Historic Geek-Out at The Bürgenstock Resort on Lake Lucerne

 
burgenstock-lake-lucerne
 

In case you missed it, we just returned from Switzerland, where Mark went for a business trip and I got to jump in his suitcase and ride along. Here's a fun recap of our ridiculous trip over there. 

Thursday was a day of meetings for Mark, so I signed up for the historical tour of the resort, which was flippin' amazing.

First things first. Here's how you pronounce the name of the resort: byorg-in-shtock.

They say it as if there's a bunch of thick, sticky taffy in their mouth that they're trying to work around when they say it.

I am a little bit ridiculous when it comes to history, especially in this part of the world, and especially the time period that spans the heyday of this resort: turn of the century up until around the early 1960's - probably because of the book I'm working on - so I was geeking out all over the place in this tour.

Some highlights of the tour:

The resort is a collection of three hotels, the first of which was built in 1873.

We stayed in The Palace Hotel, which was built in 1904. The other buildings gained government protection back in the day, which means that, in order to maintain historic integrity, they have very strict rules about changes they can make, as far as updating. 

Apparently The Palace wasn't all that special back then because it fell into disrepair over the years and was the only hotel building on the resort property that didn't have government protection. 

This meant that it could be completely refurbished and after it changed ownership into the hands of a Katar in 2010, that's exactly what they did, and it is stunning.

They did a fantastic job maintaining the rich, historic feel of the original, while making it feel updated and modern. They kept some of the artifacts from the original building - parts of the ceiling frescos, some of the curled iron decorative finials, for example - and they have them displayed throughout the resort in glass cases. 

There’s a small dining room that’s open for brunch on special occasions, and in the middle of that room stands a French island oven, which is from the hotel’s original kitchen and is still used today, along with the original copper pots that hang over its top.

 French island moved up from The Palace’s original downstairs kitchen. The stoves still work - in fact, they are used when this dining room is open for brunches, and the copper pots used are all original to the resort from 1904.

French island moved up from The Palace’s original downstairs kitchen. The stoves still work - in fact, they are used when this dining room is open for brunches, and the copper pots used are all original to the resort from 1904.

 Original hand-painted tile installed in 1904

Original hand-painted tile installed in 1904

We had lunch at the golf club, which isn't anything like what you’re picturing.

The Club House is exactly that: a house, built in 1928. It’s tiny, with rock walls, tiny wooden tables in a room at the back, and a stack of gray, wooly blankets by the door leading out to the patio, where we ate. 

 Our view from the golf club patio. That’s a working farm down there - everywhere you are in Lucerne, you hear cowbells! They have to keep bells on the cows so they don't lose them up in the Alps. 

Our view from the golf club patio. That’s a working farm down there - everywhere you are in Lucerne, you hear cowbells! They have to keep bells on the cows so they don't lose them up in the Alps. 

 The Golf Club, as it was built in 1928 (Photo Credit: Burgenstock Collection)

The Golf Club, as it was built in 1928 (Photo Credit: Burgenstock Collection)

 This is how the Golf Club looks now, but this photo is deceiving. It isn’t nearly as large as it looks here. Why didn’t I take my own photo? Great question. I’m a complicated little bunny. (Photo credit: Burgenstock Resort website)

This is how the Golf Club looks now, but this photo is deceiving. It isn’t nearly as large as it looks here. Why didn’t I take my own photo? Great question. I’m a complicated little bunny. (Photo credit: Burgenstock Resort website)

 This is the inside of the golf club. (Photo credit: Burgenstock Resort website)

This is the inside of the golf club. (Photo credit: Burgenstock Resort website)

 The ladies I spent my day with and toured the resort with. The lady at the left, closest to the camera, is from Quebec. The lady across from me in blue and white stripes and the lady next to me in the gray cardigan are both from Switzerland. What interesting, funny, and easy-going ladies. I had the best day!

The ladies I spent my day with and toured the resort with. The lady at the left, closest to the camera, is from Quebec. The lady across from me in blue and white stripes and the lady next to me in the gray cardigan are both from Switzerland. What interesting, funny, and easy-going ladies. I had the best day!

 Having a campari and orange juice with my lunch. 

Having a campari and orange juice with my lunch. 

 

Audrey Hepburn married at the chapel, built in 1897, right outside our window in 1954.

 The view outside our room - to the right - this is the chapel where Audrey Hepburn married her first husband in 1954.

The view outside our room - to the right - this is the chapel where Audrey Hepburn married her first husband in 1954.

 The chapel from street level

The chapel from street level

Part of the James Bond movie, Goldfinger, was filmed in Lucerne in 1964, and some of the actors and crew stayed at the resort for more than a month, including Sofia Loren, who loved it so much, she bought a small villa on the property, where she lived until the late 1960’s.

 

Mini Photo Album

In my next post, I'll tell you all about the town of Lucerne and our brief stay in Zurich.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!