn’t sit well with you, then consider this unique boutique hotel. Designed for guests to discover art, dining and theatre in a new way, those who already appreciate the arts will love this hotel. Offering a total of 33 rooms, guests have the option of staying in the Art Hotel or the Gallery Hotel. The Art Hotel has 8 rooms and one suite, each decorated to be living works of art. Refurbished in the summer of 2010, each room has a specific colour and features either a large blow-up of a vegetable, fruit or blossom on the wall. The Gallery Hotel has a different concept for the art inside its rooms. Here one artist outfits the room as they please, with various furnishings, art work and decor. We love that no room is alike and even if you come back at a later date it’s possible the room may look completely different! Other highlights of the property include the dining options. There’s the Bel Étage dining room, with a menu that changes daily. Starter items include wild shrimp, truffled ravioli, while mains you’ll find everything from catfish to elk. Their Atelier is more of a casual dining destination, and for drinks you’ll find the Bar a great place for a glass of wine or dessert and coffee. While there be sure to visit there wine cellar, where you can also get a tour and do a wine tasting. It’s a wonderful place to learn about Swiss wines (there are definitely some good ones!) and also find out more about the historic house. Rooms start at 190 Swiss Francs.
Leonhardsgraben 47-49, CH-4051 Basel
+41 (0)61 261 10 10