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March 30, 2010

Villa Kruger

Clarens, Switzerland

Clarens, Switzerland
The four-bedroom Villa Kruger is a tranquil, secluded getaway, located in this leafy suburb of Montreux, approximately one hour from the Geneva airport. The villa, built in 1874 as a residence for then South African President Paul Kruger, after whom it was named, was recently transformed into a boutique-style hotel. Curl up in an overstuffed armchair in front of the fire in the salon and wait for one of the young South African hosts to bring in, unbidden, a pot of oolong tea and a still-warm-from-the-oven slice of chocolate brandy cake; or enjoy a before-dinner drink on the veranda, which overlooks the lush garden and Lake Geneva. (It's a haven after a day spent hiking Alpine trails or taking in Montreux's Jazz Festival in the heat of early July.) Dinners consist of boldly flavored dishes inspired by the ethnic cuisine of Cape Town.

The one drawback is the decor. The designers who restored the villa used a heavy hand with swags, fringes, and furbelows. That, along with the period antiques, gilt mirrors, ornate candelabra, and Persian rugs in every room, is just too much for such intimate spaces. The best of the bedrooms is the Chambre Bleu, with a balcony where you can sip morning café au lait and watch the mist rise off the French Alps across the water. $125-$265.
Chemin du Bochet 17; 41-21-989-2110; fax 41-21-989-7439.