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The Good Life

The Grand Hotel Le Trois Rois, Basel, Switzerland

By Jonny McCormick | From Paul Giamatti, May/June 2019
The Grand Hotel Le Trois Rois, Basel, Switzerland

For some three centuries, Le Trois Rois has offered travelers a slice of Old European luxury on the banks of the Rhine. Named for Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, the Three Kings offers a level of accommodation that the magi wouldn’t ever have contemplated during their trek to see a boy in manger.

The hotel’s hospitality has been enjoyed by the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte, Queen Elizabeth II, Pablo Picasso, the Empress of Japan, Duke Ellington, The Rolling Stones, Charles Dickens, Jean Paul Sartre and the Dalai Lama. But the less celebrated among us will also treasure this palace of delights for its sybaritic offerings: fine wine and liquor, heavenly cuisine and a dedicated cigar lounge.

Chef du Bar Thomas Huhn mixes The Vesper, Knob Creek Old Fashioned and Negronis in the elegant Bar Les Trois Rois. At Cheval Blanc, Chef Peter Knogl’s cooking will convince you why it was awarded three Michelin stars for its sense of French haute cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian influences. After dinner, choose a digestif from a judicious selection of more than 100 whiskies. Huhn certainly knows his spirits, exhibiting astute choices from select independent whiskey bottlers and Japanese rarities, side by side with Richard Hennessy Cognac and a magnum of the Rémy Martin Black Pearl.

Take your selection downstairs to the hotel’s spacious Salon du Cigare. Next to the tidy bar is a walk-in humidor filled with 135 selections. Browse the full range from the bar’s touch-screen TV cigar menu or by iPad from the comfort of your leather armchair. The tobacco is predominantly Cuban, but balanced with sections dedicated to smokes from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras. Reward yourself with a Montecristo No. 2 Gran Reserva or a Cohiba 1966 Edición Limitada 2011. Its atmosphere is relaxed and clubby with dark wooden bookcases filled with heavy tomes and portraiture. In the summertime, guests can take their time over their cigar on the outside terrace.

The hotel has been sympathetically restored after a refurbishment in 2006 that ensured that the 101 rooms and suites (starting at $660) retain their period charm while adding the subtle touches of modernity and luxury expected by a discerning clientele. The Suite Les Trois Rois is decorated in an Art Deco style and offers a private rooftop hot tub with unparalleled views over the medieval Old Town—and yet another opportunity to enjoy a fine cigar. Visit lestroisrois.com

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