The aristocracy of Switzerland began acquiring a taste for the Swiss Alps as early as the 1760s. Lucerne—a small fishing village at the foothills of the Alps, with its temperate climate and easy access by road and rail—made the perfect launching pad for hiking and mountaineering. By 1835, the first hotel opened in Lucerne and the city soon grew into one of the largest tourist destinations in the country. In 1903, Swiss entrepreneur Franz Josef Bucher purchased a plot of land on the north shore of Lake Lucerne for $900,000 Swiss francs. After a three-year construction, Palace Hotel Luzern opened its doors, setting a new standard of luxury for hospitality, not just in Switzerland, but in Europe at large.