A weekend at the Lenkerhof
Imagine yourself in a busy week. Overloded with tons of work and it's been a long time you have seen the blue sky from somewhere else rather than your office window. I knew it was time for a spontaneous getaway in between my finals and decided very last minute to drive to Lenk in Simmental - a place I have not even heard of before. Tough I was surprised to find it in the Swiss German area so I could at least feel a bit more like home than in the French section. That friday the weather was simply picturesque like in a movie! I couln't believe this was actually Switzerland when I was driving toward the hotel, gorgeous views, green fields, snow capped mountains and 28 degrees celsius. After a two-hours drive from Lausanne, I arrived at the cozy town of Link in the furthest part of the Simmen Valley. The only way up lead to the hotel which seemed to be the number one property in the entire region occupying an entire road and rising like a grand hotel slightly above the town.
As soon as I stopped the car in front of the entrance, a nice lady from the front desk arrived (Ms Priska) and helped me with my luggage and accompanied me to the front desk. I was offered a seat along with refreshing towel, welcome drink and an amuse bouche. There's no better way to start a short weekend-getaway. During the tour through the property it felt like a time travel. I did not know that the Lenkerhof was already used as a hotel a long time ago and counts as the second oldest grand hotel after the Trois Rois in Basel. Honestly, due to the modern appeal of the interior and the fact of being totally renovated 14 years ago, I did never expect that fact. There are two different types of style in the hotel: one offers nostalgic styled rooms and suites while the other building (first building) has complimentary styled rooms - last year they renovated 11 Superior rooms and 6 more this year - there's always a progress and that's what makes the rooms unique. Lucky me I got a room in the main building that also had the elevator accessing the gourmet restaurant and spa.
Once I openend the door of my Senior Suite, I was welcomed by the signature smell of the hotel and lots of daylight thanks to the windows facing the balcony and the majestic glacier. The entire suite was wonderfully decorated and all the details were done in a nice way. They had exclusive magazines, a welcome gift as well as a complimentary minibar. Next to the entree there was a very modern bathroom in grey tiles with a separate toilet and walk-in shower as well as a bath tub with double basins. All toiletries were provided and were some of the best smelling hotel branded toiletries I had so far. Unfortunately there was only one bath towel as I booked the room for single use, same for the pillow. This is totally okay for me and I used the towel two times and felt good by saving the environment.
The main purpose for my stay being spa and gourmet, I was very excited to see their famous spa. Indeed the entire spa is very spacious and spread over two floors. On the second floor you can find the indoor pool as well as the all-year heated outdoor pool overlooking the stunning surrounding and glaciers. The hotel has its own sulphuric source and swimming in the pool is not just pleasure but also a benefit for your health. Getting a soft skin was never easier :) On the first floor there was the gym as well as the sauna area with lots of different saunas, a relaxation room and a snack bar. How can a Sunday be better spent than lying on the green field under the blue sky, listening to the birds, overlooking the magnificent mountains while breathing in the best air in the world. Before I could head to the restaurant, I had to stop at the wine cellar where they have a complimentary wine tasting (of 3 wines selected by the somelier) from 6bpm where guests meet and talk about their day. It's a great way to socialize and I loved it.
The main highlight was the gourmet restaurant tough. I arrived at 8.00 pm and was seated in the winter garden overlooking the town. Immediately after I made myself comfortable on the table, the head waiter arrived, introduced her and her colleague plus handed me over the menu. As one of the most unique half boards I have ever seen, Lenkerhof offers the possibility to order as much as 16 courses from their daily changing menu which is simply gorgeous from my point of view. You can choose from 3 cold starters, 2 soups, 3 warm starters, 4 main dishes, cheese and 3 desserts - or take all of them. Being awarded with 16 points by Gault Milau (restaurant rating in Germany, Austria and Switzerland), the restaurant is predicted to be one of the best in the area of Bern and I can confirm, the food was extremely delicious. From the perfect foie gras combo, most wonderful St Jacob's scallops to a perfect asparagus risotto and saddle of roe deer - every dish was flawless and wonderfully presented. Before I had a look onto the cheese buffet, I had the pleasure to meet the chef of the restaurant who turned out to be a super cool young guy who loves what he does and is passionate as we when it comes to food trends and restaurants. The evening was simply perfect and for me the food and chef is a reason itself to stay at the Lenkerhof!
Breakfast was also very nice and is served in form of a buffet. I got the same table I had for dinner tough the staff changed. Maybe I was not spending too much time on the table as I wanted to head to the pool again, because nobody ever arrived and asked me for any egg or coffee orders. This was not a big issue as there was a coffee machine on the buffet, however I wished someone has asked me for my egg preference. All in all I had a truly wonderful experience at one of Switzerland's best hotels for sure. The location is perfect and the surrounding is really optimal if you wanna leave the hotel for a day, altough there is no reason as the spa is very nice, the food perfect and the rooms very stylish. I can't wait for my next available weekend, I will most likely return just to enjoy the magnificent view and delicious dinner.