The Quintessential Alpine Movie Set
Nabbing a terraced room with a lake view is crucial, though guests might wonder if the Park Hotel Vitznau is nothing more than a stage set the general manager strikes at the end of each idyllic day.
The elegant Belle Epoque hotel’s immaculately tended lawns reach right down to the shimmering edge of the gorgeous Lake Lucerne (whose German name is Vierwaldstättersee, the Lake of the Four Forest Cantons). Three full-time gardeners make the hotel’s flower-filled grounds one of its most attractive attributes.
Since opening in 1902, the lavish Park Hotel has been the stronghold of the tiny lake-front community of Vitznau on the Lucerne Riviera. Its towering neighbor Mount Rigi is mirrored in the calm waters of the lake, and the climax of many a traveler’s visit to the area is watching the sun rise over the Alps from the mountain’s 5,896-foot summit. Many say it is Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain view.
Built in 1871, the cog railway to Rigi-Kulm is Europe’s oldest, one of many railways and aerial tramways that string the surrounding mountains permitting similar views. But most guests have a hard time budging from the hotel’s lakefront sun terrace or, when hunger beckons, the open-air terrace of the hotel’s well-known Quatre Cantons restaurant. Its French menu often includes perfectly prepared fish plucked that morning from the lake.