Davos 2024 Andreas Augustin

Davos 2024

( words)

January 2024

At the GRAND HOTEL BELVÉDÈRE in DAVOS, SWITZERLAND, the WEF fever rules the house. The crown jewel of Steigenberger Icons, managed by Deutsche Hospitality, has expanded its useable area by over 1500m² artificial additions in front of the house. The staff is tripled every year, from 90 to over 300. The hotel resembles a fortress. Snipers are in position on the roof. Each available niche is rented as a meeting room. Evil tongues claim that the price per square metre is a result of the sea level multiplied by the year. That means it rises every year. Over 3000 people drop off their coat every day at the hotel's cloakroom. That alone is a logistical masterpiece. More than 300 events will be completed in five days.
It is superfluous to mention that this financial injection represents a significant part of the annual turnover. Amazingly, Deutsche Hospitality will not continue its operations in Davos  

In the early 1870s, Davos seemingly transformed into one big globally renowned sanatorium. The Grandhotel Belvédère, established in 1875, diverged from this medical focus, evolving into a social hub of the residing society. They were used to permanent entertainment. Now they were here, sne ot be helad or to ... die.

By the 1880s, Davos' leading grand hotel Belvedere war hosting theatrical performances, had a casino, an American bar, tea salon, masquerade balls, tennis tournaments, and vibrant carnivals, it became a refuge from Bolsheviks, Nazis, and tax investigations.

Renowned figures such as Sherlock Holmes author Conan Doyle, "Treasur Island" inventor Robert Louis Stevenson, and german author Erich Kästner frequented the hotel. Despite the current portrayal in the TV series "Davos 1917" the true epicenter of events was the Grandhotel Belvédère, not the rather secluded Sanatorium Schatzalp (today a charming 3-star resort). The hotel maintained its significance through the decades, hosting the World Economic Forum (WEF) and attracting notable guests like Gates and Clinton.

The hotel's history delves into the 1950s when Davos faced challenges due to medical advancements. Streptomycin's invention marked the decline of Davos as a sanatorium-destination. However, the Grandhotel Belvédère adapted, hosting events like the first Congress of the German Medical Association in 1971 and eventually becoming a key venue for the WEF.

In-depth research, led by former General Manager Thomas Kleber, uncovered forgotten aspects of Davos' past. The Belvédère, distinct from the "Davos 1917" narrative, was a haven for intellectuals, artists, and politicians. The hotel's chronicle, "GRAND HÔTEL BELVÉDÈRE DAVOS — The Invention of Alpine Entertainment — The Schedule of Distraction," meticulously details its rich history and remains a valued asset for historical preservation. Here is the english edition.

The book's presentation became a significant social event, followed by annual readings. The establishment of a "Path of History" within the hotel, showcasing its historical journey, enhanced its appeal as a historical attraction.

In conclusion: the Grandhotel Belvédère's evolution from a tourist hotel to a key player in Davos' social and economic history is a testament to its resilience and adaptability. The meticulously researched book and ongoing efforts to unearth new historical material contribute to the hotel's enduring legacy.

The thorough exploration of guest registries revealed a diverse array of notable visitors, including Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Tchaikovsky. The hotel's continuity and personal connections with guests, maintained by generations of hoteliers, contributed to its success.

Today the hotel is a key player for the Davos summit WEF  The WEF's annual dominance transforms the hotel, reinforcing its role in the global economic landscape.

The meeting of the powerful from all over the world is a great challenge for the security forces. Rigourous measures require, for example, the visits of President Volodymyr Selenskyj from Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron from France and Isaac Herzog from Israel. Checkpoints, snipers on the roof of the hotel, no-fly zones and several dozen kilometres of temporary fence are just a few of the measures. Up to 5000 Swiss soldiers support the police during the five-day meeting., 

As per January 2024:

Owned by the Steigenberger family the future of the hotel is now uncertain. Deutsche Hospitality is not continuing its management contract. 

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