Yes, eating and drinking are essential components of Bürgenstock Resort, be it a quick snack at the top of the historic funicular or a detailed wine-tasting in a dedicated oenological room at Bürgenstock Hotel (the resort’s Champagne partner, incidentally, is Roederer). Culinary Director Mike Wehrle, whom the gal had followed around his previous luxury Peninsula hotel postings, is already feeding over a thousand some days – there have been ten weddings here in the last two weeks, says the CEO of the whole caboosh, Bruno Schöpfer, who has personally masterminded the resort’s renovation and expansion for the last nine years. He has been meticulously involved. Over lunch in the Pan-Asian restaurant Spices, as he toyed with one of the best-ever mixed sashimi platters, he explained how he had to have the chairs here re-done three times: interestingly, their backs and sides are single pieces of maroon leather, slit into trellis formation so they can be pulled up, to produce vertical C-shapes (the result is really comfortable).
I dined at RitzCoffier with Robert Herr, GM of the whole complex, who moved here after a couple of decades with InterContinental, lastly in Beirut. RitzCoffier is a once-off, honouring the fact that both Escoffier and Ritz worked down in Lucerne, at The National Hotel. The restaurant is a high-ceilinged salon in the 1903-original Palace Hotel, looking far down to Lake Lucerne. Today, its upper walls, and the shelves of its central, 120-year old, now-simply decorative range display copper and silver cloches and platters, some a little bashed, that Escoffier himself used. At dinner, tables are set with white Bergan linens, with napkins, on Bernardaud porcelain, rolled in gold twig-like rings – we shared a magnificent Swiss veal chop, deftly carved tableside, and drank glasses of Riflessi d’Epoca 2014 Merlot.
At breakfast, linen cloths were removed, for simplicity, and the central range, which is labelled C. Keller, Trüb, hosted the continental buffet: I was tempted to order the Bürgenstock egg royale hot special, namely two poached eggs, organic of course, with Scottish smoked salmon and hollandaise (Mike Wehrle says you can trust his local fresh produce to be bio as the farmers he visits regularly are nibbling on, perhaps, carrots, knowing they are pure goodness). His breads, coffee and yoghurts are all made by vendors to his exact specifications, and he takes great pride in one cheese, Five Star, bespoke for the hotel. Mike Wehrle has a hundred cooks, in total, but he still cooks himself, trialling and sampling.
Swiss gourmets are not surprisingly discerning when it comes to quality of products, and cooking, and as well as local and international offerings, this luxury resort has the Asian of Spices, plus an Arab-Iranian restaurant with shisha lounge, and a Swiss taverna and more. I could have stayed for days, sampling them all, but it was time to leave this superb luxury resort to head down, by Bentley of course, to Lucerne station, and I knew my train would be exactly on time. Yes, the only way to travel around Switzerland is by rail, and I do recommend a Swiss Travel Pass, managed by Swiss Railways SBB. Passes are available for three, four, eight or 15 days. Whichever you get, the process is really simplified. Order it online, print it out, with a QR code included, and you are all set. The pass works on trains, buses and boats and also allows access to over 500 galleries and museums. Adult passes range from second class for three days, through to first class for 15 days (note, there is no discount for seniors, but under-26 years, and kids, get substantial savings).