A hotel entirely dedicated to health and well-being perched on a mountain top? It took a lot of nerve to build this pharaonic project far from urban centers. With 137 rooms, the Waldhotel at Burgenstock Resort is one of Europe’s largest wellness clinics. After his stay there in January 2021, Pascal Languillon, CEO of Luxe Wellness Club, explains why the Waldhotel isone of the best hotels for getting back into shape. On the menu: exceptional dietetic and colorful cuisine, renowned Swiss medical expertise and cutting-edge diagnostics.
An imposing hotel with a highly successful architectural style
We’ve already introduced you to the Waldhotel on our pages, as one of Europe’s finest luxury medispas. This 5-star hotel opened in 2018 and is one of the major new players on the still small scene of clinics dedicated to well-being.
It’s part of the Bürgenstock Resort, a collection of luxury hotels built on top of the Bürgenstock mountain, with magnificent views of Lake Lucerne on one side, and a soothing alpine landscape on the other. As a result, the Waldhotel is entirely turned towards the mountains, without detracting from the beauty of the view.
I was lucky enough to go during a week when it snowed a lot, as the scenery was magnified (I later went back in summer). The first thing that strikes you when you arrive at the hotel is itsunique architecture and imposing size. Modern, uncluttered and yet warm, that’s how I’d describe the style.
The hotel has 9 floors. Several floors are reserved for the spa and medical center, while rooms and suites are located on the upper floors. I particularly liked the glass elevator, and the library with its many books on the healthy lifestyle.
The region’s charm quickly takes hold. Just arriving at the resort from Lucerne is worth the detour, as you have to take a ferry across a magical landscape, and then take the funicular up. Spectacular!
Spacious, welcoming rooms
My room was actually a suite, 914 in the “Suite Alpine” category, measuring 80 m². However, it’s worth noting that all the rooms at the Waldhotel are spacious, with even the first “Deluxe” category boasting a surface area of 40 m². Suites feature a bedroom, living room, dining table with mini bar and coffee machine, plus a large bathroom and dressing room.
Furnishings: very comfortable bedding, two sofas, a desk, as well as two large flat-screen TVs and a Bluetooth radio alarm clock. The icing on the cake: a yoga mat per person in every room!
Particularly appreciated in winter, the living room contains a gas fireplace which I was quick to light at the touch of a button as soon as I returned to the suite.
The bathrooms feature a large shower, bidet, two basins and a bathtub with a TV screen built into the wall. The courtesy products are from the luxury brand BVLGARI.
Located on the 9th floor, this suite offers unobstructed views, pictured below. Given the weather conditions, I wasn’t able to take advantage of the balcony, but I imagine it must be very pleasant in summer…
Having visited other rooms and suites, I can attest that they are all just as beautiful. In the end, the furnishings and style are very similar whatever your choice of room, with only the size really changing.
A comprehensive medical center
The Waldhotel is more than just a hotel, it’s a medical center that’s also open to outside guests. So it’s possible to follow a health program without having to stay there.
The medical center has numerous diagnostic and treatment rooms, and all the main medical sectors are represented, with the exception of ophthalmology. These include a medical laboratory, cardiology, pneumology and dermatology departments, a dentist and a pharmacy.
This makes the Waldhotel one of the best places in Europe to get a complete health check-up in one place, and in a comfortable stay. The Waldhotel Medical Check-up, available for 3225 Swiss francs, includes a complete blood test, a urine analysis, a lung capacity test and an electrocardiogram, a bone density test, a mobility test, a dental check-up, a metabolism and calorimetry test, and a dermatological examination to detect the beginnings of skin cancer. All this takes place over 3 days. To my knowledge, no other wellness hotel offers such a comprehensive diagnostic package.
The medical center also stands out for its rehabilitation center, with numerous physiotherapists and dedicated rooms, as well as 23 rooms accessible to people with mobility problems. This makes the Waldhotel an ideal place to recover after an operation.
Among the many health programs on offer are the Detox Pro and Weight Loss Pro weight control and detox programs, as well as anti-aging and physiotherapy treatments.
All medical programs include a dose of dietary supplements to be taken for 30 days. The center also boasts a boutique, Waldtique, selling countless high-end cosmetics. These include Skinceuticals, Susanne Kaufman and Biologique Recherche.
