To bring the Palace Hotel into the 21st century, the 1905 wooden building was taken down to its outer walls. During the renovation, all the original ornamental plasterwork was removed, including the monumental faux marble pillars with their classical stucco molding. Curator Joe Miller catalogued 200 paintings and historic artifacts as well as the architectural moldings and pillars and placed them all in temperature-controlled storage. Stucco marble specialists, Schüpfer und Debon AG, who restore medieval churches and historic buildings, executed the painstaking work of repairing two faux-marble pillars.
The Palace’s restaurant, Ritzcoffier, will feature classic French cuisine á la Escoffier and César Ritz, albeit lightened for contemporary palates. Interestingly, the world’s first celebrity chef and its first luxury hotelier, for whom the restaurant is named, met in Lucerne. Before going on to their triumphs at the Savoy in London and the Ritz in Paris, the two began their celebrated partnership at Lucerne’s Hotel National, where Ritz hired Escoffier to manage the kitchens.
The Ritzcoffier will immerse guests in the ambiance of a 19th century kitchen. The original fireplace from the Hotel National takes center stage. Copper pots inscribed by Escoffier hang from the ceiling, and blue and white tiles grace the walls. Schöpfer even had the presence of mind to buy the antique wooden doors of the National’s original walk-in refrigerator.
In addition to the restaurant, the Salle Palace ballroom and its foyer provide 3,552 square feet for conferences or weddings with stunning lake views. Fourteen other meeting rooms are also equipped with the latest technology.
All 108 rooms and suites of the Palace Hotel are spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows offering magnificent views of Lake Lucerne and the Alps. Ranging from 312 to 419 square feet, the rooms are warm and inviting in contemporary style with soft colors of ivory and beige and oak lining the walls and floors. Marble baths have rain showers and all rooms have the latest in intuitive technology. Low season prices begin at CHF440 (or about CAD$582) and CHF520 (or about CAD$687) in high season and include full breakfast, free Wi-Fi, VAT, service charges, spa entry and use of the resort’s funicular and boat.
“In developing our vision for the Bürgenstock Resort, our philosophy has been ‘the future has a past,’” explained Schöpfer. “Switzerland has stringent preservation laws and equally strict building codes. Every two weeks, we would meet with the planning authorities of the Canton and the commune as well as hold regular meetings with the executive council. We believe our guests will value the work and dedication that was involved in preserving our valuable architectural heritage,” Schöpfer said.
Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne
Sitting 2,800 feet above Lake Lucerne, the car-free resort includes 4 hotels with 383 rooms and suites, a healthy living centre, 12 restaurants and bars, 67 residence suites, a 10,000m2 Alpine spa, a 9-hole golf course, 3 tennis courts and a wide range of leisure activities and cultural amenities. The Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne is part of the Bürgenstock Selection – Katara Hospitality Switzerland AG. Katara Hospitality Switzerland AG is the developer and operator of the Swiss hotels on behalf of Katara Hospitality in Doha. Currently the portfolio consists of the Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne (383 rooms), the Hotel Schweizerhof in Bern (99 rooms) and the Hotel Royal Savoy Lausanne (196 rooms). The total investment volume of Katara Hospitality in Switzerland is one billion Swiss francs.