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Is there ANY hotel in Europe with better views than this? Inside a breathtaking Swiss property where Audrey Hepburn married and Sean Connery stayed – and we have a sneak peek at a suite named one of the world’s best

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The Royal Suite’s lake view may have won the Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa in Switzerland a listing in the top 100 hotel suites of the world, but the view from just about every other window, patio, balcony and pool, in this amazing spa resort, is almost as breathtaking.

The property sits spectacularly 500 metres (1,640ft) above Lake Lucerne and Elite Traveler, that bible for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, declared that no words could express its ‘glorious wonders’.

I decide to rise to the challenge and set out to do my best.

The approach to the property is unique. My partner and I are ferried across glittering Lake Lucerne in the hotel’s own catamaran with a pair of swans skimming across the water and taking flight by our bow as if performing by prior arrangement.

If that mode of transport doesn’t float your boat and you’re uber-rich, you can also arrive by helicopter or private jet, landing just 15 minutes away.

MailOnline Travel's Ian Walker checked in to the Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa, which sits spectacularly 500 metres (1,640ft) above Lake Lucerne. Above is the hotel's incredible spa infinity pool

MailOnline Travel’s Ian Walker checked in to the Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa, which sits spectacularly 500 metres (1,640ft) above Lake Lucerne. Above is the hotel’s incredible spa infinity pool 

Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa is made up of two sections - a contemporary building (102 rooms) and the Heritage section (108 rooms), while the modern Waldhotel Health & Wellbeing (137 rooms) concentrates on medical wellness treatments with state-of-the-art facilities

Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa is made up of two sections – a contemporary building (102 rooms) and the Heritage section (108 rooms), while the modern Waldhotel Health & Wellbeing (137 rooms) concentrates on medical wellness treatments with state-of-the-art facilities

Burgenstock's Royal Suite (above) was named by Elite Traveler as one of the top 100 suites of the world

Burgenstock’s Royal Suite (above) was named by Elite Traveler as one of the top 100 suites of the world

Precisely 35 minutes later – things run on time in Switzerland – a few feet from the jetty we step into the scarlet carriage of a vintage funicular railway, which takes less than five minutes to scale the steep mountainside that the property is perched upon.

From the top station, we are escorted into the flagship Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa, which is made up of two sections – a contemporary building (102 rooms) and the Heritage section (108 rooms), while the modern Waldhotel Health & Wellbeing (137 rooms) concentrates on medical wellness treatments with state-of-the-art facilities that attract recuperating athletes as well as hotel guests seeking personalised health programmes.

The main draw for discerning travellers is the 10,000-square-metre spa, the largest in Europe. It has an astonishing cantilevered infinity pool that defies gravity, and more spa facilities than most visitors have ever heard of.

The resort was founded in 1873 as a place for guests to enjoy clean mountain air and has seen many changes over the years.

In the 50’s and 60’s movie stars flocked to the 150-acre resort like bees to a honey pot.

It'll Alp you out: Ian and his partner arrived at the hotel via funicular railway, pictured above

It’ll Alp you out: Ian and his partner arrived at the hotel via funicular railway, pictured above

The resort was founded in 1873 as a place for guests to enjoy clean mountain air and has seen many changes over the years

The resort was founded in 1873 as a place for guests to enjoy clean mountain air and has seen many changes over the years

After a £465million investment, the new Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa opened in 2017

After a £465million investment, the new Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa opened in 2017

Charlie Chaplin was a regular, while Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren both owned villas here for over a decade.

Audrey married actor and director Mel Ferrer at the resort’s bijou chapel, which still looks much as it did in her 1954 wedding photos.

In more recent times, Michael Douglas has stayed here.

James Bond aficionados, meanwhile, will recognise the iconic outline of Europe’s highest exterior elevator, the Hammetschwand Lift, built in 1905. It clings to the side of the Burgenstock cliffs and featured in the 1964 classic Goldfinger. The crew and cast, including Sean Connery, holed up at the resort for a month during filming.

Tastes changed, the glamour faded and the resort closed in 2008.

After a £465million investment, the new Burgenstock Hotel and Alpine Spa opened in 2017. The investment is obvious in every room, corridor, restaurant and inch of the beautifully maintained spa area, while many of the historic buildings now have heritage status and are protected.

