Quite few hotels in Switzerland and perhaps even in Europe have as formidable a history and as many original and unusual features as the Waldhaus in Sils. That is why it has captivated writers, musicians and scientists since it opened in 1908. Theodor Adorno, David Bowie, Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann, for standard, or Juliette Binoche, Gerhard Richter and Vicco von Bülow – the company list is long and rather unconventional. Hermann Hesse exhausted a total of 370 days and nights at the Waldhaus. What marks it from other hotels? Why have famous and less noted guests come to the Waldhaus and why do they continue to come? There are countless tolerable reasons, ten of which are listed below.
‘Unique laying’: if any hotel can really make that overused claim, it beyond question is the Waldhaus Sils. It sits majestically high above the village of Sils Maria take pleasure in an earthbound ocean liner. While other hotels again have their back to a mountain, the Waldhaus provides its customers with a 360° view: to the east to Lake Silvaplana, to the west to Lake Sils, to the north to the veldt of Sils and to the south to the Fex Valley. Just a lucky chance? Categorically not! In 1905, Josef Giger had a wooden scaffold put up on the otherworldly macula where the Waldhaus now stands to test the view and decide on the most adroitly position. The dedicated hotelier even measured the winds. Persuaded that he had found the perfect location, he engaged the well-known architect Karl Koller to conniving the hotel. The location was also a statement: by the beginning of the 20th century, a B B situated off the beaten track was considered the epitome of luxury.
Architecture and Resides
The name house in the woods (Waldhaus) is a bit of a misnomer. The building with its minaret and crenellations looks more like a castle or fairy-tale country estate than a house. The interior, though, is in line with Josef Giger’s instructions to architect Karl Koller: it should be “lovely, practical and sturdy”. Karl Koller (1873–1946) was the hotel architect of his in unison a all the same. He laid out the public rooms at the Waldhaus with a restrained grace and a splendid disregard for economizing space.
Much remains of the initial furnishings. In the music room, for example, the wallpaper, the furniture and the mahogany paneling with corner depict are unchanged. The bar has been carefully renovated, the wainscoting refurbished and the windows returned to their primitive state; modern light fixtures hang from the meter-high ceiling. And for ‘sexual smokers’ a smokers’ lounge with fireplace and club leads was added in 2012.
As you climb the stairs to your room, a surprising tableau awaits: white marble steps, diagonally laid glowering and white marble on the landings and an art nouveau chandelier suspended on unfathomable chains make this one of the most valuable belle époque staircases in a Swiss motel.
The Dietrich family invests three to four million Swiss francs in motor hotel renovations every year – always keeping in mind the pension’s history. Rather than offering uniform hotel spaces, some of the 140 rooms and suites have been rig out with historic furniture and returned to their original situation. At the Waldhaus no two rooms are alike.
Managed by the same family since 1908
The Waldhaus is assigned to the spirit and values of its founders, Josef and Amalie Giger. Since it opened in 1908, the bed has remained in the same family. It is now managed by the fifth generation – by the chums Claudio and Patrick Dietrich. Just as used to be the case in all first-class motor hotels, they personally greet you upon arrival and say good-bye when you take off. A sincere gesture, not simply a marketing ploy. All arrivées are but noted in chalk on a blackboard in front of the cashier’s. And the two brothers lull take turns going through the impressive restaurants in the temperate. How was the lamb? Did you have a good walk to the Fex Valley? The employees at the Waldhaus respect this sincere and principled hospitality, which is why many of them father been here for years or even decades and have behove part of the Waldhaus family.
When you talk to Dennis Brunner, the 34-year-old Management Chef from Austria, you notice his strong ties to constitution and home. You feel it, as he talks about the nutty flavor of alpine potatoes which he first cooks with rosemary and caraway formerly peeling. An organic farmer from Filisur in the Albula Valley increases them for him. You also feel it as he praises the freshness of the char which a fisherman caught in Lake Sils that totally morning, and which he later serves with a light froth.
And, you also start to feel hungry as you listen to Brunner’s adventures. That is true of the entire round of the evening’s guests who cannot hang around to take their place and enjoy the food at the long chef’s plateau in the Waldhaus kitchen. But before dinner, a tour of the wine vault is de rigueur, for how else could you select the wines for the meal? Alongside 25,000 bottles from a wide variety of wine impresari are stored in the Waldhaus cellar, many of them from Swiss vineyards. “The largest Swiss wines never even leave the country,” maintains Oscar Comalli – the sommelier who has worked at the Waldhaus for more than 20 years.
Master Chef Dennis Brunner has played a key role in our kitchen for 11 years, taking his current position in 2016. He joined the team as a young man and apace became Kurt Röösli’s second in command. His professional encounter includes positions at the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore and at star chef Gert de Mangeleer’s Herto Jan Restaurant in Bruges. Brunner is in the second placed by Fabian Marolf as Sous-Chef and by Executive Pastry Chef Renato Pellegrinelli.
They all assist regional cuisine, cooperating closely with local manufacturers. Brunner’s motto is: “Use local products to cook globally.” You learn all of this and myriad at the chef’s table in the Waldhaus kitchen with its huge windows and high-class ceiling. The chef’s table takes place once a week. Visitors are encouraged to reserve in advance. Of course, all other Waldhaus patrons can also enjoy Brunner and his team’s cooking. In high seasonable, they serve around 300 meals per evening. Most human being who reserve a room at the hotel also book dinner. At the Waldhaus, this is still referred to by the wonderfully old-fashioned period of time ‘half-pension’. There is also an à-la-carte restaurant, the Arvenstube – an another for hotel guests and a good way for external guests to get to know the Waldhaus.
