Sometimes luxury hotels are more fun for adults than for the kids, especially if the property’s main features include ornate furniture, formal dining and stuffy staff. Luckily, none of this applies to Switzerland’s new, 5-star Burgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne, which not only offers plenty of family-friendly amenities, but getting there is half the fun.
The resort itself is perched on a ridge overlooking Lake Lucerne, and, as of May, families can get to Kehrsiten, the terminus at the foot of the resort, from the city of Lucerne via a brand-new $6 million, state-of-the-art catamaran.
The catamaran makes the scenic trip in only 25 minutes and runs hourly from 6 a.m. to midnight — a huge improvement from the previous water transportation options, which took about 40 minutes and departed only about a dozen times a day from Lucerne.
The new 121-foot-long hybrid vessel runs on electricity and diesel, can accommodate 300 passengers on two desks with interior and exterior seating and will run year-round.
Once guests arrive at the dock below the resort, they are whisked 1,630 feet up to the resort on a modern, electric funicular www.sbb.ch/en.
The original funicular, commissioned in 1886 by Franz Josef Bucher-Durrer and Josef Durrer, the original owners of the resort, has been updated over the years and the newest electro-mechanical version was installed in 2016.
The $15 million, 3,097-foot-long railway operates in all weather conditions and follows the same route as the original but at three times the speed (10 feet per second) and twice the passenger capacity of up to 80 passengers.
Families arriving in cold weather months can wait for the funicular in a new heated waiting room in the lower terminus, which also houses a small museum showcasing artifacts about the resort, the original funicular vehicles, vintage suitcases and other travel exhibits.
Finally, once you’ve had a chance to settle in, you can hop on board yet another conveyance — this one is the Hammetschwand Lift, Europe’s tallest outdoor elevator at more than 538 feet.
Created 1903–1905 during the Belle Epoque, the Hammetschwand Lift was the continent’s fastest elevator back in the day, and the updated elevator still wows with its views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding Swiss Alps.
The elevator, equipped with huge glass windows on three sides and wheelchair accessible, goes from the base station at 3,154 feet above sea level to the upper station at 3,565 feet above sea level and can accommodate 12 people at a time.
Of course, the Burgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne itself is the main draw, with its 383 rooms located across four hotels: the 5-star Burgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa; the 4-star Palace Hotel & Conferences; the 5-star Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence with a Health & Medical Center; and the 3-star Taverne 1879.
There also are 67 residence suites; eight restaurants and bars; a massive, 108,000-square-foot Alpine spa; and an entire menu of leisure activities.