Kempinski Palace Engelberg: the new top address for a wellness weekend in Central Switzerland

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Engelberg has been enriched by a hotel attraction since this summer. After 5 years of construction, the Hotel Kempinski Palace Engelberg – Swiss Alps has opened its doors as the first 5-star hotel in Central Switzerland’s largest winter sports destination. For this purpose, the historic structures of the former Grandhotel Winterhaus – a jewel from the Belle Époque era – were brought into shape and at the same time supplemented with a new hotel wing. The result: a stylish base for a break in the mountains.

Check-in at Engelberg’s newly opened 5-star hotel

Just in time with the first wonderfully fluffy white snowflakes of the season, we made our way to Engelberg with the aim of exploring the Kempinski Palace. The noble 5-star hotel corresponds exactly to our “loot scheme”. And in terms of timing, we did everything right. Because the combination of freshly snow-covered holiday resort and lovingly decorated hotel lobby creates a festive mood even for Christmas grouches like me.

The Kempinski Palace is centrally located in the centre of Engelberg. It is just a two-minute walk from the train station to the lobby. It’s almost a “stone’s throw” for all those who, like us, travel to Engelberg by train. Of course, the hotel also offers an adequate transfer service or luggage transport for this short distance.

We check in at the reception in the listed part of the building and then take a closer look at our room. This is located in the new hotel wing, which is seamlessly “interwoven” with the historic building structure, including the Kursaal, which was built in 1902. An architecturally harmonious result (and technically a small masterpiece). The bridge between tradition and modernity has also been successful. A warm colour palette, high-quality materials, discreetly placed design classics and rediscovered illustrations from the first half of the 20th century. Yes, the first impression is promising!

An enjoyable weekend at the Kempinski Palace Engelberg

Over the next 48 hours, we can put our first impressions to the test. For example, at breakfast, which is served in the Cattani Restaurant. In addition to a generous buffet, which includes many products from regional producers as well as homemade baked goods and spreads, an à la carte offer is also included in the price. Fancy blueberry pancakes, fruity waffles or a healthy palace bowl with chia pudding – here you go!

Off to the snow

An enjoyable start to the weekend is guaranteed with the Palace breakfast. Afterwards, the Engelberg mountains rejoice right outside the hotel door. We already spent a few magnificent, snowy days in Engelberg last winter. Whether you like hiking, trudging through untouched powder snow on snowshoes, gliding through nature on narrow slats or enjoying the far-reaching view over the peaks of Central Switzerland – Engelberg scores with its diverse outdoor offerings. This weekend we take advantage of the unexpected window of sunshine for a short detour to the 3,020-metre-high Titlis. The view from up here is awesome even for repeat offenders like us!

Relax with a view

The detour from Engelberg to the Titlis and back, including a visit to the Cliff Walk and the ice grotto, takes about two hours. In the meantime, the sky has clouded over again. Now there’s nothing stopping us from spending a few hours in the wellness area. The spa area is located on the top floor of the new building. Large windows provide plenty of light and at the same time offer an incomparable panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. The main attraction is the 15-meter-long infinity pool with integrated whirlpool. And all those who are looking for a child-friendly hotel will be particularly pleased with the additional, 36-degree children’s pool.

Rest and relaxation are guaranteed by the sauna area with steam bath, vitarium and Finnish sauna as well as the separate, atmospherically designed relaxation room. And for those who want to pay a little more attention to their body, the spa menu offers a wide range of treatments. My tip: the 25-minute Bespoke Massage, where a focus area is “worked on” in a very targeted way.

Belle Epoque Flair beim Weekend Lunch

Now, of course, you could easily spend the whole afternoon on a spa lounger, or you could try your way through the culinary offerings of the Kempinski. This is explicitly aimed not only at hotel guests, but also at Engelberg residents or day trippers who would like to combine their detour to Engelberg with a culinary stopover.

How about an excellent four-course weekend lunch at the Cattani restaurant? The main course is served by the silver food cart, just like in the old days. There are also seasonal, vegetarian dishes to choose from – while the friend tried the lamb, I enjoyed an excellently prepared parsley root for the main course.

The weekend lunch is rounded off with a deliciously assorted cheese and dessert buffet. From our side, both thumbs go up for this culinary experience.

Tea Time Nostalgie

As an alternative to the weekend lunch, the classic afternoon tea is recommended at this point. This is served daily between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. in the light-flooded conservatory. While the Weekend Lunch costs 95 CHF, the Afternoon Tea costs 64 CHF. For this price, you get high-quality tea blends from the Ronnefeldt à discretion tea house. It is accompanied by a selection of sandwiches, classic scones and seasonal sweet bites.

A detour behind the monastery walls

It’s not so easy to get up from the comfortable sofas in the conservatory and go outside into the cold again. But with the beautiful, large snowflakes – real picture-book winter weather – we let ourselves be tempted to take a walk through the center of Engelberg. Our destination: the mighty walls of the Engelberg Monastery, which has played a decisive role in the development of the village since the foundation of the Benedictine abbey in 1120. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 4:00 p.m., one-hour public tours of the monastery take place. Tickets can be easily ordered online via ticketino and cost 12 CHF for adults. A worthwhile detour for those who want to learn more about the 900-year history of the monastery.

Toast & enjoy – Palace Bar and «Cattani»

In the meantime, it has darkened and the illuminated façade of the Kempinski Palace comes into its own. Now it’s time for a trip to the Palace Bar. This is also located behind the almost floor-to-ceiling windows of the listed part of the building. The bar is spacious in terms of floor space and convinces with cozy seating areas. Either by the window with a view of the snow flurry or directly in front of the blazing fireplace. As in the winter garden and in the Cattani Restaurant, external guests are also welcome here in the bar – also with ski boots for après-ski! There are even “slippers” available for this purpose.

The Kempinski Palace sees itself as a sparring partner for the holiday destination Engelberg and wants to move forward together. Be it in the establishment of new traditions such as the Christmas Tree Lighting for the 1st Advent or the noticeable regional reference that runs like a red thread through the hotel. Executive Chef Michéle Müller has also gone in search of the best regional products and created a menu for Cattani, where numerous products from local producers are used. And anyway: the light, fresh Palace cuisine tastes great to us. To start with, GaultMillau gives you 14 points – well-deserved, in my opinion.

Practical tips for your time-out at the Kempinski Palace Engelberg

  • The Kempinski Palace Engelberg is open all year round and is therefore also great for a short break in the low season.
  • Depending on the season, category and package, room rates start at 470 CHF per night/room. If you book early via the website, you will benefit from early bird discounts.
  • Kempinski Palace Engelberg is a child-friendly hotel. The Kids Club offers a children’s programme including supervision for children from the age of three.
  • The rooftop spa is also accessible to external guests. The Day Spa offer can be booked full-day (100 CHF) or half-day (70 CHF).
  • This winter, in addition to the Cattani Restaurant in the park in front of the hotel, a culinary addition is to be added in the form of a chalet (spoiler: you can’t do without fondue and raclette in a classic Swiss holiday destination).
  • If the weather is bad, you can also take a trip to Lucerne from Engelberg.

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On the website of the Kempinski Palace Engelberg you can buy vouchers as well as package vouchers. How about surprising your loved ones at Christmas with a voucher for a day spa, an afternoon tea or maybe even a mini time-out in the beautiful snow-covered Engelberg?


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