When it comes to the best places to stay in Lucerne there isn’t anywhere else I can recommend except for the Hotel Des Balances.
Situated right in the heart of the city and located in the old Luzern Guild Hall, the lovely Hotel Des Balances was not only one of the highlights to my visit to Switzerland but also one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at.
At first glance it’s luxurious but not in an in-your-face kind of way
Rather the hotel takes on more of a casual ambience, although after you spend some time in your room and at the restaurant or bar downstairs you can really tell that the quality is there.
I was fortunate enough to spend one night at the Hotel Des Balances and it made for a much more enjoyable visit to one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland.
In this post I want to share my experience at the hotel as well as give a detailed look at what you can expect if you’re planning at staying at one of the best options when it comes to the finest accommodation in Lucerne.
The Hotel Des Balances in Lucerne
Before getting into my personal review I want to share a little bit of the history of the hotel itself.
It was all the way back in 1807 when the first accommodation in the same building that the hotel is in today opened to the public.
It opened as “The Balances Inn” and was renamed the “Hotel Des Balances” in 1837 after some serious renovations and upgrades.
Since then it has been serving locals and visitors alike either with a comfortable place to spend the night or as somewhere to grab a delicious and memorable bite to eat.
It’s not the only interior of the hotel that’s impressive however.
On the exterior the facade is covered in a series of magnificent and eye-catching paintings and even if you’re not staying at the hotel it’s worth it to check it out and capture some photos of the unique facade.
The facade was actually painted in the style of Hans Holbein, a famous Swiss artist, and has become one of the most photographed landmarks in all of Lucerne.
As for the hotel itself, it has about 56 rooms to choose from as well as a restaurant and bar on site.
The location is also superb and many of the views that face the river have an incredible view of the city, the famous covered wooden bridge and it’s even possible to see the Alps off in the distance on a clear day.
With a quick history and a few of the small details out of the way let’s take a look at my experience at the hotel!
My Hotel Des Balances Review
Check-In and Interior
The check-in process at the Hotel Des Balances was very straightforward and everything went quite smoothly.
I actually arrived at the hotel a few hours early and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to check in right away, however this wasn’t a problem and my room was ready right away.
Before checking in I couldn’t help but admire the exterior painted facade of the hotel and walking in up the grand marble staircase I already had a feeling of luxury before even getting into the main lobby.
There wasn’t anybody waiting so I was able to check in right away and the young concierge working at the front desk quickly took my details and provided me with a map and some information about some of the things to do nearby as well as some places to grab a bite to eat or something to drink.
One thing I loved is that I was given a voucher for two free drinks at the hotel bar which was quite unexpected yet appreciated especially after spending a few hours driving to the hotel.
While the Hotel Des Balances is a 4-star Superior Hotel I didn’t feel too out of place like can happen at ultra-fancy places and everyone working was friendly, cordial and more than willing to help me out with anything I needed.
All of the interior revealed a clean, minimalist and modern design and I noted many aspects of historic flair blending in well with the overall modern theme of the hotel.
After the check-in process was complete I grab my suitcase and made my way into the elevator up to my room.
Overall, before I even got to my room I was thoroughly impressed with the service as well as the look of the hotel and I could tell already that I was going to definitely enjoy my stay.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the door to my room was how bright, comfortable and spacious it was.
Then, I noticed the window at the end of the room, realized it opened up onto a balcony and rushed over to see what the view looked like.
I threw open the doors and a huge smile took over my face as I started to admire one of the best views I’ve ever had in a hotel.
The view from the room was incredible and from the small balcony I was able to enjoy a 180-degree view of the city below.
From the balcony I could see the river that passes through the city, the famous wooden covered bridge, the Jesuit Church, the Alps off in the distance and if I peaked my head out even further I could even see Lake Lucerne.
The view was incredible and turned out to be one of the most memorable aspects of my visit to Lucerne.
After admiring the view for close to an hour I made my way back into the hotel room to see what it was all about.
The bed took up a significant amount of space but due to the set-up of the hotel room it didn’t seem too cramped or small, even for two people.
The lighting was soft, there was a small desk in the corner, a comfortable chair to relax on, a full-size mirror and in the storage wardrobe there was even a coffee maker.
There wasn’t any air conditioning but the hotel thankfully had provided me with a fan that kept the room cool throughout the day and during the night I left the windows open to take advantage of the cool Swiss air coming off Lake Lucerne.
The bathroom was equally impressive with modern fixtures, a large shower/bathtub and high quality amenities from L’Occitane.
When I’m traveling one of the most important things to me is having a comfortable bed to sleep on.
I found the bed at the Hotel Des Balances to be quite comfortable, firm and not too soft or springy like you sometimes find at hotels.
The pillows were also soft and enjoyable to sleep on.
From the bed I could even see out the window and balcony door so I was able to enjoy the incredible view of the surrounding area without having to leave the comforts of the cozy mattress.
As a travel blogger I’m always checking to see how reliable and fast the internet connection is wherever I’m spending the night.
I was quite impressed with the wireless speeds at Hotel Des Balances.
Not only was I able to browse the net and check Facebook and Instagram but I was also able to upload photos quickly and I even uploaded a YouTube video in a short period of time.
In many hotels I’ve stayed at I’m not able to upload actual videos online but the the Des Balances this didn’t seem to be a problem and the internet was surprisingly fast and reliable.
