HOTEL Schweizerhof: Luxury holidays in one of Bern’s most iconic hotels
Built about 150 years ago, the Hotel Schweizerhof was the first luxury hotel in the Swiss capital of Bern. Re-opened in 2011, today’s guests can again experience the hotel’s original charm, tradition and outstanding service as a five-star superior hotel – one of the best in Bern’s city centre.
Famous for its luxury interior and lavish parties, Hotel Schweizerhof in Bern had it all. Hollywood stars like Liz Taylor, Grace Kelly, Ursula Andress or Sophia Loren have spent the night here, as did famous researchers, important politicians and sport stars. Among them were footballer Diego Maradona, the former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Nobel Prize winner Albert Schweitzer.
Even in its early years, the hotel had changed ownership a few times and did so again in 2008, when the Qatar State Fund bought the hotel and financed its renovation. The hotel reopened in June 2011 and since then has become the preferred hotel for many people travelling to and discovering Bern. The hotel lies in the historic city centre; a stone’s throw away from the main station.
Beautifully decorated rooms and suites with views over the city
“Arts, culture and modern designs are melted with 150 years of tradition, this mix can be found in every outlet of the hotel,” says Anja Ullmann, responsible for communications. The hotel has 99 rooms and suites, decorated in a modern and warm style, using taupe as its dominant shade. Even in the modern room designs the hotel honours its history, using for example classic and restored chandeliers for lighting. The double rooms either offer a view over the lively city centre or – if preferred – face towards the calm courtyard. Next to a bedroom, the suites have a separate living room and dining area. While the normal suites are about 60 square metres, the largest presidential suite with its luxurious interior is 120 square metres; three additional bedrooms can be connected to create an ever bigger space. The bathrooms with rain showers and Japanese bathtubs in all rooms are small wellness oases. London-based interior designer Maria Vafiadis was responsible for the design that in 2012 was declared the most beautiful hotel interior design in Europe.
When entering the large Bel Étage with the famous Salon Trianon ballroom, one can imagine the glamorous parties that have been celebrated here over one and a half centuries. Marble-clad walls and large chandeliers make the ballroom an ideal spot for private celebrations or weddings. Of course, the hotel has also smaller venues for private gatherings or business meetings and conferences. Spread all over the house art lovers will find paintings of Paul Klee, one of the most famous modern Swiss-German artists, who immigrated to Switzerland in 1933.
Fine cuisine from France and Japan
For more than 70 years the hotel’s restaurant Jack’s Brasserie has been among the best in the city and was only recently awarded 14 Gault-Millau points. When the Gauer family took over the hotel from previous owners in 1939, the hotel’s splendid epoch began. Jack Gauer turned the local hotel into one that became internationally renowned. Jack’s Brasserie continues to honour this achievement in its name. In a typical fin-de-siècle ambience, the restaurant serves French brasserie cuisine using only ingredients fresh from the market as well as Schweizerhof classics.
Food and drinks are not the only possibility in the hotel. In the Lobby-Lounge-Bar, in the heart of Hotel Schweizerhof, Fugu-licenced Sushi chef Hironori Takahashi serves high-quality Japanese food, from a light Sashimi snack to a Sushi taster’s menu. With space for up to 60 people, it is an ideal meeting point for a chat over coffee or tea and cake, or to relax in the evening with a glass of wine or a cocktail. “The SKY terrace is also a secret tip amongst Bernese people, and with its breath-taking view it is an attraction for tourists,” says Ullmann.
Speaking of relaxing, the hotel has a 500-square-metre-large bath and spa area including an indoor pool with two Jacuzzis, an 85-degree sauna, a fitness area, a Turkish-style Hamam and five treatment rooms. “The SPA, which is the only hotel spa in Bern, offers special treatments from luxurious brands like Sothys and Jacqueline Piotaz 365 days a year.” Bern residents can book spa entry, treatments and memberships separately. Taking a short break over lunch, with a beauty treatment, massage and a light snack, spa guests are fit again for the rest of the day.
For people who want to discover Bern and enjoy everything the hotel has to offer, Hotel Schweizerhof offers special packages (www.schweizerhof-bern.ch/de/spezialangebote/details/id/7300/typisch-bern), including one night in the hotel, Jack’s Brasserie’s Wiener Schnitzel for dinner, spa usage and entry to the Museum of Fine Arts.
TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN | PHOTOS: HOTEL SCHWEIZERHOF
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