Once a luxury destination, today a holiday and leisure resort for everyone
The small village of Morschach, situated on a sunny plateau high above Lake Lucerne, can look back on an eventful tourist history. Hardly anyone still knows where and what luxury hotels and tourist leisure facilities stood here a hundred years ago and where kings and high society spent their holidays. Unfortunately, almost no traces are visible today. Only old photos and postcards document the illustrious history. More than 60 years after the demise of its former heyday, Morschach has once again become a popular holiday destination. The modern and largest holiday and leisure resort in Switzerland can boast 160,000 overnight stays annually and attracts all generations. With four accommodation categories and a leisure park for day guests, there is now something for every budget.
At the end of the 19th century, the successful Grand Hotel Axenfels (opened in 1869) attracted an illustrious and noble society. The feudal hotel offered its guests every conceivable luxury. Shortly afterwards, another noble hotel was built, the Palace Axenfels, which opened in 1874 and also benefited from the tourist boom. The two hotels offered guests amenities such as tennis courts, a swimming pool and a golf course, which was pure luxury for the time. A walkway led to the pleasure garden, today called Waldpark, with its magnificent view of Lake Lucerne and the Alps of Uri. Like Queen Victoria, other aristocrats and many other guests from higher society were delighted by the luxurious facilities and this incredibly beautiful place.
What is taken for granted today was the absolute non plus ultra back then. Showers in the rooms, electric light or a lift were not a matter of course at that time. The golf course was one of the first and most beautiful of its time and even a large outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts were among the amenities to pass the time. In 1905, a rack railway was built from Brunnen to Morschach and the Axenstein. The journey took 15 minutes. Operations ceased in 1969 and the railway was demolished. The former track and artificial structures can still be seen in places.
The Belle Epoque period, which lasted from 1884 to 1914, was a time of economic prosperity. Morschach, with its unique location, was able to benefit from these golden times until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. With the outbreak of the First World War, the Belle Époque came to an end, as did the glamorous times of Morschach. After the two world wars, tourism in Morschach came to a complete standstill. The luxury buildings were demolished.
It was not until the 1980s that Morschach experienced a tourist revival. The architect and general contractor Meinrad Camenzind wanted to build on the former heyday and reawaken Morschach as a tourist stronghold. The Hotel Axenfels was built in 1983, opened in 1984 and is now part of the Swiss Holiday Park resort. At the time, the hotel was the largest in the canton of Schwyz. Camenzind's vision, however, was not only to build a hotel, but also to create a multifunctional seminar, sports and leisure park. In 1988, the second construction phase began and the apartment houses "Rütli", "Bauen" and "Schiller" were built, with a total of 250 beds in 50 apartments of different sizes, in order to offer families ideal accommodation. In 1993, the third stage of construction on the opposite side of the road saw the realisation of the leisure park and congress centre. In this complex, facilities for various sports and leisure activities were built on three levels. On the 4th level, simple, functional group accommodation, the hostel, with a total of 140 beds for families and clubs was also built. In 1996 the leisure and congress centre was put into operation. The resort now consisted of the leisure park with indoor and outdoor sports facilities and the three accommodation segments of hotel, group accommodation (hostel) and the holiday apartments in the REKA holiday village. However, the project was not under a lucky star. In 2002, the Schwyzer Kantonalbank took over the shares of the ailing Swiss Holiday Park AG. A new era dawned. Immediately, under the direction of Walter Trösch, various renovation projects were initiated to improve the quality and expand the range of services. New strategies were also developed. These included values that had already played an important role in the Belle Epoque. Tranquillity, holidays, relaxation, hiking and new, in keeping with today's zeitgeist: wellness. The resort also became one of the most popular seminar hotels in Switzerland. Thanks to an excellent, far-sighted management, successes were finally recorded again. In 2014, the strategy was adjusted again, as the wellness trend flattened out and the seminar market also began to stagnate. Today, the focus is on families. The offer, which was already very attractive for this target group at the time, has been and continues to be expanded and takes into account today's diverse family forms, which consist of traditional families, single parents, patchwork families and multi-generational families. However, the offers are not exclusively aimed at families, but at all age groups and interests. The seminar sector also continues to be an important pillar. The transformation from the former luxury destination into an uncomplicated leisure and seminar resort has been completed. In 2014, the neighbouring farm, which was converted into the Erlebnishof Fronalp, was integrated into the resort, which now covers over 15.5 hectares. The offers such as horse riding for children, watching the farmer milking and much more are also aimed at the target group of families. With over 260 employees, the Swiss Holiday Park is one of the most important employers in the region and continues the tourist tradition. Morschach, as one of the smallest areas in the canton of Schwyz, has grown into the largest holiday and leisure resort in Switzerland and has bridged the gap from the Belle Epoque to the present. Morschach, with the Swiss Holiday Park and a few small accommodation establishments, can boast the highest bed occupancy rate in Switzerland. Today, the Swiss Holiday Park offers over 120 leisure activities. These guarantee that no one will be bored here. Open all year round, the resort is fortunate to have a very central location. The resort can be reached from all over Switzerland within a short time and is therefore a sought-after place for a short holiday. Other plus points are the weather independence thanks to many indoor attractions, the countless excursion possibilities , but also the uniquely beautiful location, which already delighted Queen Victoria in the Belle Epoque.