The Big Six: Swiss Design Hotels

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The Dolder Grand, Zurich

This 110-year old health spa overlooking Lake Zurich was taken by the horns by Foster+Partners and reopened as a swanky "city resort" last year. The streamlined, hi-tech rooms overlook either the forest below or the sparkling lake beyond, while there's an enormous spa with water therapies galore, a snow room and outdoor hot tubs. The signature suites include a Rolling Stones-themed Sixties pad and the Giacommeti-inspired Carezza Suite.

The Dolder Grand Hotel, 65 Kurhausstrasse, Zurich (00 41 44 456 6000; Doubles start at Sfr870 (£506), room only.

La Réserve, Geneva

Residing on the banks of Lake Geneva in a northerly suburb of the city, this chic hotel takes the rather unlikely theme of safari as its design premise. An elephant sculpture sits by the fireplace in the lobby while animal prints and topiary abound inside and out. The spa is another world altogether, with ethereal jellyfish lamps and studded white leather armchairs. A Venetian motoscafo whisks guests across the lake into the city during the summer months, while the Alps are easily reached for winter sports.

La Réserve, 301 route de Lausanne, Bellevue, Geneva (00 41 22 959 5959; Doubles start at Sfr520 (£303), including breakfast.

Nevaï Hotel, Verbier

The name of this chic mountain hotel is taken from the ancient local dialect for snow, but its style is far from antiquated. Rooms are clean-lined and spacious with Alpine views and there's a bar with a modish 4m fireplace, sunken sofas and a DJ.

Nevaï Hotel, 55 rue de Verbier, Verbier (00 41 27 775 4000; Doubles start at Sfr375 (£218), including breakfast.

The Hotel, Lucerne

Designer Jean Nouvel has created an homage to the silver screen at what is simply The Hotel. Each room features film stills suspended on the ceiling (the accompanying DVD of the movie is provided) and masculine, angular design.

The Hotel, 14 Sempacherstrasse, Lucerne (00 41 41 226 8686; Doubles start at Sfr370 (£215), room only.

Hotel Palafitte, Neuchâtel

The Hotel Palafitte wouldn't look out of place in the Maldives. Making the most of its waterside location, the collection of timber-clad, self-contained suites line the shore and are perched above Lake Neuchâtel on stilts. Each is smartly decked out in contemporary, fluid style – spacious bathrooms open up to the bedrooms and an abundance of glass and mirrors enhance the views of the lake and Jura mountains beyond. The over-water suites also have terraces where meals can be served and ladders leading into the water.

Hotel Palafitte, 2 route des Gouttes d'Or, Monruz, Neuchâtel (00 41 32 723 0202; Doubles start at Sfr395 (£230), room only.

Tschuggen Grand Hotel, Arosa

This Alpine ski hotel recently widened its appeal by opening its doors during the summer. A big draw is the spa, which can be seen from outside through giant dormer windows that sprout from the building like glass sails.

Tschuggen Grand Hotel, Sonnenbergstrasse, Arosa, Graubünden (00 41 81 378 9999; Doubles start at Sfr365 (£212), including breakfast.