Bellevue Palace Bern: Pillows for Heads of State
Owned by the Swiss government and serving as the official guesthouse for royalty, heads of state, and other VIP visitors to the Swiss capital of Bern, Bellevue Palace is certainly a hotel worthy of its name, which means ‘beautiful view’. Located in the same architectural ensemble as the massive Bundeshaus Swiss Parliament building and set on a bluff with commanding views of the Aare River and the snowcapped Swiss Alps beyond, Bellevue Palace is a luxurious place in laidback little city where relatively few international travellers venture. Despite the preponderance of busy businessmen and serious politicos, Bellevue Palace‘s friendly staff are not at all stuffy; goodnatured laughter seems to crop up in every interaction.
A member of the prestigious Swiss Deluxe Hotels group, Bellevue Palace provides comfortable accommodation and excellent culinary experiences at the most prestigious address in town. As a prelude to dinner in the VUE restaurant or a sunny brunch on the VUE terrace, from where spectacular views of the Alps can be enjoyed along with the meal, the hotel’s Gin Bar serves a variety of special cocktails made with rare and valuable gins from around the world (including Switzerland’s own) under the impressive glass roof of the spacious lobby. Upstairs, the various rooms and suites differ in size and configuration; naturally, those facing the river and the mountains are the most coveted. The suites with separate sitting areas in particular convey a sense of home rather than a hotel.
Bellevue Palace‘s central position makes it an ideal choice for sightseers not meeting with government officials, though the latter can be seen on tours of the Bundeshaus or even mingling at the farmers’ market that takes place in the square in front of the building. On a quiet sidestreet with little traffic, the hotel is only a few short blocks from the Zytglogge clock tower and the main thoroughfares of Bern, which is a much livelier city than its population of 140,000 would imply. Thanks to a large student population, the café, bar, and performing arts scenes are all active and diverse. The centre of Bern is a time capsule of European architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site preserving the feel of the Middle Ages. Allegorical statues decorating Renaissance-era fountains are found throughout this engaging city.