Once upon a time I was on the internet looking for holiday inspiration and I came across this Fairytale Destination article on Netflights (ok…they sent it to me and asked me to write this post. No binding spell was required).
Having a good browse through these wonderful bucket list destinations, including Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany (we should have went when visiting Munich) and Mont Saint Michel in France, made me recollect our stay in the most fabulous of mountain top hotels. More James Bond lair rather than fairytale castle, but magical nonetheless.
It was the Hotel Pitalus-Klum and oddly enough, it was to be found sitting on top of Mount Pilatus, a huge massif overlooking the icy blue waters of Lake Lucerne.
Getting there was part of the charm. We had flown into Geneva (yep, one of our favourite travel hubs) and travelled by train to the almost fairytale worthy town of Lucerne where we spent a few days exploring before embarking on our voyage to Pilatus.
I say voyage as we must have utilised almost every form of Swiss travel mode to reach it.
You can get the train to Alpnachstad which sits at the base of Mt Pilatus from Lucerne, but we chose the dreamier (albeit much slower) boat journey across Lake Lucerne. While I am sure any train journey is Switzerland is scenic, sailing across the lake watching Mt Pilatus swing into view and tower over us was both mesmerizing and frightening.
For on this night, we would be staying at the very top of this behemoth .
However, before checking in, we first had to climb up. Thankfully, no climbing was required and instead we took the Pilatus Cogwheel train, an almost gravity defying (more fairy magic?) experience and the world’s steepest cogwheel railway. The gradient of the track is not the only thing that is steep. At £170 return for a family of four taking a 30 minute journey, it is not the cheapest form of transportation. However, we are not all able to turn pumpkins into carriages that would transport us to our mountain top Junior Superior Suite, suitable for any Princess, but on this occasion destined for my very own Princess Teresa, celebrating her 40th Birthday in style
The faster alternative to the cogwheel trip was to get the cable car and gondola from Kriens (only a few miles from Lucerne) but we felt that the boys would enjoy the cogwheel journey more and fear it less. And boy, was it worth it.
As we climbed Mt Pilatus, we passed Alpine valleys, mountain streams, cowbell adorning cows (well obviously) and even though a tunnel blasted out of the mountain before reaching our destination.
Hotel Pilatus-Klum Review.
We had arrived mid afternoon, just as the last day trippers began their descents and for a while I sensed that we had been transported to the Shining set and had went from a fairytale to a horror story. Other than the bar staff, we were utterly alone
It was eerily quiet and sitting with a beer, only slightly colder than the air, in a deserted bar balcony with the peaks of Swiss Alps as our view, we felt that this was OUR hotel. Our mountaintop lair. That was, of course until a James Bondesque paraglider silently glided past us before taking out two sentries and blowing up the control room (ok, that might only have happened in my mind).
Suitably refreshed, we set off for a walk around the mountain top and quickly discovered how altitude could combine with physical activity to make us feel dizzy and with the wind taking advantage of our exposed position on a precariously narrow 4 inch ledge (ok…again possibly imagining a Bond scenario) we only got so far before turning back, but not without first marvelling at the views.
It was then time to check out our room and while the Pilatus Klum isn’t renowned for the opulence of their rooms, the rooms are immaculate and spacious while the boys could have stood at the window all day
And if there is a better window vista than this in the world, then I will…er, need to go and see it.
With our private balcony, I posed for the best EVER photograph of myself that I have ever seen. Not only was this a night to remember, it is the body shape that I long to recover.
Unfortunately I started to gain the pounds several hours after this was taken, as we feasted on the four course meal that is included in the booking. I am still not sure it was because we were resident in the suite, but we were the last to be seated in the grandest of tables in a restaurant that that would not look out of place in a medieval castle (it seemed impolite to take pictures).
It was then an early night as there is one thing that you don’t want to miss and that is sunrise. We watched as mountains, lakes, valleys and towns were bathed in sunlight and we felt the energy washing over us.
Pilatus is a wonderful and memorable place to stay overnight or even to visit on a day trip. There are many hikes of varying difficulties and activities for all of the family including paragliding, a toboggan run and a rope park which my inner Bond was desperate to play on, but the boys were a little too young to try.
On departing Pilatus, we made our way to the Engleberg and that brought more Swiss adventures…..
Disclaimer: Netflights kindly paid me to reminisce about this trip and write this post.