The only drawback here is that if the internet is too good, like the case was with this hotel, is that I maybe spent a bit too much time online (although I can hardly complain about great internet so this is more of a bittersweet feature).
With such an impressive hotel and hotel room of course the bathroom followed suit and was equally impressive.
The bathroom wasn’t overly spacious but it didn’t feel cramped or small at all thanks to the layout of all of the different fixtures.
The fixtures themselves, the toilet, sink and shower, were all updated, modern and it wasn’t any problem adjusting the water temperature.
The lighting was ideal and there was even a scale available.
As for the amenities, they were sourced by L’Occitane, which according to my girlfriend is very high quality.
I noticed right away that the soap and shampoo smelled quite nice and it was refreshing to use them later on in the day when I cleaned up for the night.
Having quality amenities is important for hotels and the Hotel Des Balances sure didn’t let me down in that regard.
The towels available were soft and fluffy and one more thing I liked about the lighting was that is was soft and indirect rather than direct and completely shining into your face when you’re trying to use something in the washroom.
It seems that in the bathroom the hotel has paid attention to all the small details and this further adds to the overall positive experience I had staying here.
I checked the price for the hotel for a random night during the week in November and prices start as low as $362 for a double room with city view and range all the way up to $721 for a suite.
This is the total cost for 2 people and the price will vary depending on when you’re traveling and how you book your room in advance.
For Lucerne I would say that these prices are quite reasonable, especially when you compare the quality of comfort and service you’re receiving with the other higher-priced hotels in the city.
One of the main highlights of the Hotel Des Balances is its prime location.
The hotel is located right along the river that cuts through the heart of Lucerne and within a 5-10 minute walk you can reach all of the main popular tourist sights.
It’s only a few minutes further to the Lion Statue and in under 20-minutes you can walk to the top of the hill that offers even more impressive views of the city down below.
Within steps of the front door are a variety of different restaurants, cafes, small shops, bars, clubs, clothing stores, grocery stores and basically anything else you would need for an enjoyable time abroad.
Public transportation can also be accessed quite easily and the main train station is only 15-20 minutes away on foot if you’re arriving by train.
I found the location of the hotel to be ideal for exploring Lucerne and throughout the time I spent in the city I was never too far from the hotel where I couldn’t quickly pop in for a drink or to relax my feet for a few moments.
Breakfast and On Site Restaurant
It’s not often that you find amazing breakfasts at hotels in Europe but the Hotel Des Balances has surprised me yet again in this regard.
Of course there was a selection of your basic breakfast items including fresh juice, sliced meat and cheese spread, a selection of breads, desserts, pastries, cereals, yogurt, iced coffee and a few more delicious breakfast options.
Apart from that there’s also the possibility to order a hot coffee drink, tea and you can even order eggs made how you prefer them.
I actually ordered an omelette with onion and it was perfectly cooked, not too dry and not too runny, so no complaints on my end in that regard.
Breakfast at the hotel was definitely worthwhile and what made it even better was being able to sit on the outdoor terrace and enjoy a view of the river and the buildings on the opposite side during the meal.
One more thing I want to mention is the restaurant that’s at the hotel as well.
The restaurant is called Balances and it’s a well-rated and popular place to eat and drink in the city.
I didn’t get a chance to eat at the restaurant but it has received 14 Gault Millau points and is one of the most highly rated restaurants in all of Lucerne.
There’s also a bar and lounge as well so you’re able to enjoy a nice, cold drink while taking in the lovely view.
Parking and Accessibility
You have two options for parking at this hotel.
You can choose to valet park your car for a fee, which I think was 25 Swiss Francs per day and they will just park your car outside of the hotel.
Alternatively, you can park your car in a covered, secure garage a 5-minute walk from the hotel for about 20 Swiss Francs per day.
I chose the garage since I didn’t want to leave my car parked outside of the hotel in a busy pedestrian area but it’s up to you depending on what your parking preferences are.
Driving in Lucerne is fairly straightforward and I suggest making an effort to arrive before rush hour to avoid any heavy traffic and the tourist crowds.
If you’re visiting Lucerne by train or by airport there are plenty of public transportation options you can use to reach the hotel.
The tram runs quite close to the hotel if you’re arriving by train or you could just walk, it’s not very far at all.
There are also plenty of taxis available that will bring you from the train station or airport but those are a pricier option.
Since the location of the hotel is quite good it’s not that hard to reach regardless of how you’re arriving in the city.
For anyone visiting Lucerne I have highly recommend that you consider staying at the Hotel Des Balances.
It’s a fine establishment in a great location and boasts an incredible on-site restaurant and bar along with a delicious breakfast so all your bases are covered when it comes to the comforts you’re looking to enjoy while you’re traveling.
I enjoyed my stay at the hotel very much and I loved being able to just close my hotel room door behind me and arrive at many of the main tourist sights or explore the old town in just a matter of minutes.
With a modern, elegant and updated design combined with some historic flair the Hotel Des Balances continuously strives to improve and it’s easy to see that the quality is there when you’re staying at the hotel.
I didn’t experience any issues at all and I highly doubt you will either.
Whether it’s your first time exploring Lucerne or you’re back again I highly recommend checking out the Hotel Des Balance if you’re looking for a comfortable, enjoyable and memorable experience in the city.