We have stayed for 2 nights at Principe Leopoldo for the second time. The first time was in summer some years ago.
All in all, the hotel and the location is quite nice, however ca. 10 min drive from Lugano centre, but the hotel offers shuttle service in case you have no car with you.
The hotel - although partly renovated - is still like a vintage grand hotel and mostly rather old-fashioned and "dusty" featuring dark hall ways etc.
We did take this time a recently renovated Junior Suite for 770CHF per night including breakfast. The junior suite was supposed to be ca. 65m2, however when checking in we found this a little bit "overmeasured" unless you do add the 2 walk-in-wardrobes and the terrace...
Otherwise the room was ok, the light concept was not very well implemented since in the main room as well in the bath room there is only little light (the mainroom only has 3 standing lamps and one reading lamp on each bed and no lamps or light on the ceiling) which makes you feel like sitting in the dark, it is also hard to apply make up in the bathroom since the light is poor there.
The bed is a double bed with two seperate matresses and two blankets. I personally did not like the blankets (like in an old italian 3* hotel it is only a bed linen with a wool blanket inside) no duvet or anything more suitable given the hotel being a 5* relais and chateaux member and the time of the year where it gets already freezy.
The 32" flat tv of the junior suite hangs just in front of the bed - definitly not my taste since it is showing the time and on stand-by at night and I had to hang towels over it since it is really disturbing. Furthermore, when sitting on the sofa of the junior suite or at the desk, it is absolutely impossible to watch TV but only when lying in bed - this is not a really good concept.
The bathroom is splitted into two parts, one with the toilet and bidet, the other with a small bath tub/shower. I personally think that the bath tub has been designed for rather small people since for me with 1.74m it was tiny. It is also unconfortable to shower in there. I was disappointed to find in a completely refurbished junior suite such a small bath tub and atop with no seperate proper shower.
The bath amenities are another irritating experience. Since the hotel shows on their homepage proudly pictures with bathrooms featuring Molton Brown products (some years ago they had Crabtree&Evelyne), I was disappointed to find out that in the price of 770 CHF per night only some noname products featuring a Villa Principe Leopoldo label were offered. But this was not all: When passing the service cart in the hallway of another floor, I did see that they also have Etro products!!!!! However it seems that these more expensive products are only for the proper suites and not for clients booking only rooms or junior suites!!! Quite disappointing when you feel as a second-class customer and also the pictures on the page that gives the completely wrong impression to expecting brand products.
The main restaurant of the hotel has an impressive wine list with a good selection and also good value for certain wines, the prices for the food is rather on the high level. The interior has been redone - it is still antique in style and a bit like Laura Ashley but makes you feel home immediately.The quality of the food and also the service was just excellent - the only thing that is slightly irritating there is the restaurant manager (Gabriel), a real Italian macho who ignores the presence of females on the table (the white truffles were only shown to my husband, also when he was offering the specials of the day or taking orders, he was just talking to him and ignoring me completely...) Otherwise the experience in the restaurant was really superb.
However, the breakfast does unfortunately not match up to the quality of the restaurant. In general, I found both the variety and also the condition of the location have a big space for improvement. The breakfast room starts in the middle of the hallway leading to the rooms. It looks like it has not been renovated for ages, the walls have a lot of scratches and deep marks, on some of the corners little pieces of the walls are missing. The mirrors and some of the windows are blind, the once white frames of the windows are dark and sometimes rusty, the furniture is still the original from the opening periode of the hotel...
The breakfast itself was for my experience (we have stayed in many top class 5* hotels around the world) quite poor. They offer basically some heated scrambled eggs and bacon, some boiled eggs, some ham variations, some cheese, cereals, muesli, fruit salad, yoghurts and a variation of different bread. As for beverages, they had coffee, tea, grapefruit juice, orange juice (the juices are far away from being freshly squeezed or at least 100% fruit juice but rather nectar and hardly drinkable, quite poor in quality for such a place!!), water and prosecco. So far, so good. The first morning (which was a Sunday), we enjoyed the full selection with also the premium prosecco especially botteled for the hotel whereas on the second morning, a Monday, the whole breakfast was reduced. The muesli was empty and not replaced, instead of 7 different cheese types only 3 were offered, same with the meat and ham. The fruit salad who was rich of different fruits and berries on sunday was only made of apples and pineapples plus of course the good quality prosecco from the previous day had been changed to a inferior one which was undrinkable. Also here is a lot of room for improvement! Since the sunday was not a special brunch or anything but normal breakfast as everyday, I cannot understand why there is such a difference in quality.
On the second day, I though of giving me the treat of some recreation and Spa therapy. Due to the season, the pool was not closed but unheated so it was impossible to go for swimming. The sauna and the whirlpool that was once part of the hotel's recreation offer had to my great asthonisment been refurbished but closed down for general use (although the hotel stills features the sauna in the recreation booklet on their website!!!)
In reality it is now called private suite and can be rented for 60 minutes for 285 CHF!!!!!! Ok, so no sauna, whirpool or spa area, I tried the gym. The actual hotel does not have a gym within the budilding, so you need to walk approx. 4 minutes to the Residence building of the hotel. In the last corner of the 1st floor of the residence, they have equipped a green room without any air or windows with some gym machines. The room is really horrible and reminds of a cheerfully painted isolated basement room. In the end, I decided to go to the "SPA" to book me a treatment since there is really nothing else that you can do in this hotel. When I arrived there, I was warmly welcomened by Sara (obviously the manager of the spa). Unfortunately and to my great surprise, she does not speak any English, so I had to book my treatment by pointing on it on the spa menu. The prices of the treatments are (even for Switzerland) on the very high side, a sport massage of 90 min is 320CHF, a classic facial with Kiso (their own hotel signature products) is for 100 min also 320 CHF. The good thing to say is that due to the prices I had no problem in finding a free space for my treatments. Both treatments were really nice, also the treatment rooms have been completely renewed and have an excellent atmosphere. The only thing I found quite disturbing is the fact that it was not self-evident for the woman giving me the treatments to take off her jewellery and rings before which I had never experienced in any spa before, especially when giving massages and facials!!!!
All in all, I would come back to this place only when they have a special rate or offer since I find the place in quality-price terms simply overrated. Also I would choose another hotel especially in the autumn and winter months since except from eating in the one restaurant or getting treatments there is really nothing offered to do in the hotel - really ZERO which I find poor, especially since this is not a busy business hotel in a center of a town but outside and I am sure if they would add a proper SPA and Wellness area where guests can spend hours in relaxing, using a sauna or steam bath, reading etc. would be a real add-on to this place.
As it is now, there is basically nothing you can do in the colder months than stay in your room or spend money in the restaurant or on treatments - so rather boring.
Also I would next time choose rather the residence, the small suites there seem to have acutally the same size as the junior suite plus the outside pool there is much bigger than in the hotel itself.
Also you should be prepared to pay 25CHF per night for the parking place plus another 25CHF for 24h internet connection.
All in all we spent a bit more than 3000CHF for 2 nights including 1 dinner with a bottle of wine and mineral water, 2 spa treatments, internet, parking, soft drinks in the mini bar, so around 3600 US$ which is not exactly a bargain and was definitly not the best price-value we ever had to say it in a nice way... For this amount of money we did already stay 2 nights in Burj al Arab in Dubai or in Badrutt's Palace in Sankt Moritz and I have to say there is absolutely no comparison to our stay in Principe Leopoldo...
So be prepared to spend a little fortune there (which I personally do not mind at all when the value and overall experience matches the price). I think it was not worth it and will not go back unless it is summer and they have a much better rate!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated high above the Bay of Lugano this exceptional boutique hotel offers first-class suites and rooms. The tastefully arranged spacious rooms, the terraces with breathtaking views, two heated outdoor pools, tennis courts and a wide range of facilities leave nothing to be desired. Neither does the exquisite Mediterranean cuisine of Dario Ranza, served in the light-flooded restaurants. Jewel of the hotel is Kiso: a heavenly, exclusive Spa offering unadulterated luxury, privacy and exclusive treatments. Nothing else to be desired - a truly royal feeling. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Principe Leopoldo Hotel And Spa
- Hotel Principe Leopoldo