From Ireland to the U.S, the world’s very best lakeside hotels, for all types of budget


Tourists have long flocked to great lakes to enjoy the waterside serenity – as well as messing about in boats, of course.

There is a sense of tranquillity that’s quite different from the pleasure of the crashing waves of a beach, and many a writer has waxed lyrical about the joys of lakeside life over the years.

Edgar Allan Poe declared: ‘So lovely was the loneliness/Of a wild lake!’ While William Wordsworth was of the opinion that ‘a lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable’.

For those after a lakeside fix, here we have selected some of the world’s very best hotels by the shimmering shores, for all types of budget…

YES PLEASE, LOUISE

Turquoise: Here we have selected some of the world¿s very best lakeside hotels, including the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel (pictured), which sits right by Lake Louise in Canada

Turquoise: Here we have selected some of the world’s very best lakeside hotels, including the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel (pictured), which sits right by Lake Louise in Canada 

Guests of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel can canoe on 'peaceful' Lake Louise in the summer months (file image)

Guests of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel can canoe on ‘peaceful’ Lake Louise in the summer months (file image)

During the summer, guests can take a canoe out on the turquoise waters of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, while in winter they can ice-skate. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, within Banff National Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is right by the shore in an isolated valley ringed by the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It’s a wonderfully peaceful place.

This large hotel — a far cry from its log cabin beginnings in 1890 — has swish rooms, a spa and a jolly restaurant/bar. A fine base for skiers and summer hikers.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £639 B&B (fairmont.com).

LIVE IT UP IN ITALY 

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni offers superb views of Lake Como from the charming village of Bellagio. This much-loved hotel, opened in 1873, has a lakeside pool in an elegant garden, plus a top-class spa. The Michelin-starred restaurant, Mistral, serves seven-course feasts.

Antique furniture features in the plush bedrooms. Guests from the past include Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Al Pacino.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £500 (villaserbelloni.com).

INDIAN WATERWORLD

Majestic: Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur featured in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy

Majestic: Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur featured in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy 

… HOW ABOUT THE COTSWOLDS?

By Oliver Thring 

A little after 6am and dawn has broken over Pond Lake. The sun is peeping, pigeons are cooing and a swan is fast asleep on the water. A young roe deer pads towards the lake. It drinks, stops, glimpses me — and dashes off.

Not a bad way to start the day. I’m staying in one of five lodges in a peaceful spot just south of Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

There are more than 160 lakes in the Cotswold Water Park. But don’t be misled by the name: there are no aquatic slides or chlorinated pools — instead, it’s a glorious spot for anglers and bird-watchers.

Half a century ago, Jurassic limestone was dug out of the surrounding landscape to make gravel for the M4. When the pits had been worked, rivers were diverted to fill them. Landowners planted reeds and willows, and nature — and tourists — swept in.

Angela Scott and her husband Simon Carnachan bought Little Horseshoe Lake —itself subdivided into Pond and Trout lakes — and the surrounding land in 2016, as what they call ‘a bit of a retirement project’.

‘The site was completely overgrown with brambles,’ Simon tells me. ‘But you don’t often get the chance to build beside a body of water like this.’

Ours is Pond Lodge, the only two-bed, complete with hot tub, open-plan kitchen and a bath which is only marginally smaller than the lake outside. It’s a place to wield your binoculars and look out for black-headed gulls, oystercatchers, coots, red-crested pochards and greylag geese. That’s good enough for me.

Taj Lake Palace on Lake Pichola in Udaipur was built by Maharana Jagat Singh II in the 1740s and used as a summer palace by the Mewar royal family and their court before becoming a hotel in 1963.

It featured in the 1983 Bond film Octopussy, and is on a little island that seems to float on the tranquil water. Expect archways, columns and lavish interior decorations. There’s a spa, plus a martini bar for reliving 007 moments, naturally.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £253 (tajhotels.com).

