The Kempinski Palace Engelberg Near Mount Titlis
A Luxurious Belle Epoque Hotel in the Centre of Engelberg
The Kempinski Palace Engelberg
We recently had a wonderful stay at the Kempinski Palace Engelberg which is amazingly just an hour and a half’s drive from Zurich. This newly renovated and very luxurious hotel is located in the picturesque town of Engelberg, in Central Switzerland’s largest summer and winter sports region. In winter, Engelberg’s ski area has guaranteed snow and offers a huge variety of winter activities. The hotel is surrounded by breathtaking mountain views, which include Mount Titlis. Furthermore, unlike many mountain hotels, the Kempinski Palace Engelberg is open all year round.
History of the Kempinski Palace Engelberg
The first 5-star hotel in the region, the Kempinski is an historic building which dates back to 1904. Back then it was known as the Grandhotel Winterhaus, a beautiful Belle Époque gem. The hotel was originally built in 1889 by hotelier Eduard Cattani as a sanatorium before it became the Winterhaus. In fact it was the first building in Switzerland equipped with central heating. After 5 years of construction, this historic hotel has been restored to its former glory and expanded with a new wing, making it a perfect base for a fabulous mountain break!
A Harmonious Mix of Historic and Modern Design
The hotel harmoniously combines historic detail and timeless elegance, with modern design.
There are lots of original details to be seen such as this stunning staircase pictured above. As well as 129 stylish rooms and suites, the hotel also boasts a stunning rooftop infinity pool with a fitness and wellness area, a stylish bar and restaurant as well as number of seminar and meeting rooms. It also has one of the best preserved “La Belle Epoque” ballrooms in Switzerland. Add to this, the breath-taking alpine views surrounding the hotel and you really have an exceptional hotel.
We stayed in a lovely Superior Room with stunning views across the mountains.
The room was light, spacious and airy, with a generously sized bathroom. It was stylish and modern with wooded panelling and relaxing colours and luxurious materials. We even had French windows opening onto a cute balcony where we could sit down and take in the ever-changing mountain views.
Whilst we were there we ate dinner in both the Chalet Ruinart Pop Up Restaurant and the Cattani Restaurant.
Chalet Ruinart Pop Up
On our first night we dined at Chalet Ruinart where they serve Swiss Mountain Winter classics, like raclette and fondue in a rustic, wooden chalet in the gardens of the hotel. The cheese comes from a local supplier in the town.
The Chalet Ruinart pop up will be in place until just after Easter.
Restaurant Cattani with 14 GaultMillau points is where the extensive and very generous breakfast is served. As well as a huge “help yourself” buffet, there is a great selection of made to order à la carte dishes, such as poached egg with smoked salmon and avocado on sourdough. It was all so delicious and we had excellent service. Whatever you choose, it will definitely keep you fighting on all cylinders however much skiing you undertake afterwards!
We had a wonderful dinner in Restaurant Cattani on the second night and really enjoyed it all and there was a fun piece of culinary theatre with the melting dessert.
Executive Chef, Michéle Müller, one of the few female chefs in a Swiss five-star-hotel, is in charge of the kitchen and uses fresh, local produce to serve delicious dishes which are bound to tempt your appetite.
The Palace Bar
I really loved the Palace Bar with its circular bar area and comfortable seating. In the evenings they often have live music and we enjoyed listening to @Sereneight8 playing cover numbers whilst we sipped on our drinks and relaxed after a day in the mountains.
The Winter Garden is also a great place to relax with a cup of coffee – or if you want to push the boat our you could indulge in a traditional “English Afternoon Tea”, one of the hotel’s specialities.
Kempinski The Spa
Another highlight for me was the extensive wellness area on the rooftop. It is beautifully designed and so relaxing.
As well as a stunning infinity pool (with impressive mountain views) and an integrated jacuzzi, there’s plenty of space to chill out.
