When travelers eager for tranquil settings and waterfront views are planning their vacations, lakes often get overlooked in favor of cruises and oceanview hotel rooms. Don't make the same mistake! There are many lakes around the world that are as--or more!--beautiful than some of Earth's most picturesque oceanic beaches. Whether you're eager to head to the Russian tundra or the South American mountain ranges, there are beautiful and remote lakes that are worth trying to see at least once in your life.
Below, we've curated ten of the most beautiful lakefront hotels around the world. Add one--or all of them!--to your travel bucket list.
10 Dead Sea, Jordan: Kempinski Hotel Ishtar
Kempinski Hotel’s website opens with, “Welcome to the lowest point on Earth,” and there’s a lot of truth to that promise. The edge of the famous Dead Sea is 434 meters below sea level. The hotel is an ode to the hanging gardens of Babel—they have a private sandy beach, luxurious secret enclaves hidden amidst verdant gardens dotted with lagoons, waterfalls, and swimming pools.
Ishtar is the goddess of love, so this is a perfect retreat for honeymooners or people celebrating an anniversary. Nevertheless, the hotel welcome families and adventurers of all kinds. Enjoy the luxurious spa or take in the sun at one of the 9 pools that overlook the salty lake.
9 Glencoe Lochan, Scotland, UK: Ballachulish Hotel
In the Scottish Highlands, The Ballachulish Hotel sits right on the divide Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe. The architecture is an interesting mix of ecclesiastical gothic and Scots baronial, probably inspired by the Highlands themselves. While away the hours with friends over afternoon tea, or take a hike on the three-mile track around the Glencoe Lochan. You can take pontoons out onto the water as well. From here you’re close to the Glenfinnan Viaduct, as well as the Hidden Valley of Glencoe.
The hotel also allows two small dogs per room and has a beautiful lakeside restaurant that must be dined in to be believed.
8 Lake Pehoé, Chile: Explora Patagonia Hotel
Deep in the center of Torres del Paine National Park resides explora Patagonia. The hotel is in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means much the land is protected and pristine. The hotel is still luxurious and built around the essential luxuries.
The explora Patagonia hotel is right on the shores of Lake Pehoé. From the hotel are breathtaking views fo the ridges and granite towers that surround the area. Take in the scenery the gaucho way—on horeseback. The hotel has its own stable of horses that is overseen by a highly respected horse veterinarian. At the end of the ride, return to the hotel for one of their spa packages or to meet up with friends at the bar.
7 Lake Baikal, Russia: Legend of Baikal Hotel
Lake Baikal is is the Earth’s deepest lake and our most ancient freshwater lake. It formed over 20 million years ago and holds over 20% of Earth’s fresh water. It’s also one of the clearest and purest bodies of water, and on good days visitors can see almost 40 meters down into the lake. When it freezes over in the winter, breathtaking cracks will form in the ice and methane bubbles will slowly rise from the bottom, which visitors can see happening. When the ice doesn’t crack, it almost looks like walking on air.
Staying at the Legend of the Baikal Hotel is a treat. There are patios so you can eat lakeside, and the staff will help plan excursions around the area.
6 Lake Como, Italy: Grand Hotel Tremezzo
This architectural masterpiece in the Art Nouveau style sits on the western bank of Lake Como. The crystal blue waters extend from the banks toward the picturesque Grigne Mountains. Retreat to the lakeside private beach to really enjoy the view, or pass the time at one of the three pools.
The rooms and suites are all a lavish extension of the sumptuous design of the building and the public lobbies. Naturally, there’s also a spa in the hotel, and the concierge can also organize any of a long list of artistic, cultural, gastronomic, and natural adventures. The lake excursion is a must, or learn with an easel and paints while looking over the lake.
5 Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe
The Hyatt Regency resort, spa, and casino is a luxurious vacation any season of the year. Start your trip with a free glass of champagne at check in, then enjoy the hotel’s private beach right on Lake Tahoe. There’s babysitting available and activities to keep kids amused, as well as miles of winding trails for everyone to explore.
Lake Tahoe is famous for the way it shimmers in shades of cobalt and teal. In some places it’s possible to see clearly down quite deep, giving swimmers the illusion that they’re swimming through air. Head toward Emerald Bay on the south side of the lake for the most beautiful vistas.
4 Lake Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland: Beau-Rivage Palace
The regal Beau-Rivage Palace has been hosting artists, royal families, and foreign dignitaries since 1861. The main facade remains the same, but all the rooms were updated from 2012-2014 by renowned interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. Today, the hotel proves that tradition and modernity can blend together perfectly.
The Palace is nestled in a perfect spot of natural wonder. Guests can easily enjoy the view over the lake that provides a sense of serenity beyond time. It is also situated just 10 minutes from the center of Lausanne, which has a vibrant culture. The garden and famous Cinq Mondes spa are the perfect places to recharge.
3 Lake Pichola, Udaipur, India: The Oberoi Udaiviläs
It would be impossible to have a list of the best lakeside hotels without at least one from the City of Lakes, Udaipur. The Oberoi Udaiviläs is the luxury resort to top all luxury resorts. It is situated right on the bank of Lake Pichola, an outstanding freshwater lake forced in 1362. It rests on over 30 acres of gardens and interconnected domes and corridors. The featured experiences include sunrise boat rides to see the lake at its serene best, catered lunch cruises on the lake, three-hour long massages, painting school, and of course, a tour of the city by boat. It is absolutely picturesque.
2 Lake Victoria, Tanzania: Rubondo Island Camp
In the southwest corner of Lake Victoria is Rubondo Island, a place almost untouched by man. The eco friendly Rubondo Island Camp is the only lodgings on the verdant island, and guests who stay in one of the eight beautiful cottages are immersed in an unspoiled ecosystem. The lake teems with hippos, crocodiles, and the famous Nile perch, and the island is a beautiful example of pristine and indigenous rainforest.
This luxurious glamping experience is a unique experience for birder lovers and fishers. The island offers catch-and-release Nile perch fishing, as well as forest hikes and canoe safaris. It’s a unique chance to look for wild chimpanzee in their natural habitat.
1 Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand: Matakauri Lodge
It’s no surprise that this resort on the banks of Lake Wakatipu has been named one of the top five resorts in Australia and New Zealand. The resort is perfectly situated right on Lake Wakatipu for a panorama view of the big three: The Remarkables mountains, Cecil Peak, and Walter Peak. Get the best look at your locale with the helicopter tour that the lodge can help you book, then take a photography tour to see how the best get their photos.
Amazingly, this serene retreat is only seven minutes from Queenstown. There are also many wineries around that are absolutely worth exploring.