< SWITZERLAND | LUCERNE: Art Deco Hotel Montana
When the Gotthard railway, with its famous Gotthard tunnel, was opened on June 1st, 1882, nobody in central Switzerland had even dreamt of the enormous boom in tourism that was going to take place. Even so, the construction of hotels in the tourist destination of Lucerne had been one of the most attractive jobs for architects from the middle of the 19th century onwards. Built in 1909-1910, on the former site of the «Nidlenpalast» (dairy), and designed by the architects Möri & Krebs, in a palatial style, the Hotel Montana was one of the last classical style hotels to be built in Lucerne.
In 1910, the Hotel Montana, in a unique location on the hillside above the Palace Hotel, was opened by the enterprising hotelier Alfred Schraemmli (1867-1932); son-in-law of the then
owner of the Palace Hotel, Bucher-Durrer. This, however, took place shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, thus provoking a long and hard depression in the hotel business.
At the same time, an electric funicular railway was also built. This, the shortest funicular railway in the world, in fact continues to bring guests from the lakeside promenade to the
hotel lobby in just 60 seconds!
Ever since 1944, the building has belonged to the «Hotel & Gastro Union» (the Swiss Central Association for Hotel and Restaurant Employees). Far-sighted members of the association made the courageous decision to reopen the hotel as a first class establishment. At the same time, the association's Swiss School of Hotel Management (SHL) moved into new classrooms in the west wing, and the administration of the «Hotel & Gastro Union» was also proud to take up its new offices on the 1st floor. The new Swiss School of Hotel Management, located on the hillside just below the hotel, was opened in 1987. Since then, the school and the hotel have been separately run.
From 1975 until 1993, the Montana was closed during the winter months so that the alterations and renovation needed to meet the high standards expected of a 4 star hotel could be carried out. The construction of the «Art Deco Hall» in 1993 revived the original style of the building and saw the former summer season hotel open year round with congress and seminar offers.
In 1996, Fritz Erni became director of the Art Deco Hotel Montana. And the passionate hotelier continues to manage Switzerland’s best four-star city hotel with the very same passion, innovative spirit and flair right up until today.
The renovation of the façade first began in 1999 and was completed in April 2000 - just in time for the 90th birthday of the Art Deco Hotel Montana. The final part of the complete renovation, renovations on the 4th and 5th floors, was completed in 2002. Thereby, the two towers were firstly transformed into breath-taking tower suites, after which renovation of the Scala Restaurant began; with completion in March 2003. From then on, guests witnessed the Art Deco Hotel Montana shine in all the glory of Art Deco Style from top to bottom.
In spring 2009, renovations and reconstructions were once again realised on the second and third floors; resulting in the redesign of 25 single and double rooms and 6 junior suites all in modern Art Deco style. And, to date, premium 40-inch LCD TVs, exclusive Bose sound systems, ultra modern iPhones and MP3 players, docking stations and connectivity panels for guest laptops permit a totally private multimedia world in the hotel rooms.
In 2010, the Art Deco Hotel Montana celebrated its hundredth anniversary. A remarkable occasion, accompanied and accentuated by numerous activities and events. Furthermore, with the extension of the sixth floor, which had formerly been space for the employee lodgings, six luxurious Penthouse Spa Suites came into being. These were inaugurated the same year.
2011 saw the terrace of the Scala Restaurant transformed into an «Outdoor Living Room» - where, since this moment in time, the loveliest views over Lake Lucerne, the mountains and the city of Lucerne itself are enjoyed. Additionally, the Art Deco Hotel Montana and the Hotel Seeburg agreed to enter a strategic partnership. And the fact that the Louis Bar was awarded the Swiss Bar Award for the Best Longseller Bar in Switzerland both in 2011 and in 2012 also deserves a mention!
Then in 2012, Fritz Erni and his team launched the sexy and successful Spa and the City Package in the Penthouse Spa Suites - a very special girls’ night out in a league of its own. And with the extension of the Montana Day Spa in 2013, it well and truly became an oasis of wellbeing ensuring even more blissful moments from head to toe.
Yet another milestone in the history of the hotel took place in 2013 with the opening of the new Hemingway Rum Lounge - offering Switzerland’s most exquisite range of rums and a selective choice of precious cigars. In the framework of the Swiss Bar Awards, the Hemingway Rum Lounge was honoured with the Best Bar Menue award in 2014.
Also in 2014, the Hotel Montana once again surprised with its keen sense for trends and the opening of the Montana Beach Club. Open during the summer months, here’s the place to live up to that beach feeling, while delighting in delicious drinks and snacks, an outdoor whirlpool and freestanding rainforest shower.
Start-up of the Europe-wide unique Montana KitchenClub concept in 2015 is yet another feature to go down in history; with an experience kitchen inviting guests to immerse in the culinary world of the hotel with all their senses. The seminar facilities were expanded in the same year too.
The Art Deco Hotel Montana was rated Switzerland’s best 4-star city hotel in the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 in the «SonntagsZeitung» and «Bilanz» hotel ratings.
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