Park Hotel Vitznau, Vitznau
Room type: Suite Lake
Duration: 17th > 19th May, 2017
Booked with: Ourisman Travel
Remember that one time I went to Ballyfin, completely unaware of its magnificence, and then wrote about how amazing it was, only for everyone who ever read this blog to book it immediately? Say “aye” if you remember this. Me neither. Now stop talking out loud to yourself, as you look like an idiot. But your or my stupidity doesn’t change the fact that it was not only amazing through its grandeur, but also through the act of being surprised. Let’s add Park Hotel Vitznau into that mix.
Park Hotel Vitznau did the perfect marketeers job: under promise and over deliver. Clearly this was the approach their entire pre-sales team went for, just to lower your expectations. First of all, they never replied to me when I enquired about their pool temperatures. Then when I chased up, they didn’t apologise and just gave me a response to my original question. Then their reception team really went for it when they replied to our stay list like it was some last minute homework that they needed to do, but thought they could get away with pretending their dog ate it. A true masterclass in understatement. Their response was like reading a shopping list, with my favourite parts being their absolute-matter-of-fact reply to confirm that their views on using organic toiletries was to give us Molton Brown, which is a bit like giving a pacifist a rocket launcher at an anti-war protest. Ok, that’s a great idea for a TV show, but it’s my idea and you’re not having it.
Just 55 minutes from Zurich; 55 minutes of windy roads, questionable driving from our Uber driver and the occasional shart later, we were there. If you live in Zurich and have not been to Park Hotel Vitznau, then you are worse than those Londoners that have never been to the Shoreditch Cereal Bar. I have no time for people like you.
Once we arrived, there was no one asking our name and most impressively, no one asking for our credit card, to the point of insisting they don’t want it, which I thought was a wonderful moment of trust. They just knew who we were. Maybe it was because hoteliers have a photo of me, knowing to avoid me as I’ll only write horrible things about them. Not today, Internet. Not today.
I thought Beau-Rivage Palace was special, but this is a different league. You are on the lake. Like right on it. Like you wake up and can murder a fish without getting out of bed. Like mermaids sing lullabies to you. Then you have the mountains. Oh, my sweet mountains. For they were so close, I thought they were mine. I was ready to plant my flag, until I realised that leaving the hotel was not only a sin, but likely a criminal offence. If you leave your beautiful children at home alone, you go to jail. Leaving Park Hotel Vitznau is exactly the same thing. I had a judge confirm it. I would boast that I never left the hotel during my stay to cement into your mind how perfect the view is, but the reality is that this applies to all almost all stays, so you won’t be so impressed.
Just to cement the image into your mind, on arrival you approach a stunning, wide glass window that has views across the entire region. Right from the moment you enter the lobby you are in paradise.
In one sense they went above and beyond what I would expect, yet on the other they did not include everything that either Beau-Rivage or The Dolder Grand managed to do, such as including proper Tempur pillows, earplugs, a hair straightener or my beloved Robinson’s Squash. On the other hand, their attention to detail was on another level. With a free minibar, they wanted to know whether the exact type of diet Coke was sufficient; whether we wanted a sweet or salted arrival snack and what fruit we wanted daily replenished. They even managed to have a brief epiphany that Molton Brown is about as luxurious as a gypsy fighting club, and replaced these with an alternative, organic cosmetic called Biokisma that will one day likely rise-up and ring peace and harmony to all areas of the globe. But most importantly, they offered an entire bowl of sweets, for which I am grateful.
I’m unsure whether I should compliment or complain that they offered us 2 glasses of champagne. As a non-drinker, and with it clear on the stay list, I feel they should not known better, but on the other hand, champagne is expensive, so I’ll take what I can get. And in Switzerland, anything free will save you at least 2 months salary.
Before you even arrive in your room, you are starting to get a hint of the amount of money and love that went into this building. The elevator even has its own art display in it, so as you ascend the building you are witnessing an art gallery. Of course, the floors are not called floors, but galleries. With each room being uniquely designed, they decided to have glass doors in front of each one, so that if the room is empty, the glass door is closed, but the main door is open and you can look in from the hallway. It is just one element that makes Park Hotel Vitznau scream luxury. The other is that they gave us a double room upgrade, so naturally I’m obligated to feel some sense of gratitude, but I assure you, dear listener, that I cannot be bought that easily and this review will be unbiased.
