Suzanne Lovell Inc

Architecture

“New” 140-Year-Old Hotel?

October 23, 2017

Waldhaus Flims circa 1877. Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

 

As one of Switzerland’s most known hotels, the renovated Waldhaus Flims Hotel and Spa stays true to it’s Alpine decor… for the most part!

People presumably imagine hunter green colored armchairs and leather coaches throughout the hotel… probably not uber contemporary spa.

In 1869, two Chur locals decided to and got permission to build a spa. Eight years later, the Kurhaus opens with 120 beds, a pub, post office and sawmill, among other entities. The year 1881 brings along the opening of Villa Belmont which increases capacity to 200 beds. Art Nouveau “Villa Silvana” opened in 1889, bringing electrification to the hotel and commissioning  what was to be the largest private electrical plant in Switzerland.

Image courtesy of: Bolero Magazine

Changes occurred through the years, renovations and additions transpire. Each new “opening” elevates the hotel’s stature and prestige.

At present day, the most impressive extention is the Waldhaus Spa which spans 3,000-square-meters and is a juxtaposition of everything else under the Waldhaus Flims “umbrella”.

 

Image courtesy of Zenith Holidays.

After declaring bankrupcy in 2015, American investor, Z Capital, bought the property. Just recently, the first phase of a $40 million renovation was completed.

142 rooms were beautifully updated, the lobby was wonderfully revived and Swiss modern art hangs masterfully on the walls. The glass-encased fireplaces are a far cry from the traditional ones that used to grace the lobby.

The enormous spa is a two-story Xanadu of Japanese architectural lines built around a giant stone-and-glass block pool. The glass styling is striking against the traditional design of the building which was, in a previous life, a 19th-century health sanatorium for curing tuberculosis.

Waldhaus Flim Hotel and Spa is the perfect blend of nostalgic glamour and state-of-the-art design. Image courtesy of: TripAdvisor

Peter Silling, the German interior design genius, was relegated the task of updating this grand Swiss hotel. With other luxury hotels on his resume, JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton to name just a couple, Silling’s objective remains the same: to blend cosmopolitan influences with tradition.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

“The Flims Panorama” is a triptych which was commissioned by the hotel’s 1904 director. The artist, Giovanni Giacometti, presented the piece at the opening of the casino-pavilion. Sadly, during the hotel’s first restoration, the triptych was removed.

In 1968, during another renovation, the hotel’s director, Roman Bezzola, asked the Fine Arts Museum in Chur to assess the triptych’s value in hopes of selling it. The museum deemed the piece too costly to purchase because of the extensive restoration that it needed. In fact, the museum even rejected the offer of receiving it as a gift.

As unimaginable as it might seem today, during the 1960’s, Giacometti was considered a “poster artist”. Less than 20 years later, the hotel’s new director, Josef Müller, rediscovered the work rolled up, recognized its value and had it properly restored. This iconic piece can now be seen in the hotel’s main lobby.

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