There’s a relaxation room with an open Himalayan salt-stone fireplace and a variety of different sauna and steams. Another bonus is an additional children’s pool, where the water temperature is a balmy 36 degrees. If you want to relieve any aching muscles, or simply relax, there are a variety of massages and treatments to choose from. The Rooftop Spa is also open to external guests. The day spa is CHF 100 for the whole day, or CHF 70 for half a day.
The Historic Kursaal
The historic Kursaal is the perfect place to hold events for up to 1,000 people and there are also nine conference rooms for meetings and conferences. The Kursaal is managed externally by the Kursaal AG Engelberg.
The hotel is very family friendly and features a purpose-built children’s club on the second floor offering young children from 3 – 12 years old, hours of supervised fun and entertainment.
The Titlis-Engelberg ski area is one of the hotel’s main winter attractions.
There are 82km of slopes to explore ranging between 1,000 and 3,000m above sea level. Some of the skiing is on a glacier. You can book ski tours, snowshoe tours, go snowboarding, cross-country skiing, freeride or visit the Trübsee Snow Park.
The funiculars are around a 10 minute walk away but the hotel has a minibus to take you directly to the slopes and to pick you up afterwards.
Mount Titlis, the Titlis Rotair and the Ice Grotto
A fun trip is to go from Engelberg to Mount Titlis to visit the Titlis Cliff Walk and the Ice Grotto and the go for lunch in the restaurant there, watching the panoramic views from the windows. We headed up to Mount Titlss in the “Titlis Rotair” world’s first revolving gondola.
The journey takes just 5 minutes and as you travel the gondola revolves 360 degrees, allowing you to enjoy very scenic panoramic views of steep rock faces and lots of snow-covered mountain peaks.
The Ice Grotto is a 150m walkway under the glacier. There is not a huge amount to view, but it’s impressive to see all the ice. It’s illuminated with coloured lights and is very popular with young children and it doesn’t take more than 10 – 15 minutes to visit.
The Titlis Cliff Walk is a hanging bridge with a 500m drop beneath it and it is highest haggis bridge in Europe. It’s great to walk along and take in all the impressive views.
Other things you might wish to do include taking a ride on the Titlis Ice Flyer, a chairlift with spectacular views of the glacier.
Trübsee Snow Activities
Further down, in the Trübsee area, more fun can be had by hiring an electric Snow mobiles or snow-tubing down the slopes!
More Things To Do in The Area
Visit Engelberg Abbey and the Benedictine Monastery
If snow sports are not your thing, there is plenty to see and do in the area. Just 10 minutes from the hotel there is an Abbey and a Benedictine monastery which was founded in 1120.
It is still in operation and you can visit the Monastery on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 4pm to have a guided tour by one of the brothers and to learn more about the 900 year old history of the monastery and the Abbey. Tickets cost CHF 12 for adults.
Next door to the monastery there is also the Käserei Engelberg which is the only monastery in Switzerland which produces cheese.
The cheese production takes place from 10am – 3pm each day and it can be viewed through a glass window in the attached shop. They sell a wide selection of delicious Swiss cheeses. For more information about Käserei Engelberg see here.
Tal Museum Engelberg
We also visited the Tal Museum in Engelberg and it gave some valuable insights into the history of the town.
On the ground floor there was an interesting exhibition by local artist Daniel Infanger and on the first and second floors you can see traditional furniture and interiors of a Swiss mountain house in years gone by. There was also a fascinating exhibition about the history of luxury hotels in Engelberg. I particularly enjoyed reading a set of booklets charting the guests who stayed at the hotels, with details of their names and which country they came from. Many visitors were from overseas – especially from England and America! The Talmusem Engelberg is just a few minutes walk from the hotel.
We had fabulous stay and enjoyed every moment! We went in winter, but if you visit in the Summer you may be interested to know that there is a 18-hole golf course, as well as mountain biking, glacier tours, hiking and skiing/snowboarding too! So if you’re looking for a fabulous holiday break in the mountains with lots to do, why not stay at the wonderful Kempinski Palace Engelberg for a truly luxurious combination?