Sitting at the cross roads between France, Germany and Switzerland- Basel is a chic cultural hub straddling the Rhine. Every year art lovers flock to the city for the famous ART Basel, but there is so much more to the city than paint and canvas. Over in Greater Basel you can waltz around cobbled streets dipping in boutiques and admiring the impressive lofty architecture. Down in Little Basel and its all about delectable dining with a local feel. For those touching down in Switzerland’s first port of call here’s how you make the best of beautiful Basel…
Where to Stay
The star of the show on Basel’s curiously simple hotel scene has to be Le Trois Rois. Flamboyant in nature and adorned in ruby red velvet drapes, this is the place to don those diamonds and sit with a stiff drink in the bar. Belle Epoque in every way, you can expect the works with its marble lobby, ceiling frescoes and river front rooms filled with fresh roses and Chopard clocks. A three-star Michelin restaurant also sits downstairs studded with throne style chairs.
Der Teufelhof Basel offers a new cultured take on the hotel scene – having been declared as one of the world’s first art themed places to stay. A beautiful boutique hotel sitting prettily in the leafy old town, the 18th century townhouses are more gallery than glitzy hotel. Something that is very fresh and welcome. Huge canvases adorn white walls, rooms are chic with a hint of mischief and the onsite wine shop with close to 500 bottles and German theater make this place stand out.
Nomad is one of those hotels that will appeal to lovers of brutalist architecture but may leave softer palates wrinkling their nose at the soaring concrete. However, step inside and marvel at how the heaviness of architectural style has been softened by pale oak, lashings of sun-soaked skylights, and spring flowers. Cool and hip service set the scene for a sumptuous boutique hotel – with all the mod cons like rainfall showers, sink down box spring beds and locally brewed beer.
Where to Dine
For dining head back to Les Trois Rois where the Cheval Blanc will tempt and treat you time and time again. The award-winning Michelin star restaurant is worth its weight in every accolade, offering seasonal success surrounded by diamond chandeliers, white linen and swish curtains to drown out the excited murmurs. Wine lovers will swoon over the rare names whispered by the sommelier and with the Rhine flowing outside your window you couldn’t ask for more.
Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, Volkhaus is one of those light filled brasseries you could linger in all day. Wooden tables, dangling lights, and mirrors to throw out even more sun – the food is good and the ambience utterly relaxed. The summer garden is a romantic place to sprawl with a chilled bottle, and the cozy interior perfect for catching the plethora of concerts and shows the Volkhaus likes to host.
Where to Play
Those seeking high-quality cuts and soothing materials from some of Europe’s top designers can head for the sparse rails of Riviera. The little gem of a boutique is ran by Andrea Otto Knop who makes it her business to track down underground designers and bring their beautiful wares to the surface.
Claudia Gudel is another fashion designer worth tracking down, her garage studio can be found Kleinbasel where you may even meet the designer herself. Her minimalist designs are all about the grace and beauty of functional natural fibers.
If you have tired of gazing at art and architecture, then the Kuppel club will allow you to blow off some steam. The most popular club in town offers evenings with styles to suit all tastes. Live gigs, international DJs, and a hip and friendly crowd make it worth swinging by after a second bottle of champagne.