In one of the most picturesque places in Switzerland, Mount Bürgenstock – which seems to grow out of the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Lucerne – an impressive resort has opened, Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne. Everything is unique here: the temperature, the humidity, the fabulous view, and the opportunity to enjoy recreation in the very heart of Switzerland. This is probably why the Bürgenstock Resort has always been known as a favorite bolthole for iconic celebrities: the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, Louis Barthou, the first German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren… all of them have stayed here.
In 2017, after long-lasting reconstruction work, the Bürgenstock Resort is ready to open its doors to the most discerning quests looking for privacy in their recreation and trying to avoid the fuss of urban life.
The resort comprises a total inventory of 383 rooms spread across four hotels: the Bürgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa, 5-star superior; the Palace Hotel & Conferences, 4-star superior; the Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence, a 5-star medical hotel; and the Taverne 1879, the 3-star Swiss inn. In addition, the resort boasts 67 residence suites, 12 restaurants, lounges & bars, a 10,000 square meters Alpine Spa and a wide range of leisure activities.
We discuss the unique new Bürgenstock Resort with General Manager Robert P. Herr.
– This Bürgenstock Resort is believed to be one of the most attractive places in Switzerland for recreation and rehabilitation. What is the secret of its success?
– Probably that we have carefully maintained traditions but have also moved forward and developed. We are one of the oldest hotel resorts of Switzerland, as the resort was established in 1873. It is located 900m above sea level and 450m above Lake Lucerne. Our slogan is: “The Future Has a Past”. We dream of turning this Bürgenstock Resort into a real hotel township, with far-flung recreation and rehabilitation zones, and are gradually moving forward toward that goal. While one could stay in the past resort only from April to September, now our guests can come here all year round, irrespective of the weather. Now, looking back, I can say that we have done some epic work over the course of nine years. Around 550 million Swiss francs has been invested in the project.
– There are many marvelous hotels in Switzerland, many real pearls. What is the advantage of this Bürgenstock Resort?
– There are not many places in Switzerland with such fabulous views: on one side we have the lake and on the other side the panorama of the Alps. It is the perfect place for those who want to escape from urban noise and fuss and are looking for a quiet, calming rest.
Another thing is that we offer choice. Today, the Bürgenstock Resort has hotels of different categories and our guests can choose the one which best meets their needs and desires. We have a wonderful Bürgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa, with its SPA services. We have the splendid and historic Palace Hotel and Conferences, with a view of the lakes and Alps, which is equipped with premises for holding conferences and other business events. We have the design-oriented Waldhotel, by the star architect Matteo Thun, which offers first-class medical services and treatments.
Residences await those who want to come not just for the weekend, but, for example, for a couple of months. These are spacious apartments and, despite being physically separate from the hotels, absolutely all hotel services are available to our guests there. There are three types of residences with 67 apartments. I should stress that all of them feature wonderful views of the Alps or the lakes. That is our calling card.
– Which SPA services are available to guests?
– Let us begin by saying that for all SPA procedures, we use only water from the lakes. The ‘WOW’ factor comes from the fact that they are based on traditions, which were introduced at the beginning of the 50s by the previous owner, Fritz Frey. In the 80s, he significantly expanded the range of the SPA services. We did the same: we developed the Waldhotel and created an absolutely new concept with our SPA complex, featuring a wide range of medical services oriented at guests who want to regain and boost their health. All medical SPA procedures are carried out under the supervision of a therapist.
– There are so many clinics and medical centers in Switzerland. How do you manage to withstand the competition?
– The Waldhotel is not a medical center in the purest sense, and because of that we do not view the others as competitors. The specialized medical services which are offered here are an adjunct to the nonmedical services. We strive for each guest to feel like a guest rather than a patient, irrespective of whether he/she uses our medical services.
Of course, the fact that people with serious health problems will stay with us has also been taken into account: 23 of the 160 rooms at Waldhotel are equipped for those suffering from muscle/skeleton disorders, and chronic and oncology diseases.
At Waldhotel one does not have to use only the SPA rehabilitation procedures, but can, for example, attend medical examinations with our specialists: cardiologists, gastroenterologists, orthopedists, and dentists. One can get consultations with a psychologist in order to restore one’s inner harmony, or with a dietician who will help to normalize metabolism and weight. An individual approach is practiced, and a program of adequate physical loads and healthy nutrition is prepared.
– Delicious food is an important component of a good rest. Who is responsible for the cuisine?
– In total, there are 12 restaurants, lounges & bars spread across all buildings of the Bürgenstock Resort. Our guests have the opportunity to enjoy an exceptionally rich gastronomic experience. Chefs offer different cuisines and various culinary masterpieces of Asian, Oriental, Western European, Mediterranean, Grill and Swiss cuisines. Also, there is a French restaurant for gourmets. The cuisine at a premium class hotel cannot just merely be delicious; it also has to evoke emotions.
– Today, using farmers’ produce is a la mode. Do your hotels follow this trend?
– We keep up with gastronomic trends. We cooperate with local farmers and use only ecologically pure products: eggs, milk, and meat. Our breakfast, in the form of an open buffet, mainly offers local farmers’ eco-products.
– The Bürgenstock Resort is a perfect place for holding various cultural events – festivals, exhibitions, etc. Practically, it is a ‘state within a state’, with its own traditions and rules, and its own lifestyle.
– Yes. We have developed our own museum, because this is a place with history and various materials are being stored in various archives. Despite the fact that we are based in the mountains, there are large cities nearby in which there are many creatively active people. We will hold cultural events and will participate in others: for example, the Lucerne Festival of Classical Music. We have many interesting ideas, and they will be gradually brought to life. I am sure that people will like the result.
General Manager of the Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort since the beginning of 2017. In 1994 he was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in the Science of Hotel Management at the High School for Hotel Business in Lausanne (Switzerland). In 1997 he became the holder of a Management Diploma issued by Henley Management College in Oxfordshire (Great Britain), and after continuing his studies in Henley, he was awarded a Master of Business Administration degree in 2000. From 1993 until 2003 he held different positions in the InterContinental Hotel Group in Geneva, Miami, Hamburg, Paris, New York, Vienna, Prague, Dusseldorf, Berlin and Beirut. Since 2003 he has been heading hotels as General Manager and Area General Manager for InterContinental Hotels Group.