We manage to get a peek into the aforementioned Royal Suite, which sits on the seventh floor.

The rich patina of beautiful walnut floors stretches across 3,315 square feet of luxury and reflects the dancing flames of a double-sided glass fireplace, but nothing, not even the Steinway grand piano, can draw the eye away from the huge windows and mesmerising panoramic views.

Ian writes: 'The view from just about every window, patio, balcony and pool, in this amazing spa resort, is breathtaking'

Ian writes: ‘The view from just about every window, patio, balcony and pool, in this amazing spa resort, is breathtaking’

Audrey Hepburn, above, married actor and director Mel Ferrer at the resort's bijou chapel, which still looks much as it did in her 1954 wedding photos

Audrey Hepburn, above, married actor and director Mel Ferrer at the resort’s bijou chapel, which still looks much as it did in her 1954 wedding photos

On one side majestic snow-capped mountains stand guard over lush, green fields dotted with picture-perfect farms, which supply much of the resort’s produce, and on the other there’s the magical shimmer of Lake Lucerne, far below.

Here, it is hard not to feel on top of the world, a feeling only intensified by the wonderful silence. Of course, it comes with all the expected extras, such as a large patio, hot tub, steam bath, sauna, walk-in wardrobe and spacious lounge, all making the most of the landscape below.

Our 452-square-ft Lake View Bay Suite may not have the floor space of the Royal Suite, but the designers have thought of everything, with picture window views down to the lake.

There is a bath, the size of a plunge pool, a Japanese-style loo with bidet functions, walk-in wardrobe, desk area and a lovely seating area with a sumptuous bay window seat perfectly positioned to view the lake and mountains beyond.

Tempting though it is to curl up by the glass-encased double-sided fire, we are determined to see what Europe’s largest spa – accessed via a glass bridge with a view – could offer. Which is an awful lot.

Ian's 452-square-ft Lake View Bay Suite came with picture window views down to the lake

Ian’s 452-square-ft Lake View Bay Suite came with picture window views down to the lake

In the 50's and 60's movie stars flocked to the 150-acre resort like bees to a honey pot

In the 50’s and 60’s movie stars flocked to the 150-acre resort like bees to a honey pot

As well as that amazing infinity pool, which wraps around the outside of the building, the myriad facilities include herbal steam rooms, aroma saunas, Finnish saunas, infrared therapies, and ice rooms. Senior therapist Paula’s tour is a necessity – not least for showing us where the naked sections were.

The spa has clever cards explaining the facilities to use, depending on what you want to achieve, such as ‘based on science’, ‘activate’,’ regenerate’ or ‘relax’.

The three ‘hydrothermal journeys’ have up to 11 steps, including instructions on when to rest and hydrate.

It is surprisingly good fun to follow the ‘journey’ cards and a great way to sample most of the facilities – even the pool filled with icy water from Lake Lucerne.

Dinner is at Restaurant Spices Kitchen and Terrace, cleverly constructed on an overhanging platform with glass on three sides.

Part of the floor seems to magically float over the side of the cliff.

We try the Chef’s Table degustation menu, which encompasses Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Indian dishes.

Chefs specialising in each cuisine are employed by the Burgenstock.

Standout dishes included Thai crispy BBQ duck salad, Hamachi sashimi in a spicy mango salad and the mouthwatering Nawabi chicken tikka.

Ian's dining highlights included melt-in-the-mouth beef and 'the smoothest mashed potato'. Above is Brasserie Ritzcoffier Restaurant, which happened to be shut during Ian's visit

Ian’s dining highlights included melt-in-the-mouth beef and ‘the smoothest mashed potato’. Above is Brasserie Ritzcoffier Restaurant, which happened to be shut during Ian’s visit

Elite Traveler, a bible for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, declared that no words could express the hotel's 'glorious wonders'

Elite Traveler, a bible for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, declared that no words could express the hotel’s ‘glorious wonders’

Guests at Burgenstock enjoy, says Ian, 'some of the finest views in the world'

Guests at Burgenstock enjoy, says Ian, ‘some of the finest views in the world’ 

James Bond aficionados will recognise, notes Ian, the iconic outline of Europe's highest exterior elevator, the Hammetschwand Lift, built in 1905. It clings to the side of the Burgenstock cliffs and featured in the 1964 classic Goldfinger

James Bond aficionados will recognise, notes Ian, the iconic outline of Europe’s highest exterior elevator, the Hammetschwand Lift, built in 1905. It clings to the side of the Burgenstock cliffs and featured in the 1964 classic Goldfinger

To work it all off, there are many activities to choose from, including three tennis courts that Roger Federer has played on while staying.

