The colourful history of Waldhaus Flims also has its place in Switzerland’s hotel history. Part of the history of tourism. Part of architectural history. Part of art history. And the blend of tradition and innovation in order to perfect the art of hospitality. A very special type of cultural hotel.
The Kur- und Seebadanstalt Waldhaus Flims is founded by two Chur natives, Peter-Jakob Bener-Caviezel and Dr Paul Lorenz. The municipality of Flims grants them the permit to build a spa.
The Kurhaus opens and has an initial capacity of 120 beds, a sawmill, a post office building with stables and a pub room, laundry, cow shed, plumbing for running water in the kitchen and a small bathing facility on the edge of the Caumasee. Johann Guggenbühl, the former manager of Zürcherhof, becomes Director of the establishment.
With the opening of Villa Belmont, the number of guest rooms increases to 200, and the hotel hires its own doctor for the spa.
The island in the Caumasee becomes the property of the Hotel Waldhaus.
Opening of the art nouveau Villa Silvana; construction of the marmot enclosure, which becomes a popular destination in the region. Electrification of the hotel and commissioning of what was the largest private electrical plant in Switzerland at the time with a capacity of 60 PS.
Director Guggenbühl passes away shortly after falling ill. His wife and two daughters take over management.
Arrival of her majesty, the Queen Regent Emma of the Netherlands, with Queen Wilhelmina and entourage at the Villa Silvana. To prepare for the royal visit, one room is furnished with Swiss pine, walls are installed and new furniture procured. The former secretary, Zahnder, and Guggenbühl’s daughters take over management.
A private bakery is established, and in a remote corner of the park an open-air leisure facility with games and sports equipment is set up separately for men and women. Instead of dining at the common table d’hôte, guests have the option of personal service at smaller tables for an additional fee.
The spa and lake bathing establishment buys the Curhaus Segmes in Flims-Waldhaus, the present-day location of Ristorante Pomodoro. Herr and Frau Walther take over general management.
The first telephone line and dedicated phone booth are installed – at a safe distance from the main building for fear of short circuits. Building of the tennis courts.
The hotel director, Walther, commissions Giovanni Giacometti with the decoration of the casino with his work the Flimser Panorama. Located in what is now the art nouveau pavilion, the opulent pleasure palace opens its doors with 40 lovely ladies to serve casino patrons. All buildings are connected by covered walkways. The spa establishment now offers 437 guest beds.
Engadin native Eduard Bezzola and his wife Clara become the successors to the Walthers couple.
After the safety of the telephone is confirmed after 10 years of use, the telephone system is expanded and relocated to the main building. Certain rooms get their own bathrooms.
The first bus operated by the Swiss postal service travels to Flims. The open-topped ‘Car Alpin’
brings in new guests. New bathrooms and plumbing for running water are installed in the guest buildings.
The ‘Kur- und Seebadanstalt’ is renamed ‘Kurhotels und Seebad AG’. The hotel is now called the Park Hotel Waldhaus.
The park celebrates its 50th birthday. After abolishment of the car ban in the canton of Graubünden, many guests travel to Flims by car. The table d’hôte is no more and most of the waitresses are replaced by Italian waiters. Roman Bezzola becomes Director of the Park Hotel.
The Bezzola couple take over general management. During the war, the available space in the park is used to grow vegetables, potatoes and grain. Chickens and ducks are raised as well. The hotel periodically serves as a headquarters for officers.
Bergbahnen Flims is established to operate the mountain transit infrastructure; the first chairlift from Foppa to Naraus is constructed.
After 70 summer seasons and following extensive structural modifications, the hotel opens for its first winter season.
Waldhaus Flims also remains open in the off season, and a sauna is built. Long-time director Eduard Bezzola dies after a long battle with illness.
The former ‘Kurhaus’ or spa is redeveloped as a sport hotel. After adding a new wing, the Hotel Segnes offers 120 beds. A small foyer and new dining room are added to the main building. On 8 June 1967, the Hallengartenbad and new curling rink are opened.
In 1968, Director Roman Bezzola asks the Kunstmuseum Chur to appraise the value of the Flimser Panorama. The art museum is not interested, warns of an expensive restoration and does not even want to accept it as a gift. The picture is rolled up and stored.
The Art Nouveau hall in the casino undergoes extensive restoration.
The covered walkways that connect the buildings are replaced with underground passages. The hotel opens its own nursery.
Hugo Nussli-Bezzola and his wife take over general management after Roman Bezzola’s 45 years of service. The casino is rebuilt and renamed Pavillon.
