Sleepover: Hotel Terrace

A bed for the night in Switzerland
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The Independent Travel

The location

At the top of a tiny funicular, on a terrace above the sleepy town of Engelberg, set deep in the mountains south of Lucerne. The mountain train takes an hour to rachet its way 37km up the Aa valley from Lake Lucerne.


You really do step into the past at Hotel Terrace. The rickety red funicular that takes you up to the hotel from the village is exactly as it was in 1905 when Colonel Gottfried Fassbind opened his new hotel to coincide with the completion of the railway line to Engelberg. The Art Nouveau hotel has kept the majority of its public areas unchanged.

The comfort factor

In a hotel that hasn't changed much in 100 years, you're not going to get high-speed lifts or luxurious bathrooms. Each room has its own French windows and a small balcony but the walls are thin and the shower rooms could be mistaken for cupboards. Nevertheless, beds have fluffy, white duvets to sink into and the armchairs down in the portico are ideal for a snooze after afternoon tea.

The bathroom

If you want a dressing gown and slippers, you'd better bring your own. Fortunately, the sauna and dampfbad in the basement are much more state-of-the-art. This is where you'll go to get clean after a day on the mountains, (providing you don't mind the uninhibited Swiss custom of mixed showering).

The food and drink

There are three eateries. Palace Stübli, an intimate restaurant off the portico; Belle Epoque, a vast buffet restaurant that deserves to be in a Gothic movie; and the open-air terrace that overlooks Engelberg.

The people

Like Engelberg itself, Hotel Terrace is mainly visited by Swiss, German, Austrian and French families who come for the skiing or the autumn colours. However, in May it is packed with Indian film crews shootingscenes for Bollywood movies.

The area

Engelberg was founded in 1120 as a Benedictine monastery state and the monastery is still there on the edge of the town, worth a look for the cheese factory and shop in its grounds.

The access

There is lift access for disabled guests. Children are welcome.

The damage

Crystal (0870 160 6040; is offering three nights at Hotel Terrace from £385.

The address

Hotel Terrace, Terracestrasses 33, CH-6390 Engelberg, Switzerland, (00 41 41 639 6666;