We had planned an e-bike tour around the resort, but with the sun shining the helpful concierge suggested a hike would make the most of the views at the summit of the Burgenstock plateau, where we could also see the top station of the 1,132-metre (3,713ft) Hammetschwand Lift.

He is right. It is worth the hour or so hike up the mountain, which we manage in trainers and T-shirts, although just days earlier there had been snow.

We really feel we have earned our second trip to the spa and work up an appetite for Lakeview Bar & Cigar Lounge’s very popular afternoon tea. Overseen by Damian Carini, GaultMillau Pâtissier of the Year 2024, it consists of a selection of miniature work-of-art pastries, dainty finger sandwiches and scrumptious scones, not to mention a great choice of quality tea blends.

For our final dinner we eat at the Waldhotel’s Verbena Restaurant & Bar, featuring ‘Seven Kitchens’ dining, which showcases signature dishes from across the resort’s eateries.

We choose French classics: Entrecote Cafe de Paris, a tender steak on a bed of ruler-straight green beans with potato gratin and braised beef Cheeks Bourguignon – melt-in-the-mouth meat with the smoothest mashed potato, mushrooms and pearl onions in a shallow pool of rich and moreish Bourguignon sauce.

The 'magical shimmer' of Lake Lucerne is available to Burgenstock guests night and day

The ‘magical shimmer’ of Lake Lucerne is available to Burgenstock guests night and day

Beyond the hotel 'majestic snow-capped mountains stand guard over lush, green fields dotted with picture-perfect farms'

Beyond the hotel ‘majestic snow-capped mountains stand guard over lush, green fields dotted with picture-perfect farms’

The hotel's vast windows mean guests are never far from an awe-inspiring vista

The hotel’s vast windows mean guests are never far from an awe-inspiring vista 

Smashing endorsement: The hotel's tennis facilities have been graced by champion player Roger Federer

Smashing endorsement: The hotel’s tennis facilities have been graced by champion player Roger Federer 

Rooms at Burgenstock start from £574 ($726/CHF 650). Stays at the Burgenstock Royal Suite start from £15,800 ($20,015/CHF 18,000) per night

Rooms at Burgenstock start from £574 ($726/CHF 650). Stays at the Burgenstock Royal Suite start from £15,800 ($20,015/CHF 18,000) per night

The Lakeview’s inviting bar is a great spot for a post-prandial drink, where award-winning mixologist Marie Gerber has created startlingly good cocktails.

There is also a glass-sided ‘cellar’ room displaying 1,200 bottles of the world’s most sought-after wines and spirits, including limited 007 edition Champagne.

On our final day, we enjoy a last breakfast looking down on the clouds from Spices Kitchen & Terrace, before retiring to one of the spa’s 15 treatment rooms for a top-notch massage, one where you can actually feel knotted muscles easing under the touch of an expert.

My partner says she had a fantastic facial with Cyprienne, who she describes as a ‘miracle worker disguised as a therapist’.

Before our stylish funicular and catamaran departure, there is just time for a very posh club sandwich, a cappuccino and a last lingering gaze at what I can confirm is definitely one of the finest views in the world.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Ian Walker was hosted by the Burgenstock Hotels & Resort, Lake Lucerne. ‘Heritage’ rooms from £574 ($726/CHF 650). Burgenstock ‘Contemporary’ rooms from £1,235 ($1,564/CHF 1400) – includes unlimited access to Alpine Spa. Waldhotel Wellbeing – rooms from £618 ($782/CHF 700)

Stays at the Burgenstock Royal Suite start from £15,800 ($20,015/CHF 18,000) per night.

For more information visit: burgenstockresort.com.

PROS: Swiss efficiency throughout the hotel, spa and restaurants, gravity-defying infinity pool, fabulous rooms, awe-inspiring views.

CONS: None.

Rating out of five: *****

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