The Waldhotel Spa: a bubble of well-being
Naturally, the spa plays a central role in all fitness programs. Unlimited spa access is included with every overnight booking. These include a 32°C indoor pool with counter-current system, a 35°C outdoor pool with various massage jets, and hot and cold Kneipp baths (35°C and 16°C).
The mixed men’s and women’s zone includes an 80°C Finnish sauna, a 60°C aromatic sauna, a 50°C hammam, a 10°C ice room and a 30°C salt grotto. The water beds are ideal for further relaxation.
There’s also a women’s section with a bio-sauna and hammam, and a dedicated relaxation room. While the spa is resolutely modern, theatmosphere is warm and inviting, and it’s easy to imagine yourself lounging there all day long.
The center also boasts a large fitness room equipped with ultra-sophisticated machines from Matrix, one of the world’s leading brands of professional cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening equipment.
I had the opportunity to do a cryotherapy session in the Icelab. The Waldhotel’s Icelab has three refrigerated chambers, at three different temperatures – the first room is at -10°C, leading on to -60°C and finally “the big cold” at -110°C. All you need to wear is your swimsuit, closed shoes, gloves, ear protection and a paper mask to cover your nose and mouth. Guided by the therapist, I managed to spend 2.5 minutes in the cold room at -110°C, and found it surprisingly bearable given the almost 0% humidity. My technique for staying long is not to stay static, so I danced a little with slow movements.
Extreme cold is a powerful stimulus over almost the entire surface of the body, triggering a series of beneficial reactions via the body’s nervous system, hormones and metabolism. The effects are not just physical, as cold stimulation also triggers the powerful release of endorphins, which enhance the feeling of well-being. As you leave the Icelab, you feel a pleasant tingling sensation on your skin, a great adrenaline rush, and a deep sense of relaxation. This therapy is indicated for reducing pain, rheumatism and sleep disorders. What’s more, skin looks radiant, just like after an intensive facial.
The Waldhotel’s colorful cuisine: a remarkable concept
Nutrition plays a major role in health and well-being, and the Waldhotel understands this. The Verbena restaurant offers dietetic cuisine created by Austrian chef Martin Stein, the former head chef of VIVAMAYR Altaussee. The diet applied here was devised in partnership with nutritionist Kati Dinkel, who advises guests individually according to their needs. It precisely calculates the number of calories each person needs to ingest to reach their goals.
The Waldhotel has invented a remarkable concept that is unique in the world : that of a kitchen where each day corresponds to a color and health benefits. So, on Mondays, all dishes are white, and they promote healthy brain function. On Tuesdays, all the dishes are yellow, with anti-aging properties. Wednesday is green, and the dishes help the immune system. Thursday is orange, Friday red, Saturday purple and Sunday green again. I loved this concept, which is as beautiful to look at as it is good to eat.
So my Monday lunch was white. For starters, cauliflower panacotta, followed by a soup of tuberous parsley, to finish with a delicious fillet of perch and fennel brandade. Delicious!
The food served at the Waldhotel is mainly alkaline, at around 80%. In terms of calories, the menus provide around 1250 to 1500 Kcalories per day. Unlike other establishments specializing in detox cures, you won’t go hungry when you leave the Verbena restaurant. However, for detox and weight-loss programs, menus can be lighter. Everything is customized to suit the customer. Breakfasts are gluten-free and easy to digest.
Another special feature of the Waldhotel is that it offers diet cooking classes, so that guests can repeat the recipes back home. In fact, the good habits acquired at the hotel must be carried over into everyday life if they are to have a long-term effect.
Although the Waldhotel has only recently entered the world of medi-spas, it is already a must for those seeking a complete health check-up. With its perfected cuisine and numerous medical experts, all the ingredients are here to get back into shape in an idyllic setting.Luxe Wellness Club
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Rates: Health programs from 3,000 euros to 5,000 euros per person, plus rooms from around 600 euros per night.
Exclusive benefits for Luxe Wellness Club guests: free room upgrade subject to availability, possibility of arriving earlier and leaving later than the official check-in/check-out time, VIP status.
Call us for the USA: +1 (646) 980 6652 or for the UK: +44 20 4577 3258 to discuss your holiday plans.