My husband, 2 teenage sons, and I stayed one night at the Hotel Pilatus-Kulm in June of 2006 and it was a fantastic experience! This hotel is truly unique, in so many ways, and it will make any trip memorable!
I'm not much of a mountain person, so at first I wasn't sure about the idea of staying the night at the very top of a mountain in Switzerland, but of course our teenagers loved the idea, and in the end, it turned out to be one of the best things about our European vacation.
Actually making the reservation was a little difficult, as I found the hotel website procedure confusing. (http://www.pilatus.ch/news2-n92-sE.html) But once that was done, the hard part was over!
First of all, getting there is an experience, as the only ways to go are by the steepest cogwheel railway in the world (or so they advertise), or by a series of cable cars that run from Kriens through Frakmuntegg. We chose the cable cars, and we were on the last run of the evening; after stopping at Frakmuntegg to let the boys ride the summer toboggan, we arrived at the top of the mountain around 6 pm. On the cable car with us was a young man with a big pack, who it turned out, we would watch a little later as he sail-glided back down the mountain. Other than that, we were almost alone at the top of Mount Pilatus that night (we made up 4 out of a total of 7 guests in the hotel that night), which gave us practically the entire mountain top to ourselves!
There are actually 2 hotels at the top of the mountain, the Pilatus Kulm and the Bellevue, which is more expensive (it's newer and has bathrooms insuite). We were perfectly happy to pay less and walk a few steps down the hall to the bathroom, which was great considering that we had practically the entire hotel to ourselves!
The Pilatus Kulm was built in 1890, before there were cable cars or railways to the top, so all the materials were carried on the backs of men to the top of the mountain. We found the history fascinating, and there is a historical pictorial display in the hotel. There is also a "dragon path" outside, fully illustrated; our boys enjoyed walking along that, as well as walking along all the other paths and non-paths they could find on the mountain peak, while I buried my fears for them by logging onto the internet in the lobby and checking email.
Although we were there in June, there was an unusual cold spell that year, and several feet of snow had fallen the previous week. Imagine the delight of our sons (we live in South Texas) to have snow to play in during the summer!
The hotel itself was charming, I thought -- the rooms were non-standard, as is probably usual of their era. We were greeted by bottled water and chocolates, and the absolute best view from our window that we could have bought anywhere! (that alone was worth much more than we spent to stay in the hotel)
Dinner and breakfast were both served in the hotel's restaurant, and our table was set in style, including nametags for "Frau" and "Herr" _______ (our last name). The food was very good, and tasted all the better for being served in the crisp high altitude, with fantastic views of mountain peaks all around us. That night we played cards at a table in front of the window, enjoying the view and the quiet of having the mountaintop to ourselves.
Overall, this is absolutely one of the best places I've ever stayed in Europe, and if you savor unique experiences without spending a fortune, this is the place for you!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.