History Grand Hotel Giessbach

Grand Hotel Giessbach

This one of Switzerland's famous historic hotels was once even saved by the democratic action of the "Giessbach to the Swiss People" foundation.

It rests majestically in its unique setting high above lake Brienz and right next to the foaming Giessbach waterfalls.

Surrounded by mountains, forest and meadows, offering a breathtaking view on the unspoilt scenery of lake Brienz, Giessbach is a flowered oasis far away from every-day stress and from the nuisances of our time. Today we find a superb turn-of-the-century residence in unique setting, 70 guest rooms and suites, 140 beds, old world charm and elegance combined with every modern comfort, conference rooms, beautiful ball-rooms and banquet rooms, gardens, terraces, playground, vast idyllic park, tennis court and outdoor swimming pool, bar 'La Cascade', Parkrestaurant with Orangerie and terrace, gourmet restaurant Le Tapis Rouge with terrace and its spectacular view on to the lake and the mountains, billiard, library and last but not least a famous cable train.

The history of the hotel is inseperably linked with the water falls, which became popular during the 19th Century. With tourism developing, paths were built to visit the falls. Visitors walking from the lake shore to the top enoyed benches along the way, finally a small hotel restaurant, "Gasthaus Giessbach" opened in 1832. During the middle of the 19th Century, the little "Gasthaus" changed owners three times, each one pulling the hotel down and constructing a larger one in its place. In 1870, the well-known Hauser family took over and built a luxurious 5-floor palace hotel complete with turrets and imposing stairways. In 1879, a funicular railway was constructed to bring visitors up. The hotel was frequented by royals and aristocrats, top industrialists, financiers, and business tycoons from Western and Eastern Europe. In 1883, a fire destroyed large parts of the hotel which was immediately rebuilt as it stands today. Now it offered anything a demanding guest might desire: modern lighting, bath-rooms, playgrounds for the children, pavillions, covered walking paths, daily concerts, rowing boats, fishing gear, tennis courts, a darkroom for amateur photographers, a workshop for hobbyists, and more. In the 1880's a third, more intimate hotel, the "Beau-Site" was added to the estate with a skittle-alley. At that time, a building was constructed behind the hotels that offered clients therma and electro-baths, massages, gymnastics, and diet treatments. The falls and the hotels enjoyed a great tourist boom which unfortunately did not last. During the two World Wars, and inflation everywhere, one hotel owner followed another at the Giessbach Falls; unable to make ends meet. Finally, in 1947 a new Giessbach "saviour" took over; the owner of the Buergenstock estate near Lucerne, Fritz Frey. He renovated the hotel, installed electricity, and reopened. Disappointingly, in 1978 the "Dream Castle at Lake Brienz" was threatened once more with disappearance when its owners planned to replace the original Grandhotel by a new concrete Jumbo-chalet-type-Hotel. This was unacceptable for friends and admirers of the hotel, who decided to form a committee of professionals to save it. After unsuccessful contacts with many Swiss industrialists, they at last found a forceful saviour in the person of Franz Weber, who with his environmental protection organisation, "Helvetia nostra," was found willing, together with his wife Judith, to gear all of his energy toward the rescuing of the hotel. He founded the "Giessbach to the Swiss People" foundation who bought the whole property from Fritz Frey II for three million francs. The town of Brienz and the Canton of Berne contributed 1 million in form of an interest free mortgage; Franz Weber collected the remaining two million from his fellow Swiss citizens. He then founded a shareholder’s company who financed the renovation of the existing hotel-complex in several steps. In 1984, the hotel celebrated its official reopening, inaugurating its beautiful, nostalgic restaurant. Today, the Grandhotel Giessbach, restored to its former splendour, once again attracts the lovers of true values, of Nature and of gracious living.
Google Map

Our Select Member Hotel

Grand Hotel Giessbach
Country: Switzerland
City: Brienz
Opening date: 1832 (Gasthaus Giessbach), 1870 (hotel),

Note from the Host

General Manager Matthias Kögl


Book a Room

Click on the link below to start your trip (no booking fees)!