It is no wonder that Annecy has been dubbed the “Pearl of French Alps”. Situated at the northern tip of the picturesque Lake Annecy and overlooking the majestic peaks of the French Alps, this city would already be a marvelous base to tour the scenic region. Yet it has its own sublime charms, with medieval castles, cobbled streets, and canals lined with cafes, all enticing you to stay a few days to take it all in. And what better to complement your stay than the rejuvenating spas that many of Annecy’s hotels provide? Here are 10 great options for hotels with spas in and around this alluring city.
Lake Annecy is the third largest lake in France and is reputed to be Europe’s cleanest lake, because of strict environmental regulations introduced in the 1960s. As such, it is a popular destination for swimming and water sports. To appreciate the spectacular vistas of the lake, there is no better accommodation in Annecy than the Imperial Palace, an iconic hotel right on the banks of the lake. Amid its majestic “Belle Epoque” facade and picturesque setting, you can enjoy fine French cuisine at the gastronomic restaurant, or bask in its 600-square-meter on-site spa which includes a swimming pool, a sauna, a hammam, a spa bath, and private treatment rooms. A truly luxurious experience awaits.
You arrive at Annecy, your jaws drop at the stunning natural beauty of the lake and its surrounding mountains, and you immediately set out to explore the countryside. That’s all fine, but do not forget about the city itself, which has retained many of its pretty medieval-era buildings along the river canal system right at the city center. They surround the Palais d'Isle, a 12th-century former palace-turned-prison situated on a small isle between the canals, and you can wander about the narrow streets or sit around the cafes by the river banks. This hotel is located just outside the old town of Annecy, and has a superb on-site spa and fitness center that features a sauna, a Turkish bath, four hot tub pools, and a waterfall shower.
Besides the Palais d'Isle, the other major attraction in Annecy is the Chateau d'Annecy, a restored medieval castle-cum-museum housing regional sculptures and paintings along with contemporary art. The castle also houses the Regional Alpine Lakes Observatory, where you can enjoy great views of the city and the lake. The castle is right next to the old town, where this lovely apartment hotel is located. It offers cozy beds, a well-equipped kitchen, and access to a spa center. A bicycle rental service is available, so you can ride along those narrow cobbled streets around the canals.
With such picturesque scenery and tranquil waters, Lake Annecy practically invites luxurious resorts to be built along its shores. This accommodation is a superb example, located just a five-minute drive from the city center. Its rooms are decorated with a modern collection of large Art Nouveau portraits, and those facing the lake have balconies to soak up the beautiful vistas. You can also enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings at its fine-dining restaurant, which offers French cuisine prepared with local produce. Finally, take the chance to pamper yourself at the resort’s spa and wellness center, with facilities such as a balneotherapy pool, massage stations, a Moorish-style hammam, and a Scandinavian sauna.
All along Annecy’s lakefront are boat rental companies offering half to full-day trips around Lake Annecy. You can make use of these trips to explore the pleasant small towns by the lakes, or you can try waterskiing or wakeboarding on the waters. Some companies even offer day trips to other lakes in the region. This no-frills hotel offers accommodation at a decent price a couple of miles away from the city center. The rooms are comfortable and there is a spa room which you can book for personal sessions and enjoy moments of privacy.
If you wish to spend a summer vacation in Annecy, time your trip to coincide with the marvelous Annecy International Animated Film Festival, a six-day treat usually held in June. Created in 1960 and held annually since 1998, the festival showcases cartoon films of various techniques from all over the world and screens them in an open-air night projection at a city park with the lake and mountains as their backdrop. This modern hotel is right in the heart of the city near the park and boasts cozy rooms, as well as a relaxation area with a hot tub and a sauna.
Lake Annecy has towns all along its shores, and with the mountainous landscape of the French Alps in the background, many of these towns have practically picture-perfect settings. The small town of Talloires, about 13 kilometers (8 miles) from Annecy, is situated along a bay in the east side of the lake. It is a popular tourist destination with its sublime scenery, medieval buildings, and summer sports activities such as hiking, paragliding, and horseback riding. There are quite a few hotel accommodations in the town, but this one stands out for its prime location by the lake as well as its elegant, luxurious amenities. Indulge in its plush guestrooms that offer lake or mountain views, and treat yourself to a sumptuous meal in the hotel’s on-site gastronomic restaurants on shaded terraces. While you’re at it, don’t miss out on the spa wellness centers with massage rooms, as well as the outdoor swimming pools.
West of Annecy is an agricultural region of France dotted with rural towns along its low plains. The major products are dairy, butter, and tobacco. Some towns have specialty trades, such as the shoe-making industry in Alby-sur-Cheran, about a 20-minute drive from Annecy. The town even has a quaint shoe-making museum, just one of the many unique charms around the region. This intimate hotel is a five-minute drive from Alby-sur-Cheran and has all the amenities to cater to your relaxation needs. Check out its spa and wellness facilities, which include an outdoor pool with a solarium, an indoor hot tub, a sauna, and even body/face sculpting rooms.
This is another gorgeous accommodation by the lake in the town of Talloires. Set in a century-old abbey, it has hosted notable people such as Mark Twain and Jean Reno, and features a grand gallery, as well as its own pontoon with a private hotel boat. The rooms offer great views of the lake or mountainside and the two on-site restaurants serve contemporary cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean flavor. Don’t forget to check out the hotel’s spa and wellness offerings such as massage treatments, a hot tub, and a sauna.
Come winter, and the French Alps region is transformed into a winter sports wonderland. There are loads of skiing areas along the numerous peaks, and they are easily accessible from Annecy. This environment award-winning hotel is located in the Argonay commune just north of Annecy, and is about a 30-minute drive to famous ski towns like La Clusaz and Le Grand Bornand. Enjoy the warm atmosphere of a chalet in the Alps at the accommodation, and relish great views of the mountain range. After a tiring day of skiing, you will appreciate the hot tub and massage treatments offered at the on-site spa center.
Be dazzled by scenic vistas
Whether you are going in the summer or winter, you will be dazzled by the spectacular vistas around Lake Annecy and the French Alps. You can enjoy a slew of adrenaline-pumping activities such as hiking, skiing, paragliding, and horse-riding. Or you can unwind among the unhurried pace of life in rural France, sailing along the lake or simply enjoying a meal by the shore. Annecy has all the ingredients for an exceptional holiday, and these hotels offer great comfort and relaxation with their spa services.
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