by: José Berrocoso //
Summer holidays don´t have to mean sea and sand. Lake holidays attract people who are seeking resort-style living in a setting where natural resources, wildlife and a serene environment are important.
We pick breaks amid mountains and by tranquil lakes to suit lovers of long hikes, high-energy activity or just dreamy upland vistas. This month we travel from Lake Pichola in the exotic India, to the chic Lake Silvaplana in Switzerland, the heart of Argentina´s Lake District, the Moraine Lake in Canada, to the magic Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda. Five wonderful spots for a relaxing lakeside retreat! And the best bit… these hotel rooms have got some of the best views in the world!
A FLOATING PALACE ESCAPE IN THE MIDDLE OF LAKE PICHOLA
Where: Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
This 270-year-old white marble palace floats like a mirage in the middle of Lake Pichola and looks dazzling from the shore, making it one of the most private and exclusive hotels in the world. Only hotel guests can visit, making it an Instagrammers dream. Reached by a short boat ride, it was built as a summer retreat by Maharana Jagjit Singh who ruled Jaipur in the 17th century.
It has undergone major refurbishment, which has gone a long way to restore its palatial feel with marble floors and rich furnishings, making it incredibly opulent and ideal for an unforgettable Indian escape. The hotel is home to 65 beautiful rooms with original royal features and 18 spectacular suites, including The Grand Presidential Suite for those who truly wish to splash out.
There are a number of restaurants to choose from and those really looking to ‘truly push the boat out’ can enjoy a special evening aboard the royal barge ‘Gangaur’, equipped with seven rowers, private dance performers and private chef. This boat was purchased by the hotel after it was refurbished for the James Bond film Octopussy, in which the boat and hotel famously featured, and is ideal for sunset drinks, private dinner or cookery class.
SAILING IN THE ALPS!
Where: Suvretta House, St Moritz, Switzerland
Traditionally a winter destination, many don’t think of visiting St Moritz in the summer months. Once the snows melt and temperatures rise, Switzerland’s beautiful Upper Engadine becomes the ideal spot for an action-packed summer holiday. The Lakes of St Moritz are beautiful all year round, but summer is the perfect time for sailing enthusiasts.
Grand Dame ‘Palace of the Mountains’ Suvretta House is minutes from the magnificent Lake Silvaplana, which lies at an altitude of 1,731 metres above sea level and is the largest natural lake in The Alps over 1,000 metres. Stretching up to 3.1km long in some areas, Lake Silvaplana is excellent for water sports and, thanks to its size, never feels crowded. Sailors and windsurfers will delight in the legendary Majola wind on Lake Silvaplana – this is a famously strong downhill wind which sometimes reaches between 3 to 6 on the Beaufort Scale and provides the perfect sailing conditions for beginners and the more experienced. The highlight of the St. Moritz sailing season is the Swiss, European and sometimes World Sailing Championships.
Suvretta House can arrange professional sailing instructors to take guests out on the lake to enjoy some of the freshest mountain air and cleanest waters in the world.
IN THE HEART OF ARGENTINA’S LAKE DISTRICT
Where: Llao Llao Hotel, San Carlos de Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina
Backed by the Andes mountains and surrounded on three sides by Lakes Nahuel Huapi and Moreno, the Llao Llao occupies a spectacular position atop a hill in the Argentine Lake District. Llao Llao is one of the most recognizable hotels in the world. Combining its rich history dating back to 1938 with a modern wing built in 2007, this Canadian-style resort is a destination lodge perfect for any season.
A choice of three restaurants and a lobby bar offers everything from Patagonian lamb to the most delicate international cuisine. Follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama and his family by enjoying Patagonian specialities at the Moreno Lake Bar which offers spellbinding views of Mount Tronador and the lake. Enjoy the classical Llao Llao Tea, served overlooking the spectacular view of the hotel gardens and the breathtaking Nahuel Huapi Lake, and the evening happy hour, replete with relaxed ambiance and lovely surroundings.
Guests also have access to the marina, beach, fitness centre, heated indoor and outdoor infinity swimming pools, a thoroughly modern spa offering excellent treatments for men and women alike, and also a stunning 18-hole golf course which provides all the necessary services for an incomparable golfing experience.
OVERLOOKING THE MESMERIZING MORAINE LAKE
Where: Moraine Lake Lodge, Canada
Barely 9 miles from Lake Louise, and the Trans-Canada Highway, the road to Moraine Lake Lodge is only open from May through October (and happens to be a great spot for grizzly sightings!). Once there, the views of the turquoise, glacially-fed lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks are unforgettable. Starting point for hikes into Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass are some of Banff National Park’s best (ablaze in autumn when larch needles are golden).
The resort has a refreshingly unpretentious vibe, and now oddly-endearing late-80s aesthetic from when it was first designed and built. The best rooms are in the lower level, deluxe cabins with river rock, wood-burning fireplaces and private balconies. All accommodations come without telephones or TVs – and cell service is blissfully patchy, with signals interrupted by Mount Babel. The Walter Wilcox Dining Room highlights specials including local deer and buffalo.
This beautiful mountain retreat combines a natural approach with modern comforts for the ultimate Canadian escape. Here tap water comes straight from the mineral well and electricity is generated on-site plus there are no televisions or telephones to distract. There are however two excellent gourmet restaurants and a plethora of adventure activities to help you really make the most of your time away.
THE BIRDNEST EXPERIENCE
Where: BirdNest Resort, Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda
Lake Bunyonyi in South Western Uganda is believed to be one of the deepest lakes in Africa, probably even the most beautiful lakes in the continent as well, dotted with numerous islands and surrounded by terraced hills. It´s a perfect camp base for gorilla trekking in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
BirdNest Resorts is the place to stay. The hotel is positioned at the shore of the lake, offering a spectacular view of these amazing surroundings. Activities offered include bird watching, boat trips, fishing, visits to hot springs, village visits, sailing and percussion workshops, just to name a few.
Each room features a fireplace for the cold nights and a beautiful pool facing the lake. You can sit back and relax surrounded by the gorgeous scenary and countryside or partake in the ample cultural, natural and eco-tourism activities offered through the lodge. The hotel can organize relaxing day-trips in the local district to allow you to discover exclusive local sports and interact with the local people and nature. Enjoy a truly authentic Ugandan travel experience!