< SWITZERLAND | GSTAAD: Gstaad Palace
1913 - Grand opening of the Royal Hotel, Winter & Gstaad Palace, Gstaad. Very modern for this period its 150 rooms already have
50 private bathrooms, the building has electrical lighting-system throughout and even 6 telephone booths.
1914-1918 - The First World War brings hard times because of closed frontiers and only a few guests as customers.
1920-1930 - The golden twenties for the Gstaad Palace; Times are good the hotel is very successful and becomes more and more popular.
1930 - After the Wall Street crash of 1929 the world-wide economic recession also hits Switzerland. The business is bad, there are only a few guests and very unfortunate for the Palace - they spend very little.
1936 - The share capital of the Royal Hotel, Winter & Gstaad Palace, Gstaad company has to be reduced. Finances are rearranged.
1939-1945 - Second World War: Again closed frontiers, most men in the army, rationed food, only a few guests, many of them refugees in Switzerland.
1947 - The holders’ majority of Palace shares is totally discouraged and decides to sell. Mr. Ernst Scherz, hotel manager is unable to meet the price within 24 hours; the shares are sold to a German industrialist who plans to turn the hotel into a home for sick or/and old factory workers. With the help of many friends and relations Mr. Scherz manages to buy the shares back from him. Later, over the years Mr. Scherz gradually buys almost all other shares from holders who had never seen a dividend. The Scherz family starts improving the hotel with modest means and a lot of genius. Famous entertainers such as Maurice Chevalier, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald perform at gala evenings.
Over the years the entire hotel is refurbished, bathrooms are added, technical systems are modernized. Celebrities now often stay at the hotel and many of them buy Chalets or apartments in Gstaad later.
1970 - Important additions to the Palace open: a fabulous indoor-pool with artificial sunlight and underwater-music, a Night Club called “GreenGo” which will become very famous, as well as a fitness centre with saunas and massage rooms.
1979 - Opening of a condominium-building directly linked with the hotel called “La Résidence Palace”. The building contains over 20 deluxe apartments serviced by the hotel and sometimes sublet by their owners.
1980 - Construction of a small house “Chalet Shiwa” for rental.
1983 - Opening of a new staff house “Chalet Marmite” containing 50 rooms all with private bath, telephone and color-TV, a staff kitchen and possibly the most attractive staff restaurant of Switzerland at that time.
1986 - Opening of “La Grande Terrasse” covered by the largest electrical canopy in Switzerland and also of a new meeting room “Salle Piero”.
1989 - Building of a staff house “Chalet Vapeur” away from the Palace, containing over 50 apartments in joint buildings of which the Palace owns one with 15 apartments.
1990-1991 - Hotel’s entrance side restructuring with a two-story underground garage of 80 parking spaces, an elegant hotel entrance, major enlargement of the kitchens, a new ski room & sports’ shop, an additional boutique and a new centralised room-service kitchen above the main kitchen linked to the floors by an additional freight elevator. Reorganisation of all storage areas and goods entrance.
1991 - Opening of the new Grand Ballroom and Conference room “Salle Baccarat” seating 250 guests for dining or 350 persons in theatre style.
1995-1996 - Construction of a new Palace residence “Les Chalets du Palace”. This new complex is linked directly to the hotel, has its own underground garage and consists of a dozen luxury apartments - most of them sold, some of them for rent. The inhabitants of “Les Chalets du Palace” enjoy all the privileges of hotel guests and have the complete range of hotel services at their disposal.
2000 - Construction and opening of the spectacular PENTHOUSE SUITE on the roof of the hotel (3 bedrooms, living-dining room, kitchenette, panoramic terrace with jacuzzi and sauna in the tower). The General Manager Hansruedi Schaerer retires after 43 years of service at the Palace.
In 2002 After the immediate success of the Penthouse Suite, two more luxurious “Tower Suites” were built. The very popular Restaurant “La Fromagerie” has been equipped with a new kitchen and its capacity was increased.
2003 - The 45 year old Bar, the Grill Room and “Sans Cravate” restaurants are transformed into a new Gastronomic centre of the hotel: A “Grill-Rotisserie” where chefs work with open fire, the so popular “Bar du Grill” for cocktails and lounged meals - still with live music for dancing, and also an Italian restaurant called “Gildo’s”. It is named after the Palace's first Maitre d'Hôtel. It is estimated that since the Palace is owned by the Scherz family, approximately 70 million Swiss Francs have been spent on enlargements and improvements, in addition to normal maintenance and upkeep.
2007 - The hotel opens the new Spa & Health Club on 1’800 qm. It features authentic decor and ambiance which radiate a magic charm. Its exclusive facilities include eight treatment rooms, a private spa suite, saunas and steam baths, relaxation areas with incredible views, indoor pool and outdoor pool with jacuzzi, a state-of-the-art gym, a pilates studio and a unique hammam experience with seven rooms.
Guest book include names such as: Emperor of Persia and Emperess Farah Diba, King Bhumipol and Queen Sirikit of Siam, King Hussein of Jordania, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Arthur Rubinstein, Joan Crawford, Maurice Chevalier, Hery Ford III, Geraldine Chaplin, Princess Soraya, HH Prince Karim Aga Khan, Audrey Hepburn, Marc Chagall, Tom Jones, Peter Sellers, Shirley Bassey, John Travolta, Elton John, Princesse Caroline de Monaco, Isabelle Adjani, Jacques Chirac, Margreth Thatcher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robbie Williams, Sir Peter Ustinov, Danny de Vito, Sophia Loren...