Grand Hotel Bellevue
Europe became mobile in the early 19th century. With the building of roads and train lines, the urban elite could now conquer the Alps. In the Urseren Valley, this change came in 1830 with the building of the Gotthard Pass road. City dwellers of course did not wish to forgo their accustomed luxury, which Andermatt residents quickly identified to be a unique opportunity. In its day, the Grand Hotel Bellevue was unmatched in the mountainous Urseren Valley. After the hotel opened, guests came in droves over the Gotthard Pass road to Andermatt. Even the family of the Crown Prince of Saxony and Russian aristocracy paid the hotel a visit. The opening of the Gotthard railway tunnel in 1882 made the arduous journey with the stagecoach over the Gotthard Pass obsolete, with the result that guests became less frequent. The posh hotel was forced to adapt to the changes, and in 1900 it became a spa hotel and was renamed the “Grand Hotel Bellevue Palace”. This brought Italian industrialists to Andermatt, who prized the weather and the fresh alpine air. In the cooler months, more and more guests discovered the sporting possibilities in the Urseren Valley, heralding the start of winter sport tourism in Andermatt. The First World War and the economic crisis of the late 1920s dampened the enthusiasm somewhat, but the hotel continued to survive. With the outbreak of the Second World War, the hotel’s glamorous years had definitively come to an end. Guests were infrequent, and the hotel had to close its doors forever in 1939.
Thereafter, Andermatt became an important strategic military site. Tourism, which had developed in Andermatt as a result of the Grand Hotel Bellevue, was no longer given much attention. The Chief of Staff of the Swiss Army resided at the venerable Grand Hotel. In 1986 it was torn down. The land remained an open field until the summer of 2009, when excavations began for The Chedi Andermatt hotel.
The Chedi Andermatt
In 2005 the Egyptian visionary Samih Sawiris discovered the potential of Andermatt during a visit to the Urseren Valley. He drew up a project designed to awaken Andermatt from its slumber. This project consisted of an upgrading of the ski area, several hotels, apartment buildings and thus many new jobs as well. A clear majority of Andermatt's residents voted in favour of these plans in 2007. As a result, the vision of turning Andermatt into a tourism destination was on the road to becoming a reality. Construction work began in 2009 with the ground-breaking ceremony for The Chedi Andermatt hotel on the historic grounds on which the Grand Hotel Bellevue once stood. After four years of construction, the five-star deluxe hotel opened on 6 December 2013. Together with the adjacent residence buildings, the construction cost about 300 million Swiss francs. The hotel itself has 123 rooms and suites, along with a further 106 residences and 13 penthouses. The hotel complex also features a Japanese and a European/Asian restaurant.