PERFECT IN PERU 

Lake Titicaca is located in Peru and Bolivia. It’s way up in the Andes (3,812 metres above sea level) and the water is almost mysteriously calm.

Titilaka is an 18-room design hotel with accommodation facing the water. It’s hidden on a peninsula and has a first-rate restaurant (part of the Relais & Chateaux gourmet group). Two private beaches have kayaks and paddleboards available for guests.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £1,100 (titilaka.pe).

TASMANIAN TRIUMPH 

Fishing, hiking and gazing across the water are the order of the day at the Great Lake Hotel in Tasmania. The lodge-style hotel is by the island’s Great Lake, at 1,030 metres in the Tasmanian Highlands. It has a down-to-earth feel. Cosy bedrooms have wooden walls and big windows facing the lake. Seafood chowders and steaks feature in the restaurant.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £120 (greatlakehotel.com.au).

IRISH LOUGH

George V and Ronald Reagan have stayed at Ashford Castle by Lough Corrib in County Mayo. Parts date from the 13th century, and it was once the Guinness family home. The grounds and the nearby village of Cong were the locations for the 1952 film The Quiet Man.

It’s an unashamedly traditional hotel with chandeliers, four-posters, gilded mirrors, oil paintings, antiques and plenty of turrets. There’s a fine dining restaurant and a spa, plus organised fly-fishing trips.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £760 B&B (ashfordcastle.com).

GORGEOUS GARDA 

The Michelin-starred restaurant at Italy's Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli has a great terrace with views of Lake Garda

The Michelin-starred restaurant at Italy’s Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli has a great terrace with views of Lake Garda 

Dating from 1892, Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli is a neo-Gothic villa by Lake Garda, Italy’s biggest lake.

It looks extraordinary: stripey, peach-coloured walls and faux battlements. But inside all is sophistication: parquet floors, fine art, antiques, and plush bedrooms and bathrooms. It’s a short walk to the peaceful town of Gargnano. The Michelin-starred restaurant has a great terrace with lake views.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £1,475 B&B (villafeltrinelli.com).

AMERICAN CLASSIC 

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island on America's Lake Huron is in a whitewashed hillside building with a 200-metre porch, said to be the world¿s longest

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island on America’s Lake Huron is in a whitewashed hillside building with a 200-metre porch, said to be the world’s longest

Presidential: John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie holidayed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. They're pictured above on a different holiday in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

Presidential: John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie holidayed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. They’re pictured above on a different holiday in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

Name-dropping comes easily at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island on Lake Huron, by Lake Michigan: John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, Bill Clinton and Mark Twain have all stayed. The Grand is in a whitewashed hillside building with a 200-metre porch, said to be the world’s longest. Great lake views are to be had. The tiny island’s lively High Street of restaurants and bars is close by.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £305 (grandhotel.com).

CHAPLIN AND CHANEL

Refined: The Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, a grande dame that dates from 1861, overlooks Lake Geneva

Refined: The Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, a grande dame that dates from 1861, overlooks Lake Geneva

Former famous guests at the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland, include Charlie Chaplin, Victor Hugo and Coco Chanel.

This grande dame dates from 1861 and oozes class. Its distinguished facade faces Lake Geneva, with Evian in France on the opposite shore, the Alps rising beyond. Hang out by the secluded pool, tuck into sushi at the restaurant, order a cocktail from the ‘retro-chic’ bar — and enjoy the splendid scenery.

How to book it: Doubles cost from £550 (brp.ch).

LAKELAND WINNER 

Tucked away by a fell, Linthwaite House has splendid views of Windermere. Its 36 refined rooms are decorated with modern art, and the hotel recently won top honours in the Cumbria Tourism Awards. The restaurant, Henrock, is overseen by Simon Rogan, whose flagship restaurant in nearby Cartmel, L’Enclume, has three Michelin stars.

How to book it: Doubles from £298 B&B (leeucollection.com).



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