I can’t think of a better way to start the brand new sense of direction for my blog than by reliving our recent stay at Boutique-Hotel Schlüssel in Switzerland. Occupying a unique position on a winding road through the picturesque village of Beckenried, on the banks of Lake Lucerne, this small, tranquil, family-run hotel has so much to offer travellers who value beautiful landscapes and authentically-rustic comfort and luxury in equal measure.
We arrived at the hotel on a rainy morning, having hauled all of our luggage, including one broken suitcase and a sleeping toddler, up the steep hill from the bus stop just as the heavens opened. We were soaking wet and cold, but we were greeted with a warmth and familiarity (plus a glass of something to warm us up from the inside). It felt as though we’d been welcomed home.
Here are five reasons why I think this entirely unique and rather memorable hotel should be on your bucket list:
1. Luxurious comfort
Let me start by showing you around our boutique rooftop suite where modern, comfortable furnishings are combined with special design pieces to create a feeling of homely luxury.
The space in this expansive attic room has been thought out using expert attention to detail, to the effect that even though it is essentially one big room, there are distinct areas that are divided up in between the beams and central bathroom.
A bedroom area with exposed shelving and wardrobe units…
A stunning roll-top bath in one corner with original taps, which Sophia and I used every single evening without fail…
A sitting area in the opposite corner, with comfortable chairs and a sofa for lounging…
All of the 12 rooms in the hotel feature luxurious features such as large showers, freestanding baths and basins dating back to the Belle Epoque era.
Their windows also boast the most romantic of views.
Free wifi, ample seating, work desks, a range of complimentary DVDs and comfortable installations serve to add to the feeling of comfort.
We would put Sophia to bed each night and then creep down our short staircase to the shared balcony, where we could help ourselves to complimentary drinks and nibbles and enjoy picturesque views of the sun dipping below the mountains and the moon rising over the twinkling lake beyond.
2. Incredible food
Wherever we are travelling to, when we start to plan our trip and where we would like to stay, the food situation always takes precedence on our checklist. The quality of our hotel’s main restaurant(s) has grown in importance now that we have a toddler, because early bedtimes make it harder for us to escape the confines of the hotel to enjoy an evening meal elsewhere.
Luckily, just a glance at the reviews for Boutique-Hotel Schlüssel and we knew we were onto a winner with this one. Owner Daniel Aschwanden-Huber is a chef first and hotelier second. His passion is apparent in the specially-selected, locally-sourced quality ingredients such as cheese from the Alpine region near to the hotel and carefully selected meats from local farmers. His proficiency in the kitchen is apparent in his simple, uncomplicated dishes, which display an expert understanding of taste and texture combinations, and each dish is beautifully-served with a loving flourish.
The evening starts with an aperitif and freshly-sliced prosciutto from the manual fly wheel slicer in the stylish stone-floored Hunter’s Boutique (please note that these drinks are not complimentary – we were caught out when our bill arrived!).
You won’t find a written menu in the restaurant. The evening’s dishes are curated depending on the availability of ingredients, and Daniel enjoys mixing things up. However, both Daniel and wife Gabrielle enjoy describing the intricacies of the night’s dishes with you at your table, and helping you to select an appropriate wine to match.
The dining room is a romantic place for an evening meal by candlelight, but it’s equally child-friendly, with plenty of provisions made for the smaller people in your party.
3. A sense of history and romance
Dating back as far as 1727, the typically-Swiss wooden house started life as a traditional farmhouse. However, a restaurant and guesthouse has been situated within the building since 1820.
The maintenance of the house’s original features, combined with the addition of newer features, such as the heringbone-patterned oak floors of the dining room and breakfast room and the antique feel of the cosy nook of a reception area, makes for an understated and ‘homely’ ambience, which is in stark contrast to its much bolder and more expansive neighbour, Bürgenstock Resort just around the valley.
This is not the hotel for you if you prefer the detachment and uniformity of chain hotels. However, if you are excited by hotels that are entirely authentic to their surroundings, yet unique in their situation and decor; if you are looking for somewhere that welcomes you with open arms and embraces you as part of the family during your stay, then you will feel completely at home at Boutique-Hotel Schlüssel.
The personalised experience you receive makes it an ideal escape for a quiet and romantic getaway; a special celebration away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life; or a simple family base from which to enjoy the undulating beauty of the Swiss Alps in luxury.
4. A unique position
The village of Beckenried, on the south shores of beautiful Lake Lucerne, is ideally located for day-trips to the historic city of Lucerne, and the alpine region of central Switzerland, but if you’re anything like us, once you arrive in this pretty little village, you won’t want to go anywhere.
Boutique-Hotel Schlüssel occupies a prime position high up on a hillside in the centre of the village, with easy access to local shops and breathtaking walks along the valley.
The landscape here speaks for itself.
We dragged Sophia up hillsides, breathing in that good, fresh mountain air and returned to the hotel to eat heartily and sleep soundly and deeply. It was an experience that was good for the soul.
I’d like to extend my thanks to Boutique-Hotel Schlüssel’s owners, Daniel and Gabrielle for their warm and personal service. I am hopeful that they are laying a legacy which continues to keep this unique and historic hotel running for another century to come.