The Gateway to the Seventh Heaven: Hotel Villa Honegg
If I have learnt anything, it is that Switzerland is so much more than just cheese and chocolate; it is a destination you have to experience for yourself.
Somewhere in the clouds, not so far away, is a place undeniably magical. A haven for adults trying to escape their imposing schedules. The very essence of ‘being on top of the world’ is simply achieved by being tucked away in the mountains, where there is a fresh glass of Grimbart Pinot Noir patiently waiting for you.
When you first cast your eyes on Hotel Villa Honegg you are greeted with humility and warmth – even during the sub-zero winter. She doesn’t suffocate you with ostentatious opulence; she slowly opens up as esoterically as any secret worth revealing to those willing to understand, to reveal her luxuriance.
Whilst keeping a watchful eye on Lake Lucerne, the Villa gracefully unveils a panoramic view, reminiscent of the fjords, that not a single person would ever tire from waking up to. You could sit on the balcony with your morning cup of coffee, simply admiring nature’s finest work and unbeknownst to you, the day will fall into the evening and you would not be slightly disappointed that the hours passed and you did nothing but gawp at the beauty that lies in front of you.
But, of course, we must not let Bürgenstock’s charm tantalise us from all else that remains on offer here. Indulging in a late breakfast in the lounge filled with freshly baked croissants and local swiss cheese makes you wonder why more places do not serve breakfast until 2pm. Whilst cosily wrapped up in the Villa’s furry blanket, an afternoon glass of Swiss Chasselas on the terrace follows, (because, why not?), right before a quick dip – which unsurprisingly lasts the entire day – amongst the clouds in the Villa’s famous infinity pool.
It is quite possibly the most photographed pool in all history, as it boasts scenery that almost feels like it is a deceiving green screen backdrop. But what photographs fail to capture is the serenity that accompanies you. Whether you are blissfully embracing the snowflakes shyly greeting your skin when encompassed by the pool’s warmth, or enjoying the happy chimes ringing from the bells on the cows grazing the grass in springtime, no photo or Instagram post will ever do justice to the tranquillity surrounding you. A little bit of quiet relaxation is just what the doctor ordered, for our busy, burdened souls and if there is a spa that enables you to forget about yesterday’s problems, then this is the one.
Deceptively, Villa Honegg has been around since 1905. And despite all of her elegance and modernity, the Villa remains to play true homage to her history and culture via our taste buds. “Gastronomy for the discerning”, the hotel’s menu downplays everything that is served in front of you. From creamy tomato soup, to succulent braised veal cheek, you can taste the 14 Gault-Millau points and appreciate the difference locally sourced, seasonal ingredients make. You can take it up a notch and spoil yourself with a wine tasting menu, journey towards a delightful postprandial paradise and finish with a cordial game of fireside chess in the lounge, before residing to your room.
If you are not ready for the night to end, you can reunite with the outdoor pool get lost trying to count all of the stars glistening in the night sky. Or, if you are too full to float, you can head down to the Villa’s private cinema. The in-house cinema has 20 comfortable leather seats and a powerful HD projector that transforms viewings into a cinematic experience. Whether it is just the two of you in pyjamas wanting a rom-com to laugh the night away, or a group of you wanting each other’s company during a thrilling horror, the Villa’s private cinema is the ultimate way to experience luxury.
It is terribly difficult to write in words the experience you get at Villa Honegg; no words quite do it justice. But if there is anything that explains the captivating nature, it is this: Bürgenstock offers a wealth of attractions, from scenic walks up to heavenly viewpoints, to water skiing and canoeing on Lake Lucerne, the region has so much to offer; yet I, nor my travel partner, did not leave the Hotel once during our stay. We wanted to experience the Villa in all its entirety; from the (generously included) minibar in our rooms to the poolside snacks, we wanted to devour our every last moment in this hidden haven up in the Swiss mountains. If I have learnt anything, it is that Switzerland is so much more than just cheese and chocolate; it is a destination you have to experience for yourself.