Hotel Review: Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern, Lucerne in Switzerland | Luxury Lifestyle Magazine

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Words by Brigitte Swimer

As far as locations go, the Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern has truly hit the jackpot. Perched on the shores of Lake Lucerne, the family-run hotel offers breath-taking views over the majestic waters, which are surrounded by a picture-perfect backdrop of the soaring Swiss Alps. When it comes to nature at its finest, Lucerne really is hard to beat.

The hotel itself is steeped in rich history having welcomed kings and queens, emperors and empresses, as well as some of the greatest thinkers, musicians, artists, politicians and athletes. Each room is dedicated to a famous face who stayed there, with former guests including Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, Richard Wagner, Sir Roger Moore, Neil Armstrong, Keanu Reeves and Bob Geldof, to name just a few.

With the perfect blend of historical heritage, a jaw-dropping location, outstanding first-class service and an abundance of thoughtful touches, it’s easy to see why the Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern is one of the most coveted holiday destinations in Switzerland.


hotel schweizerhof lobby
The hotel’s neoclassical architecture has been perfectly preserved since the 19th century.

Opened in 1845, the Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern was Lucerne’s first grand hotel. It has been run by five successive generations of the Hauser family since 1861, who have meticulously sustained their treasured tradition of heartfelt hospitality throughout the years.

The moment we stepped foot through the hotel’s palatial entrance, we knew we were somewhere special. Doused in grandeur and elegance, the original neoclassical architecture has been perfectly preserved since the 19th century including a colossal winding marble staircase, intricate mosaic floors and ornate moulded ceilings.

Positioned as a festival hotel, the Schweizerhof continues to cultivate its cultural heritage as the partner and organiser of a myriad of glittering occasions, with its regal ballrooms playing host to blues, jazz, rock and classical music concerts, theatre plays, dance performances and cultural events. And of course, the artists themselves can’t resist staying at the Schweizerhof too.

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The breath-taking Zeugheer ballroom is the location of many of the hotel’s legendary festivals and events. Image credit: Mischa Christene

Yet alongside its grand history and high-flying reputation, the hotel continues to exude a warm, down-to-earth charm, priding itself in ensuring guests feel comfortable and at home at all times. It does this so well that even the locals can’t resist stopping by on an almost daily basis, whether to pursue the morning papers with a coffee and croissant or to enjoy a cosy tête-à-tête over lunch.

As we made our way to the front desk, we were greeted by an exceptionally smiley team who looked just as happy to be there as we were. The employees at the hotel are true Lucerne aficionados, eager to share their knowledge and love for their hometown. As we smoothly checked in and headed up to our room, we already knew we were gearing up for an unforgettable stay in Switzerland.

Rooms and suites

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Each room is dedicated to an illustrious guest who once stayed there . Image credit: Elge Kenneweg

The hotel has 101 award-winning rooms with either a lake or city view (I’d recommend opting for a lake view), ranging from style single rooms and style or deluxe double rooms, to three choices of suites; lifestyle junior suites, lifestyle living suites and Lucerne luxury suites.

All rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with over 120 national and international channels, a coffee machine, minibar, sound-proof windows, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a daily newspaper. Some rooms also have balconies and there are options for connecting rooms too.

Our suite – a lifestyle junior suite – was dedicated to Richard Wagner, one of the world’s most revolutionary opera composers, who resided there in 1859. Whilst perusing the beautifully-written hotel storybook that had been laid out on our desk, we were stunned to discover it was within these very walls that Wagner completed his score for his famous operatic masterpiece, Tristan und Isolde.

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The hotel’s award-winning room options range from cosy single rooms to luxurious plush suites . Image credit: Elge Kenneweg

Each room also has a small glass cabinet displaying fascinating artefacts relating to its illustrious guest. Ours included an authentic note from Wagner himself, handwritten on Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern letterhead, inviting his friend Felix Draeseke for an outing to nearby Mount Pilatus. Alongside the remarkable note lay an original bottle of Grande Vieille Réserve 1818, thought to have been served by the composer during his stay.

The room itself was everything we could have wanted; incredibly spacious, well-equipped and totally spotless, with soft-as-silk white bedsheets and a pristine marble bathroom decked out in mandarin and clary sage-scented Molton Brown products.

Our suite also included a living area surrounded by large windows revealing the pièce de résistance; the magical panoramic view. Opening the curtains each morning to reveal the hypnotic Alpine skyline towering over the sun-soaked lake, with elegant paddle steamers gliding gracefully along its waters, was a true pinch-me moment.

