Hotel Schlüssel: Part of old-town Lucerne since 1545.

The foundation of today's Hotel and Restaurant Schlüssel in Lucerne was laid in the 16th century as part of the buildings along the Krienbach together with the city wall, the Burgertor and the «Barfüsser» monastery – only 2 storys high. The Renaissance door lintel shows the year of construction of the late Gothic stone house, still visible today, as 1545.  The sandstone lintel shows pure Renaissance forms. The shell lunette with the small emblem of two crossed keys is framed by an engraved arch resting on the heads of a lion and a lioness. On the arch lie two grotesque dragon creatures.

The first host and a high visitor from Rome.

In the chronicle of the Lucerne City Archives, Hans von Lauffen is mentioned for the first time in 1591 as burgher and host of the inn «Schlüssel» in the lower town of Lucerne. Standing under the shield or tavern with papal keys and the triple crown, the inn housed Charles Borromeo, Cardinal of Milan, in 1570. He had been sent to Lucerne by the Pope in order to found the «Golden» or «Borromean League» on 5 October 1586 to preserve the «right and true Catholic faith». According to local lore, this high-ranking visit helped the «Schlüssel» to gain its reputation of a noble hostel as well as to its entry in the «Martini Plan» – one of the first city maps. Today the restaurant on the first floor is called the «Borromeo Room», still showing the original stained glass windows.

Headquarters for Fraternities

Between 1574 and 1578 the inn «Schlüssel» was the Jesuits' their first housing, college and school in Lucerne, until they were able to move into the «Rittersche Palast». To this day the «Schlüssel» offers accommodation and food to students, whether in the rented apartments built in the 20th century by the Dr. Fritz Roelli Foundation or in «Vrenelis Gärtli» pub and wine bar. Hotel Schlüssel is also the headuwarters of the student fraternity «Zofingia Luzern».

From its very beginning, hotel «Schlüssel» was popular with well-known celebrities  such as Emperor Sigismund, the Austrian Archduke Albrecht or Carl Spitteler. In December 2019 the hotel experienced a second renaissance, both from an architectural and culinary point of view, and was reopened for guests with good taste.


​City Archives Lucern
Meyer, André, Denkmalpflege im Kanton Luzern 1986, in: Jahrbuch der Historischen Gesellschaft Luzern.
Reinle, Adolf, Die Kunstdenkmäler des Kantons Luzern, Band III, Die Stadt Luzern: II. Teil, 1954.
Jenny, Hans, Kunstführer durch die Schweiz, Hrsg. Gesellschaft für Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte, 5. Aufl.
Lauber, Werner, Carl Spitteler in Luzern, in: Luzern im Wandel der Zeiten, Eine Schriftenreihe, Heft 8.