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Grand Hotel

Alia Akkam • September 20, 2017

It was 1873 when the Grand Hotel, the first of the Swiss Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort accommodations, opened above Lake Lucerne. Through the years, other hotels sprouted on the grounds, its Hammetschwand Lift became an ambient setting for James Bond in Goldfinger, and celebrities like Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren made it their getaway. Encompassing 148 acres, the revamped complex—its final phase to be completed this fall—makes way for four hotels and a dozen restaurants, bars, and lounges. The swankiest addition is undoubtedly the 102-room Bürgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa, complete with a private cinema and wine cellar, courtesy of London-based MKV Design (which also adapted the Grand Hotel into the 29-suite Grand Residences and updated the resort’s circa-1904 Palace Hotel). “As a new build, it was important for us to tie this hotel in with the legacy of the resort, but we also did not want it to become a museum or be subject to slavish repetition,” explains MKV founder Maria Vafiadis. Artwork in the public spaces and guestrooms was eschewed to maximize views, but Vafiadis says textural elements such as timber, stone, and bronze were added “to create a warm and earthy feel that connects with the vista.” The centerpiece of the resort is indeed its location, which Vafiadis and her team reinforced through details like a reception desk crafted from a rough-hewed tree trunk and forest green marble-clad baths overlooking mountains. For the forthcoming spa, perched on the shoulder of the cliff, pools and landscaped gardens will be buoyed by whirlpool baths hidden inside a cave and a tranquility room outfitted with log fireplaces.