Hotel Waldhaus Sils-Maria

Hotel Waldhaus
 

Hotel Waldhaus overlooking the village of Sils-Maria in the
Upper Engadin region of the Swiss Alps.


 

Few hotels can enjoy so many impressive approach roads as the Waldhaus in Sils. The Splügen-Maloja Pass to Italy runs very close by. The trail over the Julier Pass is just as impressive. And then there’s the route between St Moritz and Davos, which many consider to be one of Europe’s most spectacular mountain roads. And for travellers who prefer to avoid snowy alpine roads, the train winds its way up from the town of Chur. It is no wonder that, thanks to its many bridges and labyrinth of tunnels, the Rhaetian Railway has a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Its destination is the Engadine plateau, with neighbouring villages such as St Moritz, Celerina and Pontresina. Beyond the bustle of St Moritz Dorf, situated just outside the Suvretta district is Sils. This village is a favourite area of artists like Gerhard Richter and Jonathan Meese. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche found inspiration and relaxation in this region. As did the legendary Italian conductor Claudio Abbado: the 80-year old maestro chose a modest snow-covered chapel at the end of the deserted valley as his final resting place. Anne Frank, who spent two summers in her aunt’s huge and spectacularly situated chalet, also wrote lovingly of Sils. But for over a century the real, imposing attraction of Sils has been the Hotel Waldhaus. A region with the aura of an alpine ideal, an historic building and superlative climate are the perfect ingredients for an international reputation. It will come as no surprise that the Waldhaus has served repeatedly as a model for the Swiss hotel sector both in literature and the cinema. Director Claude Chabrol chose the Waldhaus as the setting for his 1997 film ‘Rien ne va plus’ starring Isabelle Huppert. More recently, scenes in the film ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ with Juliette Binoche in the lead role were shot here. Located on a steep mountainside, with panoramic views over the Engadine Alps and the great lake, this bastion of Swiss hospitality could be the model for a Disney dream castle. But after five generations in the same family, this hotel has little to do with the modernity of Disney. The hotel describes itself as ‘A family affair since 1908’. The new generation of Claudio and Patrick Dietrich are agreed: “We are a major house with history, but without star appeal.” They seem to respect the English adage ‘Change is good; no change is better’ and so none of the 230 guests will be startled by a huge metamorphosis when they return. “There is a double truth. The Waldhaus has hardly changed in 106 years. And the Waldhaus has changed profoundly in 106 years (continued on page 50).
 
—Copyright 2015 Yvo van Regteren Altena
 
 
 

Hotel Waldhaus
 

The Waldhaus Lounge

 
 

Hotel Waldhaus
 

Owners Claudio and Patrick Dietrich, 2015