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A flip through your room’s storybook reveals the rich history of the prestigious family-run hotel. Image credit: Elge Kenneweg

The hotel thoughtfully serves up an abundance of heart-warming touches to ensure guests have a special stay. Peckish from our journey, we were thrilled to see snacks laid out upon our arrival including little white and gold tins housing Schweizerhof cakes; a delicious recipe invented by the hotel’s pâtissier Werner Clément during the First World War.

Other thoughtful touches included an umbrella in our room with a sweet anecdote attached to it (everything at the Schweizerhof has a story to tell, even the umbrellas), while a take-home giftbag with fresh Swiss water and silky-smooth Heini Luzern chocolate put smiles on our faces at the end of our stay.

As day turned to dusk we headed out for a serene stroll along Lucerne’s famous Chapel Bridge before returning to find our beds turned down and ready to dive into, foot mats laid out atop the plush carpet, plus, much to our delight, two new little tins, this time with heart-shaped milk chocolate pralines nestled inside.

With one last gaze across the glittering lake, we drew the blackout curtains before melting into our fluffy pillows for an undisrupted eight hours of sleep.


VILLA Schweizerhof lucerne
VILLA Schweizerhof focuses primarily on regional produce and even has its own sweet-scented herb garden.

The hotel’s culinary offerings include an exceptionally enticing menu at its adjoining in-house restaurants, Galerie and Pavillon. The luxurious eateries – which offer the same cuisine but in different settings – whip up both local specialities along with delicacies from the rest of the world, whilst regularly welcoming guest chefs to tempt with their mouth-watering creations.

Meanwhile, the hotel’s picturesque VILLA Schweizerhof restaurant focuses primarily on regional produce whilst specialising in haute cuisine, and even has its own sweet-scented herb garden. VILLA Schweizerhof is idyllically located on the shores of Lake Lucerne in a beautiful manor house built in 1860, and can be reached via a 15-minute scenic lakeside walk or via the comfort of the hotel’s shuttle service.

Fresh from a stir-free night’s sleep, we made our way down the hotel’s red carpet-lined staircase to breakfast at the opulent in-house restaurant, Galerie. Bedecked with luscious fresh flowers, glistening chandeliers and crisp white table linen, Galerie is dedicated to Lewis Hamilton who once enjoyed dinner there, parking his McLaren MP4-12C in the hotel’s driveway before settling down for a bite to eat at table 21.

hotel schweizerhof galerie
The regal Galerie restaurant has hosted many glittering names including Lewis Hamilton.

As we caught sight of the brimming buffet, we couldn’t quite believe the feast that awaited us. There was every breakfast dish you could wish for; freshly-baked bread and pastries, the finest smoked salmon, wafer-thin roast beef and smoked chicken breast, traditional Swiss bircher muesli (a tasty blend of oats, nuts and grated apple soaked overnight in creamy milk and served with yoghurt), a plethora of delectable Swiss cheeses, freshly-squeezed juices and honeycomb straight from the beehive, to list just a few.

Meanwhile the hot station offered bean tomato ragout, meatballs, sausages and pancakes with maple syrup, amongst several other scrumptious offerings. And as if that wasn’t enough you can also order à la carte, from French toast to savoury omelettes with various fillings, piping hot porridge and an extensive array of hot drinks.

hotel schweizerhof pavilion
The light-bathed Pavillon restaurant offers the same delicious cuisine as Galerie, in a different setting.

Impressed with our morning banquet, we headed back to Galerie later that day to sample the four-course seasonal menu, which was packed with exquisite flavours. To begin, we were presented with the softest doughy breadsticks and a choice of flavoursome dips, followed by a delightfully refreshing amuse-bouche to whet our appetites.

Our first course swiftly followed suit; a flawless combination of fresh Lucerne char fish – which was truly delicious – bathed in a rich beurre blanc sauce with poppy mustard and decadent fried potato cream, perched atop a light radish cucumber salad.

Next up was a creamy vichyssoise soup garnished with delicate pommes allumettes and just the right amount of Lucerne summer truffle. Then for the main event; beautifully tender fillet of beef from central Switzerland drizzled with a divine blackberry sauce, accompanied by bread dumplings and chanterelles.

