History and tradition
The historic Grandhotel Giessbach was built in 1873/74 by the French architect Horace Edouard Davinet for the Hauser Family in Zurich, one of the great dynasties of the 19th century‘s hotel trade in Switzerland. The elegance and generosity of this bold new hotel site, as well as its unique location in a natural setting of incomparable beauty soon gave it world wide renown.
Favourite meeting place of the High Society
Painters, engravers and photographers captured the astounding harmony between buildings, parks, gardens and the surrounding nature, poets and philosophers praised the splendour of the Giessbach falls, emperors and kings, statesmen and diplomats gathered at Giessbach each summer, drawing new strength from the healthy micro climate and wallowing in society gossip and state secrets.
The end of the Golden Era
Two world wars with their disastrous sequels for the Swiss hotel trade and a new understanding of tourism in general had their deadly effect on Giessbach. Its fame and glory faded, its very memory sank into oblivion. In 1979, after years of incessant decline, Giessbach had to close down. There were plans for demolishing the Grand Hotel and for building a giant «jumbo style» chalet in its place.
A new hope
But in November 1983, internationally known Swiss ecologist Franz Weber with his organisation Helvetia Nostra and his «Giessbach to the Swiss people Foundation» succeeded in buying the 22-hectare estate of Giessbach and placing it under protection by the state of Bern. His idea that Giessbach should be given to the citizens of Switzerland as a «gift» and thus preserved from destruction for all times to come, was met with enthusiasm by the Swiss people who donated generously to make the purchase possible.
In order to finance the necessary renovations of the Grand Hotel, Weber founded a share-holders company, the Parkhotel Giessbach Ltd., and in May 1984 reopened the place with just a new restaurant and a small number of unrenovated rooms. During seven years, each winter, renovations proceeded. Step by step the Grand Hotel Giessbach was restored to its former splendour and today belongs again among the jewels of Swiss hotellery.