The town of Vitznau has a special draw, and we had a hard time departing after a weekend under its spell.
But let me take it from the top. Vitznau is a lakeside town in a bay of Vierwaldstättersee, the magnificent lake in central Switzerland. Perched in between the lake and the towering Mt. Rigi, Vitznau has a special microclimate. Thanks to the south-facing location, we are excited to see palm trees thriving under the sun.
The Bürgenstock, with its wooded slopes, has a presence across the lake from Vitznau. During stormy weather with low-hanging clouds, this peninsula reminds us of a Norwegian fjord. But during this summer weekend, it has a touch of Southeast Asia.
Quite frankly, it should be renamed Koh Bürgenstock! From the vantage point of the infinity pool at the Park Hotel Vitznau, it might as well be an island in the Andaman Sea...
Let’s turn our attention to that infinity pool for a moment...
A frequent subject of Instagramers, the Park Hotel Vitznau pool truly has it all. And in the name of journalism, I can say that I have tested it extensively.
The heated indoor/outdoor pool is borderless, with its infinity edge pointed precisely at Koh Bürgenstock across. In my imagination, this created the illusion of being somewhere in Thailand.
Needless to say, this pool had me trapped for hours. And I only later found out that the spa below features looking glasses that revealed my warrior pose as I was meditating…
But then, most spa visitors are more like Mamiko: she was glued to Switzerland’s largest aquarium in private hands. Is there a better way to relax in a spa than finding Nemo among hundreds of colorful fish?
Our dining experience at Restaurant focus ATELIER
Bordering the pool is the Park Hotel Vitznau’s fine-dining restaurant. Restaurant focus ATELIER is inside a modern glass building similar to a greenhouse. This summer night, we are seated on the outdoor patio with views of the pool and the lake.
As the sun sets over the horizon, we are served no less than two Michelin stars. Of course, this is a play of words. Because in reality, the eleven courses on tonight’s menu are comprised of much more than stardust…
The signature dish of Executive Chef, Patrick Mahler, is as much eye-candy as it is a treat for the palate. Think beef tartar topped with duck liver ice cream and a thin gel of beetroot:
For seconds, the kind staff presents hiramasu kingfish with asparagus, lardo di colonnata and escabèche. The "surf-and-turf" aspect of this dish feels exciting for the palate.
After the kingfish, we are zooming in on a regional specialty: Brüggli trout. Less than 30 kilometers from the focus ATELIER, the Brüggli Family is raising trouts in mountain spring water. Chef Mahler offers three interpretations of this delicate fish: slightly cooked, smoked, and as a tartelette.
With each course, the sommelier presents a matching wine. (The Park Hotel Vitznau is world-renowned for its wine collection. The six cellars hold some 32'000 bottles worth more than 21m francs!) From Weingut Wolfer in Weinfelden to the Cloudy Bay vineyards in New Zealand, we travel across the world thanks to the perfect wine recommendations.
But then, our wine pairing comes to a halt.
Our sommelier unexpectedly turns up with two beer glasses! This surprising moment is timed just right: as we nibble on a loaf of sourdough bread from Eigenbrötler, the Vuurzee beer is all we could ask for...
Carabinero: apple and tomato, XO shellfish bisque.
Fast-forwarding to the dessert, we meet Michelin-starred Chef Patrick Mahler in person!
Park Hotel Vitznau in a nutshell
With all but 47 elegant residences and suites, the Park Hotel Vitznau has exclusivity and privacy written all over it. By default, there are few guests at any one time sharing the lakeside property and three in-house restaurants. We felt like in a world of our own and could not wait to return for another fairytale stay at this white castle...
Park Hotel Vitznau is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Virtuoso, and Swiss Deluxe Hotels, among others.
Park Hotel Vitznau
Phone +41 41 399 60 60