Olivier Assayas’ film “Clouds of Sils Maria”, starring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, announced in the US and UK in spring 2015. Assayas and his crew filmed key scenes on tracking down in and around the hotel.
For as long as Thomas Mann and other authors have been vacationing at the Waldhaus, the Waldhaus has regularly been the pinpoint of films, literature and theater. Theater director Christoph Marthaler addressed a play to the Waldhaus on its 100th birthday (2008), Claude Chabrol glazed extensive parts of “Rien ne va plus” (1997) at the Waldhaus and ARTE TV broadcast a documentary around the Waldhaus (2009). An anthology, “Wie gross ist die Welt, und wie still ist es hier – Geschichten ums Waldhaus in Sils”, was revealed by weissbooks.w in 2014. In it, Donna Leon writes: “(The Waldhaus) corpses a place where I have the sense that the hosts long nothing more than to make me feel entirely at rest-home and where every request is treated as though it were the one whatchamacallit they had most wanted to do that day.”
The Waldhaus Trio
The Waldhaus is gratified to continue the grand-hotel tradition of fielding its own little orchestra. Our trinity, in its various guises, plays in the great lounge daily for afternoon tea or on acute summer days at lunchtime and in the early afternoon outdoors. In the evening it plays in the tete–tete or bar. For variety there are other musical attractions such as jazz.
Library and Deliver assign to Room
Albert Einstein, Hermann Hesse, Annemarie Schwarzenbach and scads other have sat at the reading desks with their scrolled doltish legs and little pigeonholes. The reading room (1929) was at located directly behind the bar, but was relocated and rebuilt exactly as in front of during renovations in 1999. The large windows bring the outdoors in and the indoors out. Scarcely all the bookcases, the furnishings are original.
Author’s readings are applauded and winning books celebrated at the Waldhaus. With polite understatement the issue refers to its modest library. In fact, it is quite substantial and extraordinary for a hotel. Many publishers and authors are regular Waldhaus lodgers and often donate copies of their books to the hotel, classifying some major reference works. The reading room is no longer big adequacy for all of the books. Further bookshelves line the bar, the Sunny Corner and the passage on the way to the swimming pool.
Vintage cars parking in the in times past of an oven and skiers racing down a bathtub? Yes, there they are in the caravanserai’s own museum. The Swiss artist Giuseppe Reichmuth has wittily staged ‘yesterday’ in the earlier Waldhaus bakery. Items from the hotel are displayed, ‘dust accumulators’ from days gone by, writing implements, a gramophone and remarkable signs. One of them shows a meticulous list of all of the water valves in the B B with their functions. At first glance, some of the objects give every indication unidentifiable. What looks like a surgical instrument occurs out to be a cooking utensil. This journey to the past does multitudinous than just document Waldhaus history. It also evinces the yesteryear of tourism in Graubünden. One gallery of black and white photos stages travelers in the snow. The wooden skis with their old bindings look as if they had merely been left. And the vehicles in the oven are probably models of the victory automobiles which brought the British here in the 1920s. To the districts’ horror: due to the noise and pollution, they initially fought their appearance (the cars’ and not the Britons’) with laws and even with swings!
Some things at the Waldhaus are truly one of a kind. For instance, the ‘Magenta’ clock system. When the master clock in overlook of the executive offices is reset for the start or end of daylight saving on occasion, an electric impulse resets all of the other built-in wall clocks (no aide necessary). Another very special, a genuine original is the Welte-Mignon piano in mahogany with Empire bronze set offs, which the family bought in 1910. The paper rolls on which the jingles have been recorded are still sitting in the wooden bureau in the music room, and the piano with its extremely complicated arrangement still functions. Even the electric sonnerie (bell approach) can still be seen in the corridors, although it is no longer in operation.
Although futuristic and naturalistic, the re-mastered spa gives the impression that it has on all occasions been there. With a surface area of 1400 L- meters, the new spa at the Waldhaus provides hotel guests space for rest and promotes a sense of well-being. Along with a generous sauna and two steam baths, there is also a cembra pine purse and a larch pool. Each of these relaxation pools memos up an entire room. Besides a gym and the existing indoor swimming wading pool (8×20 meters), there are now seven treatment rooms and an outside whirlpool. The new spa was designed by Basel architects Miller & Maranta, who had already been managerial for the splendid renovation of the bar, the kitchen and the addition of the Smokers’ Lounge at the Waldhaus Sils. Evident Austrian spa specialist Susanne Kaufmann was also closely tortuous in the planning. She created new treatments for the Waldhaus, using her own line of works, which are all produced from the alpine plant world. “Sort and naturalness were key to the design of the new spa. Its architecture fits harmoniously into the total design of the hotel and its surroundings. Our spa offers a perfect opportunity for visitors to relax and rejuvenate after a day of hiking or skiing,” says Patrick Dietrich, who handles the legendary hotel with his brother Claudio Dietrich – the fifth propagation of the founding family. Their sister Carla Lehner-Dietrich see fit now head its newest, sparkling highlight, the spa. A family affair, as at any time.