Image: Las Balsas Resort, Nahuel Huapi Lake, Argentina
Las Balsas Resort
Amid the sweeping splendor of Patagonia, travelers sometimes overlook the fact that the region, in addition to its jagged mountains and colossal glaciers, boasts one of the world’s most beautiful lake districts. Tucked into the shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake is the 15-room Las Balsas Resort.
By
updated 8/16/2009 12:34:40 PM ET 2009-08-16T16:34:40

Deep tranquility. Awesome stillness. Meditative beauty. Of the basic bodies of water, only lakes exemplify these soothing superlatives.

The ocean, with its crashing waves and often pulsating nightlife, can’t quite pull off the same impression. Maybe Henry David Thoreau said it best when he described lakes as “so anterior, so superior, to all the changes that are to take place on their shores, even now civil and refined, and fair as they can ever be.”

Indeed, there’s usually a unique sense of place one feels lakeside. Rather than looking out at the vast emptiness of the ocean, broken only by the line where water meets sky, many vacationers appreciate the dramatic and varied scenery beheld from the shores of many lakes.

More vacationers seem to be catching on. “We are seeing an increase in clients wanting to go to unique lakeside resorts,” says Lindsey Wallace, president of Linara Travel in Calabasas, Calif.

As with the most beautiful (and popular) beaches, there’s no shortage of luxury at the edges of the world’s most beautiful lakes. In fact, many of the world's lakeshores have long provided the most prestigious of addresses.

Italy’s Lake Como, for example, is renowned for its extravagant villas that attract celebrities and other elite vacationers from far and wide. Beyond the lake, there are often mountains, and, in the case of Lake Como, stunning Italian gardens. “You can see the gardens of the most beautiful Villas, like Melzi or Serbelloni."

Image: Adrere Amellal Resort, Lake Siwa, Egypt
F1online Digitale Bildagentur GmbH  /  Alamy
No, that’s not a mirage brought on by the nine-hour drive through the desert from Cairo. It’s Lake Siwa, a saltwater oasis that supports an ancient town built of mud-brick buildings, as well as the simply lavish Adrere Amellal resort. It’s hard to find more remote luxury than this.
Likewise, on Lake Pichola in India, guests at the Taj Lake Palace not only sleep in the 18th-century palace built by a Mewar royal, but also can take boat rides to see the numerous other magnificent palaces dotting the lake’s shore.

Of course, not all luxe lakesides have been centuries in the making. The Hotel Palafitte, which quite literally sits on Switzerland’s Lake Neuchatel (more than half of the rooms are built on stilts out in the lake), prides itself on its innovative technology. The hotel's modernity sets it apart from the medieval villages and wine vineyards that otherwise surround the lake.

The Adrere Amellal Resort, on Lake Siwa in the Egyptian desert, offers an even more remote tranquility. Located a nine-hour drive through the desert from Cairo, it would be hard to find more remote luxury than this. No electricity means candlelit evenings and extreme serenity, housed in the traditional mud-brick buildings of the region.

IImage: Post Hotel, Lake Louise, Canada
Hemis  /  Alamy
One of the few remaining historic lodges in the area, the Post Hotel keeps many visitors occupied merely with the overwhelming vistas surrounding it. For others, the fishing, skiing, hiking and boating, all within a stone’s throw of the hotel, provide a most ideal communion with nature.
Closer to home, but no less remote, is the Post Hotel in the heart of Canada's Banff National Park. One of the few remaining historic lodges in the area, the Post keeps many visitors occupied merely with the overwhelming vistas surrounding it. For others, the fishing, skiing, hiking and boating, all within a stone’s throw of the hotel, provide a most ideal communion with nature.

In fact, although Thoreau’s take on the “civil and refined” nature of lakes has its considerable merit, it can’t be denied that lakeside vacationing also generally allows unparalleled access to nature’s thrills. Tranquility and adventure wrapped into one–it’s a seemingly impossible combination made manifest.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments