Hotel Baur Au Lac is credited for having been the location where the Nobel Peace Prize was born. In 1892, Bertha von Suttner convinced Alfred Nobel that this would serve to inspire all of humanity.
Step inside this magnificent hotel and you will discover a time well spent surrounded by luxury, history, and service that can not be compared to most of Europe but only to Switzerland, where the standards of excellence in hospitality are Par None. No place throughout our journey and series for LuxEcoLiving’s Best Hotels in the World for 2015 can compare.
Home to international dignitaries, Baur Au Lac boasts great history. One of my favorite experiences was visiting the palace of the Empress of Austria and while visiting here I was shown the room where Austria’s Empress Elisabeth spent a whole summer with two princes and an entourage of 60 people.
The founder of Baur Au Lac
Opened originally by Johannes Baur in 1844, his vision was one of beauty with a special need to encapsulate nature. Built beside Lake Zurich with a view of the Alps, guests came from far and wide. The German Emperor Wilhelm II was added to a long list of European notables. Composers Richard Wagner premiered the first act of “Die Walküre” in the Baur Au Lac singing himself and accompanied on the piano by his father-in-law, Franz Liszt. The world’s most esteemed, whether it was musical icons like Arthur Rubinstein, Zubin Mehta, Placido Domingo and Elton John or artists, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, and our acquaintance Fernando Botero… they all have left their legendary imprints for guests who come to relax in the surrounds of glimmering crystals that hang from the centerpiece chandelier, or dine in the Michelin starred restaurant, The Pavillon and experience Laurent Eperon incredible cuisine.
Perhaps its the ambiance that dictates its founding and the fact that Swedish industrialist, Alfred Nobel, not only created the need for the international peace prize but marked the very spot in the hotel’s own history for its birth. In 1853, in this tiny enclave overlooking Lake Zurich the prize came to be.
And because this is a remarkable family tradition, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that the descendants of Johannes Baur took on the most pressing challenge in the hotel’s history…noted to be the largest innovatory project in Swiss hotel history, the Faberge of all European hotels was transformed and under went a complete renovation.
It was an exceptionally fitting opportunity for Jim and me to reserve this experience to be our last for our series, LuxEcoLiving’s Best Hotels in the World 2015. We had seen the Alps and experienced the new contemporary and warm luxury of The Alpina Gstaad, stepped out on our terrace overlooking Lake Geneva at Le Richemond, and enjoyed one of the most pleasurable of all forms of transportation, Eurorail.
So if the sight and sound of cows and their musical bells entice you to discover the unparalleled views of lush green hillsides, adding the smooth, almost silent sound aboard the tracks, which have carried countless passengers between these destinations… I encourage you to visit Baur Au Lac and rejoice in the resplendent pleasures of a tradition that can never be matched or experienced anywhere else.
Baur Au Lac
A special thank you to Britta Matthesius for her insight and guidance.