For dessert we indulged in fig tarte Tatin infused with balsamic of Pecoraro – served via a pipette to adjust to your liking – topped with raspberries and melt-in-the-mouth white coffee ice cream. Finally, a sweet selection of petits fours comprising mini macarons and dainty milk chocolates completed our wonderfully memorable evening.

hotel schweizerhof bar
Each of the Schweizerhof bar’s tables are inscribed with a facsimile of a handwritten guestbook entry from a famous figure.

Of course, Galerie offers plenty of other mouth-watering options too, including the hotel’s signature dish chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce, traditional Wiener schnitzel with French fries, and Lucerne’s favourite chügelipastetli; a veal and pork stew with a creamy mushroom sauce, enveloped in puff pastry.

As the evening skies descended we headed to the hotel’s bar for a nightcap, where each of the tables are inscribed with a facsimile of a guestbook entry handwritten by a famous figure including Keanu Reeves, Sir Roger Moore, Sir Christopher Lee and Kool and the Gang, amongst many others.


hotel schweizerhof sauna
The sauna entices with a beautiful view of the majestic Lake Lucerne and soaring Swiss Alps.

On the fifth floor is the hotel’s wellness and fitness area, where you can unwind in the sauna whilst admiring the entrancing view of the beautiful lake and Swiss Alps. You can also book in for a variety of relaxing massages – including a hot stone massage with genuine lava stones from Hawaii – facial treatments, and even micro-needling. There’s a small gym corner too if you fancy fitting in some cardio whilst overlooking the quaint rooftops of Lucerne’s charming old town.

The hotel doesn’t have a pool, but who needs a pool when you have Lake Lucerne on your doorstep? The lake is a swimming hot spot with both locals and holidaymakers alike enjoying a dip in its tranquil waters. The lake is very clean making it a popular vacation bathing spot in the summer months, but you’ll find locals enjoying a dip all year round.

To do

lucerne chapel bridge
The hotel’s location couldn’t be better with Lucerne’s world-famous landmarks just a stone’s throw away.

The Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern is in the beating heart of the enchanting old town and just a five-minute walk from Lucerne train station, making it the perfect spot for exploring both Lucerne itself and the wider central Switzerland area.

Nothing can quite capture the joy of meandering down the lakeside promenade on a sunny day, drinking in the glorious view. You can also sit back and relax whilst enjoying a voyage on the lake, following in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II who boarded the Stadt Luzern paddle steamer for lunch and an Alpine cruise with Prince Philip in 1980.

Lucerne’s greatest landmarks are just a stone’s throw away including the Chapel Bridge – considered to be Europe’s oldest covered bridge dating back to the 14th century – and the world-famous Lion Monument. Plus, being able to explore the city’s historic cobbled streets once the day-trippers have returned home makes things that much sweeter.

swiss alps view
The hotel is also ideally located for expeditions to the nearby mountains – a must-do when visiting Lucerne.

The hotel is also ideally located for expeditions to the nearby mountains – a must-do when visiting Lucerne. You can reach the top of Mount Pilatus in an hour via the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, or via the panorama gondolas and aerial cableway. If visiting Pilatus during the summer, don’t miss an enthralling ride down the mountainside on Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run (so good you’ll want to do it twice).

Both Mount Rigi and Mount Titlis are also easily accessible and absolutely worth ticking off your bucket list for their spectacular vistas (there’s even a spa on Mount Rigi).

There’s also a golf course near the hotel, along with a plethora of shopping boutiques.

Alternatively, you can hop on a train to explore nearby cities like Zürich, Bern and Basel, which are each roughly one hour away via direct train from Lucerne station.

In a nutshell

With the mesmerising Lake Lucerne, captivating Swiss Alps and quaint old town on its doorstep, an impressive list of prestigious former guests, immaculate rooms and truly impeccable service, the family-run Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern is a true gem in the heart of Switzerland. As we checked out, I felt a wistful tug at my heartstrings, as if I was leaving home. To quote Sir Winston Churchill: “The Schweizerhof is a magnificent hotel”.


Getting there

Zürich airport is 65km away, from which the hotel can easily be reached via direct train in approximately one hour 20 minutes. The hotel is a five-minute walk from Lucerne train station across Seebrücke bridge. Alternatively, public parking with direct hotel access is available for a supplement if travelling by car.

Prices at the Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern start from CHF 265 for single rooms and CHF 325 for double rooms.

Address: Schweizerhofquai, CH-6002 Luzern, Switzerland

Phone: +41 (0)41 410 0 410



Hotel photography courtesy of the Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern

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