As each room is unique they all have their own dedicated web page, so you can take a look at our room right here. I can assure you that it looks far better without me in it. Once again they have thought of everything, right down to the shower bags, their own branded USB multi-use plug adapters, touch panels for shower controls, iPads for lighting controls and managing the completely blackout contactless keys that open the door when you’re close and carpet that should be used to rehabilitate dangerous criminals. The contactless keys is something I’ve never seen before, but certainly should be. You add in those gorgeous views of the lake and mountains and it’s hard to find fault with it. Ok, except the annoying blue glare coming from all the touch control panels around the room.
They also had the fastest Internet I’ve ever used. I was half way to starting my own cyber warfare unit with all that bandwidth. Of course, it’s free and there are no logins, as this is Park Hotel Vitznau, where everything is better than you and everyone you love. It will scientifically love you more than anyone else and they guarantee that in writing. I hear they are making you rip-up photos of your loved ones on departure, as they have no purpose anymore; Park Hotel Vitznau replaced them.
Rumour has it Mother Teresa was asked to be buried here, but the queue for guest burials was too long that they just threw her in the lake instead. Rest in peace, you beautiful bastard.
- Hotel bar
- Cigar room
- Water slide on the lake
- Lake terrace
- Indoor restaurant
- Wine cellar
- focus, a 2 Michelin star restaurant
- PRISMA, a 1 Michelin star restaurant
A ferry goes past occasionally, which I assume the hotel pays for in order to remove locals from the nearby area and give me more privacy.
Things I do not love about the spa: the pool and outdoor hot tub look into PRISM, their 1 Michelin star restaurant; the gym is tiny. Things I love: everything else.
It takes a lot to impress me, but wow wow wow. Added wow for extra effect thrown in. I don’t think words can do this justice. Not even pictures can. Instead, imagine the happiest moment in your life and then imagine David Beckham was there, lifting you onto his shoulders to celebrate it with you. And then Bill Gates showed up, riding Falkor from The Never Ending Story and gave you all his wealth. You’re now 5% of the way to understanding how I felt in this spa.
Everything is beautiful; everything feels elegant; everything is perfect. Even the way the lights turn on in the bathrooms; even the sinks; even the pool bags. There are no spa memberships available and only hotel guests are allowed in, which means it’s empty 95% of the time, just to make it somehow even better. The pool is heated using some state-of-the-art, alien designed, eco-friendly tech that is powered by the lake. So when you’re using the pool 24 hours a day, like I was, you can at least know every second you do so, you are saving the world. You’re a goddamn hero. Take the rest of the week off work. No, quit your job; you can do anything; you can even bring back MySpace.
You arrive into the spa reception and can see the stunning, outdoor, heated pool from your elevated position. Amazing, you think. Then you walk downstairs and see a jacuzzi that faces directly into the pool and out onto the lake and mountains, with a sliding glass door separating you. Even more amazing, you think. You then walk downstairs into an area that seems to defy any economical sense, as it’s so perfect that it must have been built using only dreams. If Batman built a spa, this would be it. It’s a mini Batcave, just with far more practical gadgets.
Downstairs you have:
- Two saunas; 85C and 60C, both with electronic timers and a smell that almost definitely cures cancer
- Sun bed area
- Steam room
- Ice room
- Amazing loungers with controls that allow you to adjust your back support, all the way down to beds.
- Views up into the pool
- Seating area with foot tubs
Outside you have
- Amazing heated pool with breathtaking views
- Outdoor hot tub
Just like Ballyfin, they will open the spa anytime you want; unlike anywhere else, they decided this wasn’t enough, so felt like including free samples of La Prairie in the reception and giving you drinks cabinet to help yourself to freebies by a tree in front of the lake. This topples them into legendary status.
Start plotting how you can swindle some billionnaire into thinking you’re his long lost niece/nephew, so you have the available funds to stay here forever.
