Surprising Switzerland

Atlantis by Giardino

a look at Lausanne
 On Lake Geneva, the Aquatis Hotel 3*S debuted in March with 143 guest rooms and a conference center. Extensive aquatic attractions -- Aquarium/Vivarium & The Water City -- will open in 2016.

 The Hotel Royal Savoy Lausanne reopened this month after closing for a five-year renovation. The historic property, which dates from 1909, now offers 196 rooms, a ballroom that can seat 485, the restaurant Brasserie du Royal, indoor and outdoor pools, and the Spa du Royal.

From Lucerne, take a scenic boat ride to Mount Pilatus. Enjoy a group picnic at 7,000 feet.

The happiest country on earth, per the latest World Happiness Report, Switzerland is sharing the joy with a growing number of visitors. In the first half of 2015, overnight stays from the U.S. market alone rose by 6.3 percent, bolstering what is expected to be the sixth consecutive year of rising visitor numbers from the States. Meanwhile, major projects in the works throughout the country are giving meeting planners new ways to impress participants.

The Kameha Grand Zürich opened this past February in the Glattpark lake and recreation area. The lifestyle hotel offers 245 guest rooms, plus event space for up to 960 people.

At Zurich Airport, a major multi-use complex called The Circle is under construction, set to open in 2018. In addition to a medical center, a conference center, shops, restaurants and offices, the project calls for two hotels, a Hyatt Regency and a Hyatt Place, offering a combined 550 guest rooms and convention space for up to 1,500 attendees.

Atlantis by Giardino, with 95 rooms, event facilities for up to 220 guests and indoor/outdoor pools, is poised to open this December.

Visitors can get a sneak peek at the FIFA World Football Museum, set to open next spring, via an on-site showroom. Devoted to professional soccer (called football in Europe), the venue will feature colorful 3-D displays, interactive games, a collection of trophies and memorabilia, and more.

In the scenic Swiss Alps, the 148-room Ameron Mountain Hotel Davos is slated to open in December, across from the Congress Center Davos. The hotel will welcome groups of up to 175 in its two conference rooms.

Six new hotels are focal points of the Andermatt Swiss Alps resort project. The Chedi Andermatt debuted in December 2013 with 101 guest rooms and suites. In the works is a 240-room Radisson Blu, to open in 2018. The resort complex will offer a total of 844 hotel rooms, two restaurants and meeting facilities for up to 600 people. A new chairlift should be in operation for the coming ski season.

Chaplin's World: The Modern Times Museum, will celebrate all things Charlie upon open in spring 2016. Take a virtual tour of this unique venue at