GM to Inherit St Moritz Hotel HOTELS

GM to Inherit St Moritz Hotel

( words)

For decades St Moritz has been a magnet for the rich and famous. But for over ten years or so the magic had disappeared and St Moritz had suffered from a Sardinia-syndrome: the once ritzy jet-set, the often quoted rich and famous had become old and lazy. That's one of the reasons why I am truly happy that things are on the move again, although in a most unnormal way. But what's normal in St. Moritz, anyhow? The places to stay and be seen always were the hotels Kulm, Suvretta House and of course Badrutt’s Palace, which over the years has attracted Prince Charles, Brigitte Bardot, George Clooney, John Lennon and Alfred Hitchcock. Hans Wiedemann (picture), managing director of the Palace Hotel since 2004, says: ‘I have loved it from the very beginning. Our strength has always been that our staff identifies itself with the one hundred year history of the hotel. I love this sort of hotel. After travelling the world, and marrying an Indian woman, I myself have developed a strong sense for our Swiss heritage – which includes the tradition of family-run hotels.’ Indeed, when the Badrutt family first tried to recruit Wiedemann, he declined because at the time the property was run by a chain, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. He waited until the hotel was again under family ownership before joining. In December 2006 Anikó and Hansjürg Badrutt, 76 years old and heirless, made Hans Widermann the sole inheritor of their 66% share of Badrutt’s Palace. Johannes Badrutt, nephew of Hansjürg, had previously sold his 33% stake to Italian real estate developer Luigi Zunino. Staff members, and even guests, were becoming uneasy about the future of the grand castle on the summit of St. Moritz, one of the most celebrated ski resorts of the world. Says Wiedermann: ‘Our guests didn’t stop asking me whether we were still a hotel or if we are going to turn into an apartment building sooner or later. The owners therefore decided to act to reestablish confidence in our clientele that the hotel would always be their hotel and continue to offer the same standards.’ In doing so, the Badrutts took the unusual step of announcing that their managing director will - one day - be their heir. However, a package of shares worth 300 million Swiss francs came with a condition: the Badrutt hospitality tradition must continue. With two thirds of the shares Wiedemann will detain a clear majority. In a position of strength thanks to his international renown as a hotelier, he can rebuff any potential challenge from the Italian real estate front, which continues to hold the other third of the equity. Wiedemann explains what to the outsider seems like a fairy tale happy ending: ‘The Badrutts and I have three things in common; we trust each other, we have the same wave length and we have the same sense of humour.’ For his part, Hansjürg Badrutt, offers a simple answer to the question of whether the whole family is happy with the solution: ‘Of course not. But they don’t need to be.’ Clearly, Wiedemann enjoys this sense of humour. Wiedemann’s best lines: ‘There is this saying that in a hotel like the Palace, there is no “no”. In fact that’s not possible. But we do say “no” a little bit later than all the others:’ *** ‘The secret of how to deal with a celebrity guest is very simple: they are a human being like you and I. They need personal attention, friendly words and privacy.’ Hard facts: Palace St Moritz Owners: Hansjürg & Anikó Badrutt. Management and staff: Managing Director: Hans Wiedemann Executive Assistant Manager: Yves Gardiol Rooms Division Manager: Kai Ulrich Director of Sales & Marketing: Illu Tirasci Director Food & Beverage: Angelo Martinelli Staff: 430 in winter, 230 in summer Opening dates: Winter season: December until April Summer season: end of June until mid of September

Book Now

Booking.com

Most Popular

Oriental Kobe

Oriental Kobe

The Oriental's story begins in 1870, shortly after the opening of Kobe Port to foreign ships. The Oriental Hotel was born in Kobe's...Read More

Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona

Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona

The Hotel Majestic is one of the very special historic hotels of Barcelona that lives its history, while having safely arrived in today's...Read More

Half Moon

Half Moon

In 1954, a group of wealthy individuals including Donald Deskey, the fabled designer (among his works the Radio City Music Hall); Harvey Firestone,...Read More

Prince de Galles

Prince de Galles

The Parisian hotel with two names! And it all started with a kiss! The rumor persists that in the 1920s the Prince of Wales influenced the...Read More

Metropole (Sofitel Legends)

Metropole (Sofitel Legends)

  "The Metropole is one of the last grand hotels of the exotic East. I have returend to the Metropole many times. While researching its...Read More