You already have the best setting, the best spa and the best facilities, so what else would you do to make a 47 bedroom hotel stand out? Add a Michelin star restaurant? That’s a good start, but this is Park Hotel Vitznau we’re talking about, so they decided to add both a 1 Michelin and 2 Michelin star restaurant. They then decided that they would have a Kids Corner for breakfast, that consists of almost everything that’s bad for you, but what my diet mostly consists of. I’m hoping they will rename it after me, as I spent so long there, even if the children were crying as I ate all the Kinder Eggs in front of them. There is a small buffet, but that is because they automatically bring you along a selection of everything you would grab anyway: pastries, meats and cheese. It was yet another example of how well they had thought everything through.
The relaxed atmosphere of Park Hotel Vitznau allowed us to have a late night dinner in their indoor restaurant whilst in shorts and flip flops, and then we dressed up for PRISMA, by going all out and wearing shoes. PRISMA only had a few other guests in it, so I did feel sorry for them, especially as the food was very good and reasonably priced. Away from the Michelin star restaurants, Park Hotel Vitznau avoided the traps of Beau-Rivage Palace and offered incredible food.
The only issue I had in my short and beloved stay, was the time it took to receive the food. Strangely, the Lake Terrace restaurant has a much more restricted menu to any other part of the hotel, but it did not change how slow things were, with us having to ask for updates as drinks were being forgotten. On the final day we wanted lunch before leaving and it took them 55 minutes to bring a starter, which was simply some oysters, and then 95 minutes for a main. Naturally they overcompensated for this by making the meal free, as making money is secondary to customer satisfaction. I do worry how it would be if they were at full capacity, as they were only at 40% when we were there, but hopefully if I write enough bad things about it, no one will ever want to go there and I can enjoy it in peace.
When the hotel is this good, who needs service? Yet they still delivered. Everyone was so professional and courteous, with even the GM coming to spend 20 minutes talking to us. When we asked for a late checkout, we had a hand written note from reception confirming it; when we spoke to the concierge, we saw they were offering a free 1 year membership of LHW; when we wanted to see other rooms, the director of PR took us around. I cannot find fault anywhere.
They provided some water, hand wipes, snacks, tissues and sent me away with fond memories and a broken heart, knowing I will not be back soon enough.
Whilst the hotel is over 100 years old, it is barely 4 under the new ownership, due to their complete gutting and refurb. Some hotels do a refurb where they paint a few rooms, yet Park Hotel Vitznau removed the entire inside of the hotel, reducing their 100 rooms down to 47 suites. .
I would be careful with your room choice. We had a tour of other rooms and I loved all but one of them, with the one I strongly disliked being a further upgrade on our room. I would have been as disappointed as the speechwriter for Theresa May’s winning speech, had we received it. We would have got all that way and then ended up disappointed; imagine that?
- In room tech
- No expense sparred
- Food service was painfully slow
Iniala and Park Hotel Vitznau in the space of 3 months: I was clearly on Santa’s good list this year. Everything here screams luxury, with no cost cutting anywhere and near perfect staff interactions. I loved Beau Rivage, but here we’re on another level. The view onto the lake is unbeatable, the food excellent, the tech incredible and the sheer scale of something for a mere 47 rooms is something to behold. Yet then you throw in probably the best spa I’ve ever seen, with a 32C heated outdoor pool and two hot tubs and I think, ladies and gentleman, we have reached the pinnacle of hotels.
Yes, service could be quicker, but why waste your time with such trivial things such as staff when you can just have the hotel wrap its loving arms around you and whisper love songs into your soul? Park Hotel Vitznau does that. Remember that time, around your 10th birthday, when you desperately wanted a present and you got to your last present, hoping that this would be the one? Yet it never was. Park Hotel Vitznau would never do that. It would have bought it for you. It loves you more than your parents.
My parents are British / Irish. And their parents are too. And so are their parents. But I’ve always known I didn’t belong. It’s so clear now: I am Swiss. This is my new home, a place I truly belong to. If you will excuse me, I need to go to learn about being neutral about everything.
France is Europe’s beauty queen, with it being a top destination for most. You don’t hear many people say: “Let’s go on a Summer holiday to Switzerland”. Good, I say. More for me. Just as I think it cannot get any better, something new came along and blew me away even more. Park Hotel Vitznau alone is worth a trip to Switzerland, regardless of where you live. However, I hope everyone reading this takes no note of my opinion at all so it continues to stay exclusive and half empty. Whatever you do, do not come here.