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Luzern, Switzerland
web: national-luzern.ch
email: info@national-luzern.ch

By Carol Weinshel, Correspondent

When one enters the five-star Grand Hotel National Lucerne located on beautiful Lake Luzern, one is quickly drawn into an atmosphere of grace and elegance and welcomed by a staff that makes visitors feel as if they are the only reason the hotel is in existence. Although open on a year-round basis, the hotel only has 95 guest rooms with an additional 25 apartment residences. The personal attention and hospitality, Grand Hotel National style, have been the hallmark since the hotel was established by Cesar Ritz and Auguste Escoffier in 1870 and its reputation seems to passed on from generation to generation.

The decor in the Grand Hotel National Lucerne is international and a favorite location for pharmaceutical conferences, banking and corporate meetings. One could understand why people return to this hotel after enjoying a meal in any of its fine restaurants offering a choice of French, Italian, Oriental and German delicacies, relaxing in the sauna, swimming in the pool or unwinding at the Piano Bar. Upon leaving the hotel, nothing could be more enjoyable than a leisurely stroll along Lake Lucerne unless, of course, more active sports are what you fancy. Then, a wide range of activities including, bicycling, rollerblading, sailing, boating, fishing, surfing, golf, tennis and squash are available upon request.

Transportation // Lucerne is about an hour's drive from the Zurich Airport in the north and a beautiful scenic drive from the Italian border. Direct fast trains are a common mode of transportation and link Lucerne to both Zurich and Geneva.

Shopping // When one thinks of Switzerland, watches and clocks immediately come to mind and Lucerne confirmed these thoughts. There was a fine selection of cuckoo clocks as well as the domed encased clocks and watches galore. Music boxes were plentiful with the charming sounds of the Swiss Alps and Edelweiss as a favorite. As for Swiss chocolate, it melts in your mouth and the taste will remain forever. For the souvenir hunter, a favorite gift was the ever-popular cowbell. One could shop in the main downtown area or stroll a little farther into Old Town, which prides itself in having wonderful restaurants, small shops and galleries.

Attractions // Besides boasting the best concert hall in all of Europe, Lucerne has a brand new Congress and Cultural Center with a seating capacity of 1800. For the most incredible view of Lucerne, the Lake and the Alps, one needs only to spend the day journeying to Mt. Pilatus, 6995 feet above sea level. From a steamer stopping at all of the little hamlets to the steepest rack railway, one arrives at Mt. Pilatus to enjoy the scenery. For those hearty souls, there is a hike to the very top and for those who find the air too thin, they will not feel as if they have missed anything of the panoramic views. Journeying down is by cable cars which offers yet another perspective of the Alps and ends up with a bus ride through the outlying towns back to the center of Lucerne. This is one of those not-to-be-missed attractions.

Festivals // To visit Lucerne in summer, one should not miss the Annual Fireworks Festival held in August along the Lake. All of the finest restaurants open their doors or set up booths, street performers including jugglers, acrobats, and musicians delight the onlookers and the Lake takes on a magical appearance at dark. What seems to be a village of boats converges on Lake Lucerne to watch the spectacular display of fireworks lasting almost a full hour.

Restaurants // With such a wide variety of restaurants at the Grand Hotel National Lucerne there is hardly reason to seek other venues. However, for those with lots of time, one can find a restaurant to meet any taste and budget just by walking through Old Town.

By Carol Weinshel, Correspondent

As part of our summer holiday, my husband and I spent one night at the Grand National Lucerne where we received royal treatment. Unbeknownst to us, we were in Lucerne for their annual fireworks extravaganza along the Lake. With a lakeside room and our own terrace we could certainly not have asked for anything more. A picture was worth a thousand words and never before had we experienced the spectacle of that evening. If that were not enough, the Concierge recommended a trip to Mt. Pilatus beginning by boat and switching to a cog railroad for a view from the top. The trip down by cable cars afforded a different perspective....yet breathtaking. The Grand Hotel National and Lucerne were one of the highlights of our European vacation.


ROOMS: 95 (25 Apartments)
CLOSEST MAJOR AIRPORT: Zurich International Airport


+41 41 419 09 09