Picture: A formerly Swiss Grand Hotel waiting for better times.
Members of the famous Guggenheim family (who were Swiss emigrants) stayed at the Hotel Bürgenstock. Sophia Loren stayed there, so did Indira Gandhi, Konrad Adenauer and Sean Connery. Jimmy Carter also stayed there, so did Shirley McLaine, Charley Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn, Rod Stewart, Kofi Annan as well as Thai princesses.
The Bürgenstock Hotel, or more group of hotels, belonged to the aura of Swiss Grand Hotels. With its breath-taking location high above Lake of Lucerne with the majestic mountain Rigi in its back., it attracted crowds. Today only one of the several hotel buildings are still open. The hotel was opened in 1873 and has its own funicular, spa, several hotel buildings and even a free-standing elevator that covers the 500m difference in height with a speed of 3m/s (the elevator featured in a James Bond movie). Today, only one hotel building is still in use while the others are slowly falling apart. Nowadays the hotels belong to a Quatari investor group that plans to redevelop the hotel for 300m francs. Construction should start in 2012 and should be finished by 2014, this at least according to a pre-financial crisis plan.
The hotel is still worth a visit, not only for the spectacular view of Lake Lucerne and the alps, but also for its old-fashioned but very classy Tintoretto Restaurant (try the Chateau Briand beef).
For more information on the hotel, click here: https://www.buergenstock-hotels.ch/