The Schweizerhof in Lucerne is a grand five-star establishment with a history spanning over 160 years, set in the heart of what is arguably Switzerland’s tourism capital and certainly one of the cultural centres of the country. Every room in this 5th generation family hotel has a story to tell. Quite literally in fact, given that each of the 101 rooms are dedicated to a celebrity guest, such as Winston Churchill, Ludwig II, Richard Wagner (who completed his opera Tristan & Isolde at the hotel), Leo Tolstoy, Queen Elizabeth II, B.B.King, Mark Twain, Neil Armstrong and James Blunt, to name a few.
It is fair to say The Schweizerhof is the place to be in Lucerne – hosting many of the local festivals and events and frequented by the organisers and stars of the events before and after the performances. But despite the reputation of the Schweizerhof, which is widely celebrated (having received, for example, the title “Best Historic Hotel Europe 2016” from Historic Hotels Worldwide), it remains remarkably unpretentious, from its design (with original floorboards and interior elements) through to its team of staff and guests. This is perhaps the ultimate charm of the Schweizerhof – you feel like you are attending a celebrity event from an earlier century in a fairy-tale location, but at the same time in the familiar comforts and friendly ambience of your own home.
GUEST EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS:
§ Visit Lucerne in style – the city hosts world-class events, including the Lucerne Festival (classical concerts throughout the year), and is frequently voted one of the most picturesque towns in the country. In fact, this year The Telegraph voted Lucerne one of the top 10 mountain towns in Europe.
§ The establishment resembles a palace with unique art pieces, glass engravings and original floorboards and frescos from 160 years ago.
§ The Schweizerhof boasts beautiful lakefront views, directly across the street from the lake.
§ Unpretentious service from a family-owned hotel (the Hauser family): Whether it is the reception (Fabienne, for example was very well-informed and welcoming), the restaurant (Celine was exceptionally efficient, helpful and knowledgeable) or elsewhere, everyone we met was genuine, unpretentious and eager to go the extra mile to ensure we had the best possible stay.
§ Gastronomy: The hotel offers a very good dining experience at Galerie & Pavillon. The spread for breakfast is impressive with a wide variety, including an entire table of delicacies from the local Lucerne region, Swiss specialities (such as a home-made bircher muesli), a range of cold meats and fish as well as warm items (hash browns, sausages, bacon, pancakes, among others), a section for Asian breakfast cuisine, a menu beyond the buffet (the omelettes were terrific) and several freshly squeezed juice options and prosecco. Lunch and dinner also offer delicious choices, above expectations, and the hotel also manages Villa Schweizerhof, a short walk along the lake, with 13 Gault-Millau points.
§ A lively bar area with live music every evening from 5-11pm.
§ Thoughtful design touches, throughout the hotel (such as musical notes featured on lines in the walls and doors).
§ An enormous, stately ballroom (Zeugheer Ballroom) with magnificent chandeliers (also available for private events).
§ Wellness Massage Menu: There is an extensive list of private massages available, featuring well-known massage styles from around the world as well as signature Swiss massages, such as the Swiss Chocolate Dream (including a full body massage with warm Swiss chocolate balm).
§ Support the local community: The Schweizerhof is very active in the community, hosting markets, local competitions for charitable causes and supporting the La Capriola Foundation (which provides high quality education and training in hospitality for underprivileged youth).
§ Stay in room 188 for a sweeping view of the Lake, town and city highlights (most of the rooms will have a lake view).
§ Visit the Villa for a delicious dinner (ask for a shuttle transfer if you wish to avoid the walk).
§ Use the “Handy” device in rooms to make free local and international calls and to browse pre-selected tips from the concierge.
§ Visit the KKL (the culture and convention centre) and attend a classical concert. Many luminary musicians regularly visit from all over the world and the concert hall has just acquired a new Steinway piano this month, so piano concerts are lined up.
§ Dine at Zu Werkstatt restaurant for an exquisitely prepared home-style set menu buffet in an informal setting. The head chef Sebastien Hensler is a remarkably talented chef.
§ Walk up to Gutsch Castle to enjoy a view over Lucerne city.
§ Enjoy a boat tour of the lake all year round.
§ Best times to visit: May & June (before the large group stays) & in November (for the last classical music events of the year). If you intend to visit in December, don’t miss the enormous Christmas market hosted in the ballrooms of the hotel.
§ Speak to the hotel manager Clemens Hunziker to discuss any requirements.