Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort takes luxury spa hotel and resort living to new heights, as Gina Baksa discovers
Imagine a luxurious Swiss mountaintop retreat, high above Lake Lucerne, with a 10,000m² spa, dedicated wellness complex, four hotels, 12 bars and restaurants, multiple residence suites and an extensive range of leisure pursuits. This dream made manifest is the newly revitalised Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort complex near Lucerne.
Owners Katara Hospitality has invested a cool 550 million Swiss Francs in the restoration of this legendary resort, which now comprises the Bürgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa 5* superior (102 rooms and suites), the Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence 5* (160 rooms and suites), the Palace Hotel & Conferences 4* superior (108 rooms and suites) and the Taverne 1879 3* (12 rooms). In its Fifties and Sixties heyday, the Bürgenstock welcomed Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn (who married in the resort chapel), Sophia Loren and Charlie Chaplin, in addition to royalty and heads of state.
We arrive at this cliff-top Shangri-La by boat from Lucerne, docking at the Kehrsiten jetty before enjoying a vertiginous funicular ride through craggy cliffs and verdant forests almost to the summit of the Bürgenstock mountain. It all feels very James Bond, so I wasn’t surprised to find out that Sean Connery and the entire crew stayed at the Bürgenstock during the filming of Goldfinger.
Four minutes and 1,424ft later we’ve arrived at the newly revitalised resort: the Bürgenstock Hotel’s modern architecture and contemporary design a bold juxtaposition against the older-style grande dame Palace Hotel next door. Strategically, we have to walk through the Bürgenstock’s Sky Boutique to reach reception: A tempting selection of Swiss products and Bürgenstock-branded clothing and gifts. Other premium Swiss brand outlets in the resort include Longines, Swatch, Omega and the Choco Chalet.
The views out over Lake Lucerne and the sheer drop from the Bürgenberg Mountain are unforgettable. Designers MKV Design has allowed the outside world to take centre stage here.
The massive entrance lobby with its 6m-high glass walls are breathtaking; I’ve never seen such dramatic public spaces in a hotel. The views are to die for. In the centre of the lobby area is a round fireplace with seating, and desk pods at the reception. Materials are local stone and beautiful American walnut. And this vast space somehow manages to be cosy, too. A bar at one side and a sunken level with deep sofas and embracing armchairs. The earthy colour palette is simultaneously warm and sophisticated, enhanced by the fireplaces. It’s extraordinary.
Bringing the outside in is a theme that continues in the Bürgenstock Hotel’s rooms and suites. My 4th-floor eyrie looks directly over Lake Lucerne – I feel airborne, yet surprisingly grounded. The design is sophisticated and inviting: cosy padded window seat and cushions to savour this incredible view, while bronze, timber and stone textures and colours are complemented by dark walnut parquet flooring and oak cabinetry. The work area has a superb wooden slab of a desk – illuminated by cowbell pendant lighting – and UK and European sockets. There’s a spacious walk-in closet and the king-size bed is perfectly placed next to a sofa area from which to enjoy the 42-inch TV and Bose sound system. I could move in now. The soft drinks and beer in the minibar are complimentary.
Brass-meshed sliding doors separate the living area from the bathroom. And I enjoy my Bulgari amenities in a huge sunken tub that could fit an entire family, with its backdrop of Italian marble walls and oversized rain shower. There’s a gas-lit fireplace here too between the bathroom and lounge area… perfect at any time of the year to add warmth and romance.
The Bürgenstock Hotel also has a number of outstanding suites from the 785sq ft. Senior Suite to the 7297sq ft. Royal Suite. This 6-bedroom suite occupies the entire top floor of the hotel and offers guests superlative views across the lake.