Checking In: Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern

The September reopening of a lakeside grande dame as an ultra-luxe MO marks the debut of one of Switzerland’s most sophisticated hotels.

Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern’s copper-domed turret overlooks the glittering expanse of Lake Lucerne. (All photos courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group)

Taking over the 1906-built Palace Luzern hotel on the shores of swan-speckled Lake Lucerne, the latest outpost from Mandarin Oriental is a grand Belle Époque wedding cake on the outside and a heaven for lovers of clever contemporary design on the inside. A smart yet sympathetic five-year restoration has seen decades of alterations stripped away by London-based architectural firm Jestico + Whiles to reveal the original waltz-worthy checkerboard floors, buttercup-yellow stucco walls, and coral-colored scagliola pillars.

A vaulted corridor leads to a carousel of public spaces: a suave lobby, a sunny veranda for afternoon tea, and a terrace shaded by century-old chestnut trees. Upstairs are 136 rooms and suites in a palette of mauve and navy blue, creams and mossy greens inspired by the surrounding mountains. Everyone gets a lake view, but the best rooms have pretty little balconies where you can just sit and watch passersby on the promenade.

One of the property’s lake-view suites.

The Mandarin Oriental Palace’s four restaurants are overseen by chef Gilad Peled, a former protégé of Michel Roux and Gordon Ramsay. The schnappy heart of the hotel is the MOzern Bar & Brasserie, which is open for breakfast (a bounty of wholesome Swiss produce), Asian-fusion lunches and dinners, and late-night drinks. Right outside, Mediterranean restaurant Quai 10 sprawls along the terrace, drawing in locals from their bicycle rides and afternoon strolls. Open soon are Colonnade, a French finedining establishment set in a glorious mauve-and-lemon salon; and Minamo, a six-seater Japanese jewel box serving multicourse kaiseki and rare sakes.

It wouldn’t be a Mandarin Oriental without a spa, which you’ll find tucked away on the third floor. Featuring opulent products from Bellefontaine, it has two treatment rooms and some of the most effective anti-aging facials in Switzerland. And while there’s no swimming pool, guests avail themselves of unisex steam rooms and saunas as well as the Seebad Luzern, a wooden deck and pool that floats in the refreshing lake waters in front of the hotel.

mandarinoriental.com; doubles from US$795

Left to right: Outdoor Mediterranean restaurant Quai 10; a vaulted corridor at the hotel.

The lounge deck of a 100-square-meter Panoramic Rooftop Terrace suite.

This article originally appeared in the December 2022/February 2023 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“A Classic Reborn”).

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