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An Oasis in the Heart of Lugano – The new Splendide Royal spa as element of puristic modernism in a historical hotel building

Splendide Royal sits on the shores of Lake Lugano. Guests have been wandering its halls, enjoying the view onto the deep-blue water, and drinking champagne in the evenings for more than 100 years. Giuseppe Rossi has been gently modernising the hotel with Italian passion, turning it into a small city resort. The most recent milestone in his project: the opening of the hotel’s new spa area.

Switch and delve. This could be the motto for hotel guests walking down the corridor leading to the spa. Where there just were diligent waiters and concierges bustling about and balancing neatly arranged silver tablets or pieces of luggage, where there just was the view of the lake competing with nostalgic chandeliers and the mural paintings, all of a sudden, there is peaceful calm.

Massage Suite

Just like a gate to an oasis, a gap opens in the wall. Against the backdrop of a green wall, water springs from several fountains. The sound is evocative of the rainforest, of vacation, infinity. Rooms with large glass fronts line up along the water pool. The transition is seamless, the design straight forward and functional. The interior of the new spa area accommodates a pool, a sauna, a quiet room, and a private spa suite. Natural wood colours, dark grey granite floors, and bright white walls seem to give the water features and the green walls an aura of a tropical oasis. The La Piazetta terrace offers outdoor quiet zones looking onto the lake. In the midst of the urban buzz and the classy Italian savoir vivre of the hotel, this spa area offers calm and timelessness.

A splendid history

Giuseppe Rossi, General Manager

The early days of the hotel dates back to when the Gotthard railway was inaugurated (1882), providing a new way of crossing the Alps, a new link between north and south. The building’s façade was designed in Lombardy’s neo-classicist style, its flower patterns reminders of the Belle Epoque. In contrast, pure simplicity and straight lines dominate the new spa area. Architect Luca Gazzaniga successfully added a courageous modern element to the historical hotel building. “Our ambition was to gradually turn the hotel into a small resort,” explains Giuseppe Rossi.

In the 1970s cartoon, main character Mr. Rossi leads a dull life as a worker in a fish cannery until one day, a fairy appears and hands him whistle. The whistle allows Mr. Rossi to travel through space and time, so that he can find happiness and steer the plot towards a happy ending. Somehow, the story fits.

The modern spa area has replaced an unpopular pool within two years. The owners of the hotel invested 10 million Swiss francs to round off the portfolio of the building and prepare the historic luxury hotel for its future.

Margarethe van den Broek has been entrusted with the management of the new spa, beauty, and wellbeing area. Born in the Netherlands, she completed training as beauty specialist, physio therapist, yoga instructor, and then went on to work in her home country, on international cruise ships, on Capri, in St. Moritz, and most recently at the Castello del Sole. “We use a holistic approach to invite guests on a journey to themselves.” Special massages and treatments, combined with ideal therapies and beauty products will support and accompany them. «Our goal is to activate all senses and to let guests feel at one with their environment”. Natural products by Sothy’s and BR support the journey to the inward-bound journey. “True to our standards with regard to pureness and authenticity, we only use products that are free of preservatives, toxins, and synthetic scents,” the spa manager explains. The soft gurgle of the water accompanies my thoughts that have long wandered off, while I surrender to the gentle pressure of the massaging hands, and while my skin eagerly absorbs the fragrant oil. “A journey towards perfection,” Margarethe calls it.

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