The newly built tennis hall is the first hotel tennis hall in Switzerland with two courts.
The two Runca and Miramunt apartment buildings open. The owners of the holiday apartments have access to the hotel’s entire infrastructure. The proceeds from the sale are put into renovating and redesigning the Villa Belmont.
Opening of the new Chalet Belmont with private apartments, suites and meeting rooms. Josef and Marianne Müller take over management of the hotel.
Josef Müller discovers the Flimser Panorama triptych by Giovanni Giacometti. Recognising its value, he has it restored and hangs it in the hotel lobby. The dinner opera La cena è pronta premieres.
Business at the Hotel Segnes is no longer lucrative and it is converted into Ristorante Pomodoro;
the hotel rooms are made available to the staff. The former Bellavista is turned into a Chinese restaurant.
AG Kurhotels Flims-Waldhaus changes its name to Park Hotels Waldhaus AG. The Pavillon Ost communications centre, called Flem-Etage and the art gallery open; the hotel is the first to offer the Peter Burwash International (PBI) tennis courses available throughout Switzerland.
Opening of the Belle Époque hotel museum, which was set up in cooperation with a team of artists in the spaces beneath the casino. Countless everyday artefacts document more than a century of hotel history.
Opening of the Graubünden Architecture Museum in commemoration of Flims architect Rudolf Olgiati.
Opening of the crystal cavern exhibiting amateur geologist Paul Membrini’s crystal collection in the former white wine cellar of Pavillon.
After nearly 20 years of managing the hotel, Josef and Marianne Müller pass the torch to Christoph and Sabrina Schlosser.
Opening of the small animal petting zoo in the hotel park.
Villa Silvana is completely renovated, the swimming pool demolished and a glass-enclosed pool and spa is built in front of the pavilion. The old terrace of the pavilion and the Art Nouveau elements of the hall and foyer are restored. The old laundry is replaced by the Wald Park residence.
Opening of delight spa & beauty, opening of the renovated sun terrace to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Art Nouveau pavilion, integration of the Gefühlskulisse (atmospheric backdrop) by director Daniel Schmid into the hotel museum.
Waldhaus Flims begins operating year-round and closes only for about three weeks each spring.
Waldhaus Flims hosts the autumn session of Switzerland's federal parliament. The Grand Hotel is added to the roster of Leading Hotels of the World and delight spa & beauty to the Leading Spas of the World. Construction of Residenz Enteneich. Park Hotels Waldhaus AG become Waldhaus Flims Mountain Resort AG.
After 10 years of construction, the Flims bypass tunnel is completed. Construction of Residenz La Cauma.
The hotel and company are renamed Waldhaus Flims Mountain Resort & Spa; the restaurants Rotonde and Epoca open for business; construction of Residenz Las Fluras.
The indoor tennis courts are converted into the Waldhaus Arena for curling and events. Construction of Residence Promedana Flem.
Yasmin and Urs Grimm Cachemaille take over management of Waldhaus Flims.
Opening of The Mountain Suites with 36 luxury apartments, two ‘delight private spas’ and the ‘Design Floating Suite’. Grand Hotel Waldhaus and Villa Silvana join the Small Luxury Hotels of the World association.
Grand Hotel Waldhaus named ‘Hotel of the Year 2013’ by SonntagsZeitung.
Daniel Fueglister becomes Managing Director and host of the Waldhaus Flims. Opening of the Paul Membrini crystal collection in the corridors of the hotel; for six weeks, Waldhaus Flims is the shooting location of the film Youth by director and Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino; opening of the restaurant Epoca with its new concept: ‘Graubünden on your plate’.
Opening of the Mundaun indoor golf lounge in Chalet Belmont; opening of the vaulted cellar restaurant Il Tschaler, Ristorante Pomodoro and the Segnes Bar. The hotel group is insolvent and is bought by the US investment company Z Capital Partners in mid-December.
Peter Schoch, Managing Director, takes over the management of the Waldhaus Flims. Giovanni Giacometti’s Flimser Panorama is sold at auction. A private Swiss collector buys the triptych for 4.05 million Swiss francs. The hotel is closed temporarily in August. All buildings, including the Waldhaus Spa, undergo grand renovations. On 9 December, the new Waldhaus Flims opens its doors. The hotel name is changed from «Waldhaus Flims Mountain Resort & Spa» to «Waldhaus Flims Alpine Grand Hotel & Spa».
Waldhaus Flims celebrates its 140th-year anniversary.