Monday, 2 July 2018
A Luxury Trip to Lake Constance Germany–Where to Stay and Eat
If you’re a luxury lover who doesn’t want to pay top European resort prices then Lake Constance, or Bodansee as it is in German, may be the perfect answer. A little off the beaten track as compared with Lake Geneva or Como this is somewhere well worth taking a look at. Luxury, lakeside, beautiful scenery, fitness options for those who don’t want to spend the day on a sun lounger and good food await.
Travel by Eurostar to Paris and then the TGV via Strasbourg to Stuttgart and pick up a hire car (beware the stairs and escalators at Stuttgart station) or fly straight to Zurich and pick up a car there. The lake is just an hour away from Zurich and about 1 hour 40 minutes from Stuttgart.
I stayed in Konstanz which is half way down the lake right on the border of Switzerland. If you, as I did, have beautiful weather this is a really gorgeous place right on the water. There are lots of hotels in and around Konstanz (which is a larger town then you first think) and it’s not a typical tourist destination although a lot of energetic cyclists base themselves there….
There are two luxury hotels to look at in Konstanz – the first is the Hotel Steigenberger, which is part of a large chain and built in a former Dominican monastery. It sits on a tiny private island. Rooms overlooking the water are large, airy and soundproofed – which is just as well as there are loud church bells nearby, not to mention the fast train which runs literally outside the hotel. But if you’re on the water you don’t hear a thing so make sure you book lakeside.
The Steigenberger has a lovely terrace on the water where you can have breakfast, but the food in general is not that special so I suggest you move on. From a fitness point of view there is a tiny but well equipped gym. Much preferred is to put on your trainers and go for a lakeside walk or run. There is a path and cycling track right around the lake so you can literally go for miles (and hours) and most of the hotels have bikes to rent if you’re brave enough.
The alternative luxury hotel in Konstanz is the Riva. It’s a bit more expensive but you’re still not going to be paying Lausanne prices. Riva is an extremely popular 5* hotel, well appointed and with friendly and helpful staff, not to mention a rooftop swimming pool. I only looked at one of the rooms which they called a ‘Superior’ room but which was really very small. So if you want something larger make sure you know what you’re booking. Also this hotel is expanding so be careful when you book that you’re nowhere near the construction at the back of the hotel. They warn you it’ll be noisy and on my visit it surely was.
Riva is a wonderful place for dinner (or lunch) and the most luxurious hotel on the lake. Book a table on the terrace whether you’re staying there or not (book early) and expect fresh and healthy options, deliciously prepared and at a reasonable price. Riva also has a 2* Michelin Restaurant – Ophelia - which I didn’t go to but I’m sure is excellent.
Another place to eat is San Martino in the town. With 1* Michelin rating for the gourmet restaurant but lots of choices on the normal a la carte or Tapas menus you’re really spoilt for choice.
Finally I had lunch at Ikrams, a Lebanese restaurant currently on the lakeside but moving into the town. This was seriously good Lebanese food and is well worth a visit for lunch or dinner.
Two other hotels to look at if you want to stay on the lake are the Bayerisherhof, further south on the lake at Lindau and also Relais and Chateaux hotel Villino which boasts another Michelin Star plus cookery courses at certain times of the year.
As you’d imagine the best hotels get booked up fast, so book as far in advance as you can, not just for your hotel room, but for restaurants too.