When it comes to the mingling of high French and Swiss cultures, dignified Geneva is often what comes to mind for experienced Switzerland travelers, especially as you can see France from the terraces of many of the 5-star properties lining Lake Geneva. Lausanne, on the other hand, makes that delicious blend of French joie de vivre and Switzerland’s progressive. lifestyle-driven mindset accessible for people of all ages. It’s telling, after all, this city of 139,000 is sometimes known as the “San Francisco” of Switzerland. Sister grand hotels Beau Rivage and The Lausanne Palace epitomize this reputation in their own special ways.
With technology advancing faster than ever, children globally are becoming attached to devices. Adults too. Our Netflix queue and ever-expanding inbox call our names even when we’re on vacation. We carry distractions with us everywhere, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to truly connect with your loved ones.
Some family groups head to Switzerland for skiing and outdoor adventure, while others come for the history, culture, food and scenery. Given Switzerland’s spas effectively intersect both realms, it’s no surprise adult groups will add in a spa visit or book a luxury hotel known for its spa. While these oases have everything from naturally sourced spring water pools to skilled practitioners, top-tier beauty products and garden-fresh snacks, amenities for kids and teens are not always top of mind for the spa management.
Zermatt’s colorful ski boutique-lined Bahnhofstrasse, stylish apartment-style lodgings of every description and views of the Matterhorn from every angle make up one of Europe’s most family-friendly destinations — and it certainly does not hurt that it is proclaimed the “world’s best ski resort” by organizations like SnowOnline.com year after year. During the warmer months, meanwhile, you will see many family groups with kids strolling the shopping streets (sometimes alongside a herd of about 50 free-range Valais Blackneck goats around 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.), enjoying fondue and pizza at nearby cafés, and taking advantage of the many hiking and bike trails.
This summer, family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with the debut of Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. The journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away by a Peninsula Camp Counselor to a luxurious guestroom where a charming teepee awaits. An afternoon of camp-themed games and activities, including a hotel-wide scavenger hunt, rounds off the family-friendly experience, fun for children of all ages. Whether it’s a luxe staycation or an extended holiday, Camp Peninsula is an ideal way to ensure the little ones are happy campers.
Since the early 1930s, various iterations of the Glacier Express introduced passengers of all ages to the natural, historic and (later) UNESCO-designated wonders of the Alps between Zermatt and St. Moritz. It is branded as “the world’s slowest high-speed train,” winding through the hills and valleys over the course of seven hours and delivering tons of photo-ready vistas and slices of life in the process.