(Burgenstock) A postcard setting. Perched above a lake, the luxury Burgenstock hotel complex, where a summit on peace in Ukraine is being held this weekend, is used to receiving stars and diplomats.

All eyes will be on this luxurious palace on Saturday and Sunday when representatives of 90 states and organizations from around the world gather there.

This resort, both traditional and futuristic, has welcomed wealthy clients for over 150 years.

Hollywood cinema icon, Audrey Hepburn celebrated her first marriage there, in 1954, and lived there in a villa. The first actor to play James Bond on screen, Sean Connery, stayed there during the filming of Goldfinger (1964).

Former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi met Charlie Chaplin there, and Queen Ingrid of Denmark is also on the list of celebrities who have stayed there.

Italian actress Sophia Loren owned a chalet there.

Having reopened in 2017 following several years of works, it includes several hotel facilities, extensive wellness facilities and a series of gourmet restaurants, as well as villas and residences.

The royal suite can be worth more than 16,000 Swiss francs (around 16,500 euros) per night, excluding taxes, while a simple room in a chalet can cost 320 francs.  

The Burgenstock Resort opened in 1873. The Palace Hotel was added in 1903. The Qatari group Katara Hospitality, controlled by the Qatar sovereign wealth fund, took it over in 2007.

Located a few kilometers from Lucerne, in the heart of central Switzerland, the resort is nestled on a spectacular 1128 meter mountain ridge, dropping steeply into Lake Lucerne.

Located 450 meters above the lake, almost completely surrounded by water, it is easy to control its arrival despite its 60 hectares of surface area.  

“The choice fell on the Burgenstock because its geographical location allows the conference to be as secure as possible. The Burgenstock is not located in an urban area, while remaining easy to access,” explained the Swiss authorities.

Around two thirds of the costs of the conference on Ukraine (capped at between 10 and 15 million francs) are dedicated to security.

It can be reached by road, or by boat followed by a funicular (the route is 929 metres long with an altitude difference of 440 metres), or via a hiking trail followed by a dizzying lift, 152.8 metres high, the highest outdoor lift in Europe.

The small Buochs ​​airport, at the foot of the mountain, can accommodate private jets and helicopters.

In total, there are 360 ​​homes and around 700 employees.

Switzerland decides where the hundreds of expected participants will stay. Not everyone will be able to spend the night in the complex.

Former Israeli prime ministers David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir stayed there, as did West Germany’s first post-war chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, and Jimmy Carter, before becoming president of the United States.

Many political leaders and personalities from around the world came there to participate in 1960, 1981 and 1995 in the very confidential annual Bilderberg meeting, which brings together European and North American political and economic leaders around global issues. A secret that fuels countless conspiracy theories.

In 2002, the Sudanese government and rebels signed a six-month ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains, under the aegis of the United States and Switzerland.  

In 2004, however, discussions between Greece and Turkey on the reunification of Cyprus failed under the leadership of Kofi Annan, then Secretary General of the UN.

In 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the complex was scheduled to host the World Economic Forum (WEF), usually held in Davos, but the meeting was ultimately moved to Singapore, before being canceled.