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Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern 4.5

Lucerne, Switzerland

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Immaculately maintained 19th-century landmark hotel
  • Impressive list of former guests from Armstrong to Wagner
  • Elegant, modern rooms, many with beautiful lake views
  • Fine-dining restaurant in elegant surrounds
  • Chic bar with selection of cigars and rare whiskies
  • Hosts regular concerts and festivals (a con for some)
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Hotel often busy with events
  • No swimming pool
  • Gym is tiny

Bottom Line

The Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern is a 101-room, luxury landmark property overlooking the beautiful waters of Lake Lucerne in the city's charming Old Town. Family-run for five generations, the hotel also boasts a particularly impressive roll call of former guests. A 2014 renovation updated the rooms in fresh, contemporary styling but it's the lake views that really steal the show. Frequent concerts and festivals hosted on-site can be a turnoff for some, and there's no swimming pool, unlike at the nearby and also luxurious Grand Hotel National (though it's a rare amenity in Lucerne). Palace Luzern is a (typically) less expensive lakefront luxury option, but it's a bit farther from Old Town. 

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Scene

Splendid 19th-century landmark hotel with distinguished guestbook

From its grand yet understated neoclassic facade, to its patterned tile flooring, elegant molded plaster ceilings, and numerous oil paintings, marble columns, and antique objets d'art, the landmark Hotel Schweizerhof is truly quite splendid. Original features dating back to 1845 have been immaculately maintained throughout this refined property and it stands as a genuine piece of Swiss architectural and hoteling history. It has been in the Hauser family since 1861 and family-run for five generations. It's also renowned for hosting monthly music festivals and concerts, and many artists stay at the lakefront hotel. The hotel's roster of former guests is impressive and distinguished, and includes the likes of Roger Moore, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, and Neil Armstrong, as well as a roll call of politicians, kings, and emperors. 

Location

Overlooking the north end of Lake Lucerne in the city's charming Old Town

Hotel Schweizerhof is set overlooking a wide stretch of road that runs along the north end of Lake Lucerne -- the fourth largest lake in Switzerland. The hotel is in the colorful Altstadt (Old Town) of the city of Lucerne, within walking distance of plenty of charming cafes, restaurants, and bars. Across the nearby bridge that spans the river Reuss is the main train station, less than 10 minutes away on foot. There are also plenty of tourist attractions within walking distance such as Sammlung Rosengart Museum and the KKL Lucerne Culture and Congress Center, both around 10 minutes' walk. The nearest international airport is Zurich Airport, at 45 to 50 minutes' drive without traffic.

Rooms

Many of the elegant, sophisticated rooms open to balconies with superb lake and mountain views.

For such a grand hotel, it might come as a surprise there are only 101 rooms and suites. Renovations on all of these rooms were completed in 2014, resulting in a tasteful blend of smart contemporary styling and period pieces and original features. Though color palettes vary, most rooms incorporate cool grays and accents in cream, blue or purple; rooms have stylish, patterned wall-to-wall carpeting. Each room is themed to reference a distinguished guest that once stayed at the hotel; for example, there is moon-landing memorabilia in a suite once used by Neil Armstrong. Front-facing rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows that open to balconies overlooking the road (which can be a little noisy in lower-level rooms) but also the beautiful lake and snow-capped mountains beyond. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels and pay-per-view movies. While marble tile bathrooms are clean and well-maintained, they can feel a little characterless in comparison to the rest of the hotel. They all have tubs with hand-held showerheads, tiny separate walk-in showers, and bidets. 

Features

Fine dining and rare whiskies -- though no swimming pool

An extensive buffet breakfast is served (though not included) in the main Pavillon Restaurant, which features a lake views and a menu of local and international dishes for lunch and dinner. The Galerie Restaurant offers finer dining in particularly elegant surrounds and is famed for serving the best chateaubriand in the city. A chic bar also features a fine selection of cigars and rare whiskies, as well as a terrace with heaters. A bright modern spa offers massage and beauty treatments (including options for kids), as well as a sauna -- though there's no swimming pool. The gym is also very small.

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Address

Schweizerhofquai, Lucerne 6002, Switzerland

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