Gemütlichkeit's "Hotel of the Year" for 1995, Hotel-Restaurant de L'Ermitage, in Vufflens-le-Chateau on Switzerland's Lac Léman, is the kind of small, luxurious inn that seems unique to Europe; with gracious service that is attentive to the smallest detail; a kitchen that produces memorable dish after memorable dish; sleep-inducing guestrooms you never want to leave; all in a tweedy, riding-to-hounds country setting. It was an easy choice.

L'Ermitage is the stuff of glossy travel magazines, of films set in Europe, and of dreams. But such rapture, particularly in Switzerland, comes at a price. Figure $175 to $400 per person per day for room, breakfast and dinner, depending on the season and one's ability to maintain control in the restaurant. And those who create a few empty slots in owner/chef Bernard Ravet's wine cellar will rack up even higher numbers.

Still, for a special occasion, or to put a fine finish on a European vacation (it's less than an hour from the Geneva Airport), a couple of days at L'Ermitage will be two you will always remember.

Top Hotel Value of 1995

This year, the strength of the Swiss franc drove prices for North American travelers in Switzerland to new heights and made scarce reasonably priced hotels. Thus it was a pleasant surprise to come across the Hotel de la Courrone, located in the center of Morges, a busy, interesting town on the shore of Lac Léman.

Part of the MinOtel marketing group, the Courrone offered double rooms last summer through the MinOtel reservation service (800-336-4668) for $118 per night, a great bargain for Switzerland.

Our April 1995 issue bestowed an "editor's choice" designation on the Courrone and it would be a fine headquarters from which to explore this part of Switzerland. It is also convenient to the Geneva Airport.

Gemütlichkeit's Top Hotels 1987-1995

Hotel-Restaurant de L'Ermitage
* Vufflens-le-Château, CH-1134 Switzerland, phone 021/802 2191, fax 021/802 2240.

Pension Altstadt
* Kirchengasse 41, Vienna A-1070, Austria, phone 1/526 33 99-0, fax 1/523 49 01

Hotel Victoria Jungfrau
* Interlaken, CH-3800 Switzerland, phone 036/271111, fax 036/273737

Hotel Grüner Baum
* Kotschachtal, Badgastein A-5640 Austria, phone 06434 25 160, fax 06434 25 16 125

Hotel Geiger
* Stanggass, Berchtesgaden D-83471 Germany, phone 08652/96 55 55, fax 08652/965400

Hotel Beau Rivage Palace
* Ouchy CH-1006 Switzerland, phone 021/26 38 31, fax 021/27-78-78

• Hotel Abtei
* Abteistrasse 14, Hamburg D-20149 Germany, phone 040/4495 95, fax 040/449820

Schloss Haunsperg
* Oberalm bei Hallein, A-5411 Austria, phone 06245/80662, fax 06245/80680

Hotel Römischer Kaiser
* Annagasse 16, Vienna A-1015 Austria, phone 1/512 77 51-0, fax 1/512 77 51/13

Hotel Benen Diken Hof
* Suederstrasse, Sylt Ost D-25980 Germany, phone 04651/3 10 35, fax 04651/358 35

November 1999