When the Gotthard railway, with its famous Gotthard tunnel, was opened on June 1st, 1882, nobody in central Switzerland had even dreamt of the enormous boom in tourism that was going to take place.

Even so, the construction of hotels in the tourist destination of Lucerne had been one of the most attractive jobs for architects from the middle of the 19th century onwards. Built in 1909-1910, on the former site of the "Nidlenpalast" (dairy), and designed by the architects Möri & Krebs, in a palatial style, the HOTEL MONTANA was one of the last classical style hotels to be built in Lucerne.

In 1910, the HOTEL MONTANA, in a unique location on the hillside above the Palace Hotel, was opened by the enterprising hotelier Alfred Schraemmli (1887 -1932), son-in-law of the then owner of the Palace Hotel, Bucher-Durrer. At the same time, an electric funicular railway was also built to take guests from the lakeside promenade directly to the hotel lobby, in just one minute. The opening of the hotel however, unfortunately coincided with the outbreak of the First World War, which also marked the start of a long period of depression in the hotel business.

Ever since 1944, the building has belonged to the "Hotel & Gastro Union" (the Swiss Central Association for Hotel and Restaurant Employees). Far-sighted members of the association made the courageous decision to reopen the hotel as a first class establishment. At the same time, the association's Swiss School of Hotel Management (SHL) moved into new classrooms in the west wing, and the administration of the "Hotel & Gastro Union" was also proud to take up its new offices on the 1st floor. The new Swiss School of Hotel Management, located on the hillside just below the hotel, was opened in 1987. Since then, the school and the hotel have been separately run.

From 1975 until 1993, the hotel closed each winter so that the alterations and renovation needed to meet the high standards expected of a 4 star hotel could be carried out. The creation of the "Art Deco Hall" in 1993 revived the original art deco style of the building, and from then on, the hotel, complete with conference and seminar facilities, has remained open all year round.

The rooms on the second and third floors were renovated in Art Deco style in 1997. The renovation of the façade was begun in 1999 and completed in April 2000 - just in time for the 90th birthday of the ART DECO HOTEL MONTANA! The final part of the complete renovation of the hotel - the 4th and 5th floors - was also completed in 2002, by Pia Schmid (star architect from Zurich). Also renovated, for the first time in the history of the hotel, were the two towers, now housing two breathtaking tower suites. The ART DECO HOTEL MONTANA is now, from the entrance right to the tip of the towers, completely in Art Deco style.