Audrey Hepburn married Mel Ferrer at Lucerne’s Bürgenstock Hotel in 1954. If she were still living today, the film star and style icon would likely be more in love with the lakefront resort than ever thanks to a sweeping, $565 million mega makeover, phases of which have been rolling out since last summer. Nothing was left untouched, including the resort’s famous funicular, which transports guests from Lake Lucerne up the mountain and into the Bürgenstock Hotel’s lobby in a statement-making style that’s unmatched almost anywhere else. And that’s just the beginning. Here’s a peek inside the all-new complex.
The resort comprises a handful of hotels: The five-star Bürgenstock Hotel, the four-star Palace Hotel, the wellness-focused Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence, the cozy Taverne 1879 restaurant and inn, and the two-story, residence-style Blockhaus. Each property is uniquely styled with different travelers’ needs in mind, but the jewel in the resort’s crown is its flagship Bürgenstock Hotel. The gleaming, glass-walled hotel houses 102 guestrooms and suites across seven floors. Options abound when it comes to room and suite types: Business travelers, singles and couples will feel comfortable in a Bürgenstock Senior or Grand Suite — 785 square feet and 958 square feet, respectively — both of which are outfitted with king-size beds and rain showers. There’s a Senior Suite on each floor (Nos. 1111, 1211, 1311 and so on), and the two Grand Suites (Nos. 1101 and 1201) are located on the first and second floors. Six 942-square-foot Family Suites can each accommodate two adults and two kids and can be configured to connect with neighboring rooms. For total R&R, book one of the three Spa Suites, which are located on Floors 3, 5 and 6. They have private saunas and massage rooms, plus spacious bathrooms outfitted with double bathtubs and separate rain showers. When booking, remember that the higher the floor, the better the view.
The Palace Hotel has 102 rooms and six suites spread across six floors.
All of the hotel’s top suite offerings are, fittingly, located on its top floor. The Penthouse Suite, whose private terrace offers views of Mt. Rigi across Lake Lucerne, measures 1,820 square feet; the 3,315-square-foot Presidential Suite has in-room spa facilities and a spacious outdoor terrace; and the Royal Suite, which comprises the entire seventh floor, including two kitchens and a private library, clocks in at 7,230 square feet. All accommodations have amenities like Samsung and Bose electronics, American walnut hardwood floors and double bathtubs with panoramic views, to name just a few.
Combinations and options are many, so let Reservations Manager Bettina Lichtwald (bet [email protected]) know exactly what you’re looking for when booking, and she’ll make sure to get it right. Hotel staff predict that the busiest periods will include Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and from May through September, so book as far out as you can for a stay during those stretches.
Our September visit came just a few days before the Bürgenstock’s grand opening, so we checked in next door at the Palace Hotel instead. Note that, although the hotel is designated a four-star conference hotel, we couldn’t find anything stiff or boring about it. In fact, with natural light pouring into our smartly designed room, plus breathtaking views of Lake Lucerne and the hotel’s terrace below, we were perfectly happy to post up there.
The Bürgenstock Hotel houses 102 rooms and suites with a view of Lake Lucerne.
The six-floor Palace Hotel has 102 rooms and six suites. For the most spacious floor plan, stick to its five Palace Lake View Suites (Floors 1 through 5; 613 square feet) or its lone Palace Grand Suite (fifth floor; 860 square feet). Note, however, that while lower-category Deluxe and Executive rooms offer balconies, these suites do not.
Other lodging options at the resort include the three-star Taverne 1879, a cozy and traditional Alpine-style tavern with a 65-seat restaurant and 12 guestrooms; the private, residence-style Blockhaus, which can accommodate four adults and was renovated according to historic preservation standards; and the Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence, an architecturally stunning wellness-oriented hotel and clinical spa facility. Reservations Manager Lichtwald handles VIP room and suite bookings for all of the resort’s hotels.
In keeping with the resort’s underlying notion of abundance, dining options are also plentiful — and enjoyable. Perhaps the standout experience to be had is sitting down to dinner around the chef’s table at Spices Kitchen & Terrace inside the Bürgenstock Hotel, where you’ll watch as chefs prepare artful, Asian specialties in the restaurant’s stunning show kitchen. Ask Assistant Food & Beverage Director Dominik Stalder ([email protected]) to help secure it, and be sure to fill him in on any special occasions or celebrations. If the chef’s table is booked, don’t fret; views from the dining room are simply stunning.
During our visit, we blissed out over farm-fresh produce, pillowy pasta and a silky chocolate dessert at RitzCoffier, the casually elegant French-inspired eatery inside the Palace Hotel. Here’s a tip: Before dinner (or after, if you’re a night owl), head to the Palace Lounge & Terrace for a glass of sparkling rosé. Surrounded by regal, brocade sofas and chairs and a posh marble fireplace, you’ll feel like a star yourself. In warmer weather, views of turquoise Lake Lucerne from the terrace’s outside tables simply can’t be beat.
The RitzCoffier at the Palace Hotel is overseen by Signature Chef Marc Haeberlin and Chef de Cuisine Bertrand Charles.
When the Waldhotel opened in December, so did its restaurant, Verbena, which specializes in lighter, more healthful fare. Book a table next to one of the restaurant’s tall windows so you can enjoy views of the verdant hills as you dine. Be sure to consult Dominik Stalder, or Head Concierge Alessio Saulli ([email protected]; 011-41-416-126-018), about your dining desires so they can make the best bookings among Bürgenstock’s 10 restaurants.
No stay in Switzerland would be complete without putting in time at the spa, and nor would a stay at the Bürgenstock resort. Its new, 107,000-square-foot, indoor / outdoor Alpine Spa is the largest in central Switzerland, featuring 15 treatment rooms; three private spa suites; a 24-hour fitness area; a yoga studio; wet areas with a hammam, sauna and whirlpools; and hydrotherapy facilities. One feature you won’t want to miss is the spa’s 1,383-foot-long heated infinity pool, which wraps around two sides of the spa and offers jaw-dropping mountain and lake views.
Spa & Recreation Director Irena Staudenmaier ([email protected]; 011-41-416-126-030) oversees the facility and can assist with VIP bookings, including services in the spa’s extra-private spa suites. Ask her to recommend services based on your individual needs. We hear that any treatment incorporating Suzanne Kaufmann products delivers an authentically Alpine experience. Other product lines include La Prairie and St. Barth, so it’s impossible to go wrong.
The Alpine Spa at Bürgenstock Hotel has more than 107,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor space, which includes 15 treatment rooms, three private spa suites and a 24-hour fitness area.
For a comprehensive and immersive wellness experience, look to the newly opened, 160-room Waldhotel. It houses its own 14,000-square-foot spa, 45,000-square-foot medical facility, educational kitchens, herb gardens, three swimming pools and a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, therapist and nursing specialists. Collectively, it’s an officially accredited hospital, making it a destination for travelers and locals alike with more intensive wellness needs.
Out and About
Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort is, practically speaking, a town in and of itself, so lean on Head Concierge Saulli to help make sure you get the full experience. He can book times for you on the resort’s three Davis Cup tennis courts or its nine-hole Alpine golf course, and help map out a route along the property’s 43 miles of hiking and biking trails. If you want to hit the town, ask Saulli to assist with restaurant reservations, a private driving or walking tour of Lucerne, or a private sunset cruise around the city’s famous lake.