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Hotel Schweizerhof, Lucerne, Switzerland

When Queen Victoria visited in 1868 she called Lucerne the most charming city she ever visited. Little wonder it is one of the top tourist resorts in Switzerland.

The city’s magnificent natural surroundings, temperate climate, city amenities, Old World charm and easy access by road and rail continues to attract travelers from around the world.

A most convenient location

We arrived in Lucerne by train from Zurich, a journey of just under an hour. Our short walk to the 5-star Hotel Schweizerhof Luzern took us across a bridge lined with flowers to a lakefront promenade shaded by chestnut trees. The hotel is just across the road.

The best Historic Hotel in Europe

Hotel Schweizerhof was named the Best Historic Hotel in Europe by Historic Hotels Worldwide and the Best Hotel in Switzerland at the Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards.

History in every room

Built around 1845, it has been owned by the same family for five generations. Each guest room reveals something about the hotel and area’s history. Our guest room was named for Mark Twain, who wrote about his stay at the hotel in “A Holiday in Lucerne,” which is part of his book “A Tramp Abroad.”

Twain wrote about his leisurely hike up Mt. Rigi and his ide aboard a paddle steamer to the chapel where legendary hero William Tell is said to have escaped from Bailiff Gessler. That book and an 1885 bottle of Rigi kirsch were under glass on the desk.

Later, we flipped through another book called, “Where History Comes Alive.” It contained stories of each of the notable guests for whom one of the 110 rooms is dedicated. The list included royalty, celebrities, politicians, industrialists, musicians and more.

Even the hardware referenced its legacy. Doors had knobs and sensors in the shape of musical notes in tribute to Richard Wagner, who completed his opera  “Tristan and Isolde” during his stay. This is also where he met with his patron, Ludwig II of Bavaria.

Leo Tolstoy and Hans Christian Anderson also found inspiration here. Neil Armstrong chose this hotel while in Lucerne for the opening of the Aviation and Space Travel Hall in the Swiss Museum of Transport. It is Switzerland’s most popular museum.

Old World elegance with modern amenities

Additionally, this palatial hotel has an elegant bar and function rooms.

After enjoying the bountiful breakfast buffet we headed out of the Hotel Schweizerhof. The iconic Chapel Bridge was to the right. The boats we would ride later were straight ahead. For now we were just going to wander, and turned left, strolling past shops with elegant displays of designer fashions and fine antiques. The twin Gothic towers of the 17th century Hofkirche came into view. We were right in the heart of the city.

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