When Coppet's 18thC chateau was new, the Hotel du Lac was already old. For 350 years it has offered hospitality to travellers. Arcades and facades present a decorative face to the Grande-Rue, but the focus is the lake on the other side. Here you can swim, lie back on a sun lounger, or dine on the semi-circular curve of terrace, underneath an orange and white-striped awning. Bedrooms are large (you pay a premium for a view of the lake) but the suites are enormous. Our inspector was ready to move into one which even had a kitchen. The exposed joists of the attic ceiling are a dramatic feature, while the largest even has a private patio set into the slanting roof. He was less enthusiastic about the deep turquoise bathrooms.
  With doors the thickness of an arm and heavy wooden furniture, the atmosphere is like a gentlemen's club, particularly in the plush smoking-room and large bar with its grand piano. Inviting armchairs, pity about the piped music, was the reaction. In the restaurant, roasting is the order of the day, with the meat, poultry and fish turning on spits over the wood fire creating an almost medieval impression.