IMG_9160

Every city has its own story to tell, so as every hotel. Visiting Switzerland without visiting the capital city Bern isn’t complete. So I decided to hop on a train from Zurich (now I call it my third home), and walk around the historical city. Chosen by the Switzerland’s federal parliament as the capital city in 1848, Bern is actually a very small city, the old town is classified as a UNESCO World Cultural heritage site. Staying at the most luxurious hotel in Bern, Hotel Bellevue Palace is every bit a palace. Situated on top a little hill next to the river Aare, the location and the view is impeccable- you basically see the entire town from above.

The Bellevue first opened in 1865 by Bernese hotelier Friedrich Osswald, a year after he purchased the land. He was renowned for his business flair as well as his great sense of style. Since then Bern became one of the nation’s most prestigious hotels, attracting guests including Russian princes, Arabian emirs, maharajas from India, mandarins from China, and millionaires from America, whom all visited the Bellevue Palace. In 1910 Alphons and Philipp Osswald decided to build a completely new hotel, which re-opened in 1913. For four years during World War I the Bellevue served as military headquarters. The hotel enjoyed a heyday in the 1920s. In 1924 the owners purchased the name of the neighbouring Bernerhof Hotel, after which the Hotel went under the name Bellevue Palace Grandhotel and Bernerhof. In 1976 the Swiss National Bank acquired the majority shareholding, thereby ensuring the hotel’s continued existence. In 1994 the National Bank made a gift of the Hotel to the Swiss Confederation. The federal government is now the current owner of the BELLEVUE AG real estate company. In 2007, Switzerland’s Victoria-Jungfrau group of leading luxury hotels took over the management of the establishment. So you see, the hotel on its own already has 100 years’ of history and stories to tell.

As I entered the hotel, the architecture and interior was just impressive-royal, grand and welcoming.

Rezeption
IMG_9053
IMG_9045
IMG_8971

As I was at the reception desk, I saw these 3 framed historical price lists and information of the hotel back in the days. It’s so fascinating the hotel still keep a real copy of these.

IMG_9180

Price of the hotel in 1896. A single room cost CHF 4-8, room with 2 beds cost CHF 8-14.

IMG_9178

Price list of the hotel rooms in 1938/39. A single room cost CHF 8-10 in low season, and CHf 8-12 in peak season; a suite cost CHF 40 in low season and CHF 50 in peak season. And a breakfast cost CHF 2.50. When you think about the cost of living back in 1930s, the price was a luxury to many general public.

IMG_9179
Information for “US Soldiers on leave” in 1945, that’s why it was in English.

IMG_8968

IMG_9051

Architects back in 1910s designed the hotel intentionally to reflect the 18th century style of the surrounding buildings. As you can see in the hotel lobby and restaurants, the ceilings are very high, allowing lots of natural daylight to come in. The ceiling dome with stained glass is one of the most impressive feature of the palace bellevue.


IMG_8741

My suite was located on the 3rd floor, at the corner of the hotel, I didn’t realize both doors were mine until I went inside. It was a very quiet corner of the hotel, made my night so peaceful.

IMG_8740

Beautifully decorated, simple and clean, the room had 3 huge windows that I could open, and each of them lead to a different angle of the views overlooking the whole city.


IMG_8722
IMG_8721

Love the little stool next to the bed, makes it so much easier climbing onto and out of bed. Also puts a royal touch to the beautiful room.


IMG_8736

Swiss hospitality is really the best in the world.  They always manage to provide you with the most personal service yet allowing you to stay discreet and leaving you with privacy. They always put a smile on my face. I sometimes secretly suspect do they have a photo of the guests on the file in their system, because everyone managed to greet me by my surname again! This is just simply amazing. The hotel has 128 rooms with 24 suites, how is it even possible to recognize every guests???


IMG_8724

The Swiss love to prepare seasonal fruits and specialty treats for guests, the Bernese milk chocolate was SO GOOD, I brought it home and it was gone in one night. I just couldn’t resist. Swiss chocolates are simply IRRESISTIBLE.

IMG_8965

It was a Sunday evening, everything was closed in the town so I decided to stay in and enjoy my beautiful suite. 20 mins after I’ve ordered my dinner, a staff showed up with the most friendly smile, insisting me to just sit down and relax, he would prepare everything for me. He didn’t even let me pour my water because he insists I need to relax. So I just sat there and thank him again and again for preparing my setting for dinner (it was really delicious…!!!)


IMG_8956

The room was filled with books on history, art history, and some biographies and magazines, I flipped through them all and found them really interesting. If I had to read them thoroughly it would take me weeks to be able to finish all the history!


IMG_8963

There was even a pair of binoculars for me to take a better look from my windows.

Little did I know how gorgeous the view of my room was going to be until I went inside…With views as such from every window of my room, I basically could see the entire Bernese Alps, and the old town. I spent most of my time in the room just staring at the windows admiring the ever changing scene of the mountains and the sky, it was purely mesmerizing. I almost climbed out from every window trying to take as much photos as I could. I have 3000 more of the same view because every second the scene was different.

I mean, waking up to these views, I really lost my word for describing how thankful I was.


IMG_8737

IMG_9077

IMG_9016
IMG_9014

Even the sunset and view at night was beautiful. I could just open the windows, look up into the sky and saw countless bright twinkle stars above my head.


IMG_8930
IMG_8935
IMG_8959
IMG_9188

Of course, I didn’t spend all my time only in my room, though I could. So I decided to head down to the bar for a glass of wine. Lobby at night was beautiful. There’s a sense of imperial touch yet intimate.

IMG_8972
IMG_8970

The setting was so beautiful and cozy, like a library kind of room at a friend’s place with a touch of English charm and a mannish ambiance, it was so relaxing having a glass of wine there.


IMG_8984
IMG_9002
IMG_9004

When I asked the staff what time does the bar usually closes, he replied ‘it depends, last night we had 500 people and we closed at 4, normally we close around midnight, but today with a lady like you, we may close at 4 and we dont’ mind that!’ Well I didn’t make them close at 4, because I was only there till midnight for 2 hours or so…time went faster when you enjoy a nice conversation with nice people.


IMG_8998

I always insist the importance of a good breakfast marks the good beginning of a great day. Having breakfast at a gorgeous setting with the beautiful sunlight coming in, before digging into the food I was already uplifted.

IMG_9034
IMG_9043

A day cannot start properly without a glass of my favourite latte macchiato (the swiss style). I still don’t understand what is it that’s SO good.

IMG_9040

I could stay at the Bellevue Palace forever, the view, the architecture, the food, the environment, the service, the people etc…it was really every bit a palace and of top-notch standard. It really didnt want to leave but I had a train and a flight to catch…so I had to say bye to this beautiful city and this grand hotel.

Thank you SO much Bellevue Palace for allowing me to experience the imperial swiss hospitality in a palace. That just made me fall in love with Switzerland even more.

Bellevue Palace Bern
https://www.bellevue-palace.ch/de/meta/home/
reservation@bellevue-palace.ch

Kochergasse 3-5 | CH-3000 Bern 7 | +41 (0)31 320 45 45