Lauren Gamp swaps London for a cosy retreat overlooking Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps
I step out of Lucerne station (just an hour by train from Zurich airport) and the Art Deco Hotel Montana catches my eye through a gap in the trees over Lake Lucerne. Lining the bank of the lake is a skyline of high-rise buildings, their roofs labelled with neon signs. My partner and I walk across the bridge and get a better look at the Hotel Montana, nestled in the hills, its bright yellow exterior standing out in a sea of greys and whites. The hotel maintains its prominence when night falls, too — it’s illuminated by a golden spotlight, making it impossible to miss even from the other side of the lake.
After an incredibly steep hike up the backstreets of Lucerne, we arrive only to discover we could have taken a handy funicular. However, we check in and head straight to the hotel’s Scala Restaurant for some much needed sustenance. Here, the menu has been meticulously curated with a combination of traditional ingredients and modern flair. An oxtail consomme was poured from a small gold cafetiere over a bowl of oxtail raviolini and beef tartare. If the Scala Restaurant isn’t quite private enough for your liking, you can have dinner in the Kitchen Club — a dining table overlooking the kitchen that seats up to 20 people.
Pleasantly sated after an excellent meal, we retire to our room — a Penthouse Double — on the fifth floor. The balcony overlooks Lake Lucerne and the city’s panorama, as does the bathroom, allowing you to enjoy the view from the freestanding bath. The room includes a Nespresso machine, and customisable luxuries such as a ‘pillow menu’, which can be accessed from the suite’s iPad. The two upper floors of the Art Deco Hotel Montana are part of a new ‘hotel within the hotel’ renovation. Floors five and six run as a five-star hotel, while the floors below have four-star status.
The Penthouse Spa Superior Suite can be booked for special occasions, such as the ‘Spa and the City’ pre-wedding hen stay for groups of up to eight. The suite package includes a private butler, drinks, snacks, a film menu and an in-room sauna with customisable fragrance infusions. All Penthouse Spa Superior Suite guests are also entitled to a spa treatment in the comfort of their room. For the rest of the guests, the hotel operates a day spa on the fifth floor, and though there’s no gym in the building, reception can provide you with a pass that gives you free entry to the nearby Fitnesspark Wellness Center.
The Art Deco Hotel Montana caters for more than just its hotel guests, though; it has a packed calendar of events running throughout the day and night, making it a city hotspot for all. Thursday nights are home to a jazz jam session, which has been running for over 20 years, in the Louis Bar. Entry is free, and with more than 130 Scottish classic malts, the bar houses the biggest whisky collection in Central Switzerland. If jazz isn’t for you, the rooftop bar transforms from a Miami beach club to a winter wonderland, depending on the season. It was the latter during our visit, and sipping on mulled wine while gazing down on Lucerne was a particular highlight of the trip.
Double rooms from £228 a night
Adligenswilerstrasse 22, 6002 Luzerne, Switzerland