- Baur au Lac (Zurich; tel. 044/220-50-20; www.bauraulac.ch): Prestigious and historic, it's one of the country's grandest hotels, welcoming prosperous guests since 1844. Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, and John Lennon are some of the artists who have experienced its charms. Today, the international business community considers it a favorite.
- Widder Hotel (Zurich; tel. 044/224-25-26; www.widderhotel.ch): In the heart of the city's Old Town, 10 historic buildings dating from the 15th century have been transformed into an intimate luxury inn. Massive wooden beams and 16th-century frescoes still exist from the days when these buildings were part of the butchers' guild, but now they're juxtaposed with glass elevators and stainless-steel furniture. It's an offbeat, fun choice in a staid city, made especially inviting because of the live jazz in the bar.
- Grand Hotel les Trois Rois (Basel; tel. 061/260-50-50; www.lestroisrois. ch): Claiming to be the oldest hotel in Europe, this inn has operated continuously since 1026. It was the site of a meeting between two Holy Roman emperors and a Burgundian king that eventually established the southwestern borders of present-day Switzerland. Voltaire, Queen Victoria, and Kaiser Wilhelm II were only a few of this hotel's famous guests. Today, there's live jazz in the bar and a cosmopolitanism that permeates every part of this very comfortable hotel.
- Allegro Bern (Bern; tel. 031/339-55-00; www.allegro-hotel.ch): This is the hippest, most savvy, and most sophisticated hotel in the Swiss capital. Set just across the river from the town's historic core, the hotel offers great service, grand comfort, and a lot of style and charm.
- Palace Hotel Gstaad (Gstaad; tel. 800/223-6800 or 033/748-50-00; www.palace.ch): Every winter this becomes one of the most sought-after hotels in the world, attracting the chic and fabulous who create what's been called the most amusing and expensive annual house party in Europe. Built in 1912, the hotel sits on a promontory above Gstaad (not exactly a village unfamiliar with luxury). Everything is very, very luxurious.
- Beau-Rivage Palace (Lausanne; tel. 800/223-6800 or 021/613-33-06; www.brp.ch): This is the most prestigious hotel in Lausanne. Undeniably beautiful, it's a Beaux Arts masterpiece richly associated with the city's cultural and social elite. Service is impeccable. Although it has long catered to wealthy and conservative French-speaking Swiss, it has made great efforts in recent years to attract a younger, more international clientele.
- Le Richemond (Geneva; tel. 888/667-9477 or 022/715-70-00; www.lerichemond.com): Built in 1875 in the style of a neoclassical palace, the newly restored Le Richemond drips with Gobelin tapestries, French antiques, and a sophisticated, hardworking staff for whom absolutely nothing is a surprise. It also has the most fascinating bar in town; but if you decide to have a drink here, don't even think of showing up in torn jeans.
- Kulm Hotel (St. Moritz; tel. 081/836-80-00; www.kulmhotel-stmoritz.ch): This is the great bastion of luxury of the Engadine, rivaling even Suvretta House and Badrutt's Palace Hotel for supremacy. The greats and near-greats of the world have found refuge from the snows here in this trio of buildings, the oldest of which dates from 1760.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.