The project to refurbish each of the Hotel Schweizerhof Lucerne's 101 rooms and suites started in January 2013 and was performed in two stages. The first 52 new rooms, i.e. the entire east wing of the hotel, came on stream in April of last year. The remaining 49 rooms and suites in the main building were completed on schedule in late April this year. One of the aims of the extensive renovation work was to be able to showcase all kinds of stories sourced from the past 170 years.
Under the project title "Wo Luzern Geschichte(n) schreibt" (Where Lucerne writes history/stories), every room and suite has been dedicated to a guest with a special story. They not include great personalities such as thinkers, artists, politicians, athletes, musicians and crowned heads, but also unknown guests, whose stories are part of the hotel's history. The project involved writing a different story for each of the rooms and suites, based on research conducted by the Hauser Family, proprietors of the hotel; the Director, Clemens Hunziker; and a team of authors headed by Fabrizio D’Aloisio and Alexandra Knetsch from Spot Werbung, St. Moritz. There are stories centred on world stars such as Anastacia and James Blunt having breakfast together, and on athletes such as marathon runner Viktor Röthlin cooking pasta in the Schweizerhof kitchen. There are anecdotes involving the hotel's concierge, Enzo Baciocchi, who has been with the hotel more than 25 years: one concerns his sourcing a Bernese Sennenhund puppy for an American guest.
Each room's design tailored to a story
The last story in the project emerged from a competition run last autumn. Of the 60 unique submissions describing experiences or incidents involving the Hotel Schweizerhof Lucerne, one stood out: that of 97-year-old Karl Frey, who won the main prize – a room dedicated in his honour. The story tells of the professional risk he took when he forecast good weather for a crucial meeting in the Alps during the Second World War, observing the skies from the roof of the Schweizerhof. The contributions were examined by a jury.
Each story may be read on the writing desk of its room or suite. One wall in each room is also prominently inscribed with a quote or piece of graphic design taken from or inspired by the story. The story experience is further enhanced by details including special greeting music via the TV and a unique display of objects, many of them donated by the personalities featured. Various illuminated windows will be drawing the attention of the outside world to the unique concept.
A further 14 stories giving insights into episodes in the Schweizerhof's past are featured in the hotel's public areas for the benefit of guests not staying overnight. The hotel will shortly be publishing a book in two languages containing every one of the stories.
Further consolidating its position as festival hotel of choice
The Hotel Schweizerhof Lucerne is aiming to leverage its new unique room concept to consolidate its position as Lucerne's festival hotel of choice and to incorporate the rooms in the overall vision. Large numbers of local residents come to the Schweizerhof thanks to partnerships forged with the town's many festivals (e.g. Blue Balls Festival, Lucerne Blues Festival, Fumetto Comix Festival) and to events organised by the hotel itself, such as the Retro Festival.
The Hotel Schweizerhof Lucerne has been in the same family for more than 150 years. That, and the devotion shown to the establishment by Clemens Hunziker, its Director since 1999, have made it possible for the Schweizerhof to make the transition to a Lucerne institution that is much frequented and much loved by locals and visitors alike. Amongst the many spectacular hotel openings currently taking place in Central Switzerland, the Hotel Schweizerhof Lucerne's unique 101-room concept featuring individual stories restores the balance in favour of tradition and continuity.
The new rooms have been officially inaugurated at a festive gala dinner on May 14th. Amongst the many invitees were many guests from Switzerland and abroad who have a room dedicated to them (i.e. Kim Wilde, Söhne Mannheims and Bobby Kimball).