Michelle Chenery reports on a stay at the world’s smallest Renaissance hotel, the Renaissance Lucerne. ‘But’, she says, ‘it proves that size isn't everything after all.’Housed within a century-old City Palais and located in the very heart of Lucerne, the Renaissance Lucerne was renovated and restored earlier this year to become a Renaissance, one of the Marriott brands. Situated a stone's throw from the shores of Lake Lucerne and the main station, the rest of Lucerne’s tourist attractions are only minutes away, including the world-famous Chapel Bridge, the Lion Monument, the old historic city centre and the Culture & Convention Centre (KKL).
The 6-storey hotel has 15 suites and 71 rooms that range in size from the standard room at 19-22sqm up to the premium rooms at 31-37sqm. The hotel has maintained the building’s original features, so no two rooms are alike. Corner rooms have quirky layouts, some with the bed surrounded on all sides by huge windows giving guests excellent views over the city. Others have impressive layouts and bathrooms with ornamental ceiling decorations and warm toned interiors. The hotel is a true boutique experience.
The newly renovated rooms are equipped with rainfall showers, LCD flat screen tv, two phone lines, minibar, high speed internet, an iHomedocking station and tea and coffee-making facilities, with some extras in the deluxe rooms. My bed was so huge and so comfortable, it took immense effort to step out of it in the morning. Needless to say I made the most of the snooze button on the alarm.
The lounge, located on the same floor as the breakfast room, provides guests with a spacious seating area, offering international newspapers, a library and a pc station for guests to check emails or print out documents.
The hotel has just one meeting space of 70sqm, catering for up to 40 theatre-style or 25 at a conference table, but a sister hotel, the Astoria, five minutes walk away, has additional facilities.
In the evening you can eat at the hottest place in town, well hot and spicy to be precise, The Restaurant Pacifico has the reputation of being the best Mexican in town and certainly doesn't disappoint. Not only is the food flavoursome, but the portions have you rolling away from the table, more than likely wishing that you hadn't taken that last bite of food, but knowing that you just couldn't resist it.
For after-dinner drinks or just to chill out there is the Blue Bar and its Smokers Lounge. This has a blend of Asian influences and neo-baroque elements, creating a trendy yet relaxed aura. During the summer evenings the bar extends onto the terrace, which is the only part of the hotel where smoking is permitted.
In Lucerne groups can visit the famous mountains of Pilatus, Rigi and Titlis – forever associated with the story of William Tell. Alternatively a leisure programme can take in one of the many boat excursions on Lake Lucerne, spending two hours midst such glorious scenery.
The hotel has ‘Navigators’ who are a fount of local knowledge, whether its something off the beaten track, or one of the main tourist attractions. The local tourist board also arranges guided tours of the city, telling groups about everything of interest, from the history behind the Lion monument to some of the fascinating unruly behaviour of the early inhabitants. Tours can be tailored to suit any schedule, from one hour to an entire day.
Group excursions can be very conveniently organised by train to the business and financial centres of Zug and Zurich, as well as many ski resorts. Zurich International Airport is an hour away by direct train and only 45 minutes by car.
Tel: +41 41 226 87 87