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October 11, 2012updated Feb 11, 2013

Lucerne through the Eyes of a Local

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Lucerne and the Chapel BridgeMount PilatusPalace HotelLouis Bar at the Montana HotelLucerne, Switzerland – Reported by Sascha Moeri for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

Set against a panoramic mountain backdrop, Lucerne is idyllically situated on the lake of the same name, which is home to the elegant swans that are part of the city’s identity. A popular destination for tourists on their journey through central Switzerland, Lucerne boasts a wealth of attractions, beautiful architecture and world-class boutiques.

Spanning the river and forming the centerpiece of Lucerne’s cityscape is the medieval Chapel Bridge, one of the oldest covered wooden bridges in Europe – a landmark very frequently photographed and recognizable around the world. If I am abroad and look at a picture of the Chapel Bridge, it means “homeland” to me!

The nearby mountains – Rigi, Stanserhorn and Pilatus, the brooding peak that overlooks the city – provide ample opportunity for hiking and skiing. Mount Pilatus, with an altitude of 2,132 meters, has two aerial cableways, two hotels, seven restaurants, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, central Switzerland’s largest suspension rope park and Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run. The mountain offers hours of enjoyment not to be missed during a stay in Lucerne.

With respect to accommodation, the iconic Palace Hotel, built directly on the lake over a century ago, has a rich and colorful history. Guests have included heads of state and countless celebrities: A must for any visitor! www.palace-luzern.ch

For a more contemporary setting I can recommend no better place than The Hotel. It was designed by French star architect Jean Nouvel, who was also responsible for the city’s Culture and Convention Center. The Hotel is an eclectic cross-section of his work and bears his signature of sleek, modern flair. www.the-hotel.ch

For a stylish ambience where you can relax, enjoy a wonderful meal, reflect and be inspired, I highly recommend the restaurant at the Schweizerhof Hotel. www.schweizerhof-luzern.ch

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One of my favorite haunts in Lucerne is the Weisses Schloss (White Castle) restaurant: A delightful setting with an elegant tree-shaded terrace that offers an authentic menu of Asian-influenced food.

For a genuine Swiss cuisine experience, I recommend the restaurant at the Hotel des Balances. Weather permitting, there is simply nothing to beat sitting on the terrace overlooking the Reuss River that flows through the middle of the city. You have a superb view of the Chapel Bridge with its Water Tower, both icons of Lucerne. It is the perfect place to pass the time of day, meet friends and network. www.balances.ch

One of the highlights of any evening in town is a visit at the Montana Hotel’s Louis Bar. With its distinctive design, the bar is named after legendary jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong. And looking down at the amazing view of the city with one of my favorite cigars in hand, the Partages D No 4, I can’t help agreeing with Satchmo that this really is a wonderful world. www.hotel-montana.ch

The epicenter of jewelry and watch shopping in Lucerne is the famous Bucherer store at Schwanenplatz, which has attracted an elite clientele since it first opened in 1888. Today, the five-story building houses 26 jewelry and watch brands in addition to its own prestigious watch brand, Carl F. Bucherer.

The Bucherer store is a magnet for the thousands of international visitors from every corner of the globe who are looking for an authentic Swiss retailer that still offers the customized personal service traditionally associated with a luxury store of this caliber. www.bucherer.com

About the author: CEO of Bucherer Montres S.A. since November 2010, Sascha Moeri was previously vice president at Milus International in Biel, CEO of Milus Europe GmbH and CFO of Milus USA Inc. Moeri’s well-founded national and international knowledge of the watch industry comes from stints at companies like the Swatch Group and Michel Jordi. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration, and while still working, completed a joint MBA from the New York State University in Albany and the Lorange Institute of Business, Zurich. He was born in Switzerland and grew up in Biel, the cradle of watchmaking at the foot of the Swiss Jura.

Contact: Carl F. Bucherer, a brand of Bucherer Montres S.A., 41-41-369-70-70; info@carl-f-bucherer.com; www.carl-f-bucherer.com

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