The Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina has a history of 170 years in hospitality. Originally built as a Gasthaus Rössli, the hotel has lived through many eventful years and conversions. Since 1898, when the Grand Hotel was given its present name "Kronenhof & Bellavista", the building has been a horseshoe-shaped three-wing structure with a forecourt, and with more than 350 beds.
A Grand Hotel rich in traditions
Valtellina wines helped the hotel survive the war
The wine shop set up in the cellar for Valtellina wines served as an invaluable store that provided a safe source of income in the crisis years of the First and Second World Wars. The shop allowed Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina to survive those years in which very few guests visited the Upper Engadine. The scene soon changed dramatically after both wars, however, when the neighbouring St. Moritz played host to the Olympic Winter Games in 1928 and 1948. Thus once again, the Upper Engadine became the setting for an international crowd.
New owner heralds restoration
In 1989, after 140 years of family tradition, the family Gredig sold the Grand Hotel to Swiss private investors. In 2004, the heritage-protected house once again changed hands when AG Grand Hotels Engadinerkulm, the group that also owns the Kronenhof’s sister hotel Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, purchased the Kronenhof Pontresina. The extensive restoration work and investments since then have allowed the Grand Hotel Kronenhof to live up to the grandeur of its heyday once again.
The Grande Dame had a facelift
As well as restoring rooms and hallways, the upgrade added an underground car park and a large spa. Today, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina is one of the best-preserved grand hotels from the 19th century as well as one of Switzerland’s top luxury and wellness hotels. In 2014, the Kronenhof gained the title "Best Hotel in the World" from the popular travel review site Tripadvisor.
Download the complete history of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof
Discover more details...
Andreas Gredig (1806–1877) from Grüsch, moves to Pontresina and buys the guest house Gasthaus Rössli for his son Lorenz Gredig (1829–1905). Lorenz establishes a wine shop in the cellar for Veltliner wine, and buys horses to transport the wine from Veltlin across the Bernina Pass. He also renovates the "Rössli" and, in 1851, reopens it as "Gasthaus zur Krone-Post".
Lorenz Gredig expands the guest-house operation, adding the adjoining old school house – commissioning Grisons master builder Nikolaus Hartmann Sr. to convert it, along with two further buildings across the street. The "Krone" now offers accommodation for 50 guests.
The “Krone” flourishes thanks to the Upper Engadine’s sudden popularity with tourists, and needs more rooms facing the valley for guests to dine and for celebrations. Hartman returns to build a new dining hall with a kitchen below it. He subsequently adds the “Bellavista wing” with its luxury salons (Salle de Conversation, Salle des Dames, Salle de Billard) and guest rooms with private drawing rooms. Lorenz Gredig also enhances the status of his establishment by renaming it: "Hotel Kronenhof und Bellavista".
The Kronenhof experiences its largest and most significant extension so far. Based on the plans of architects Jacob and Georg Ragaz, the hotel is transformed into a horseshoe-shaped three-winged complex with a forecourt (Cour d'honneur). The main entrance is now situated under the dome at the centre of the forecourt, featuring the impressive, light-flooded hotel foyer, and with elegant drawing rooms on either side. The extensions are completed by the addition of two side aisles to enlarge the dining room, which becomes known as the sumptuous “Grand Restaurant”. A tennis court is also built in the park. The hotel, which now features more than 350 guest rooms, is renamed once again to "Grand Hotel Kronenhof and Bellavista".
Lorenz Gredig dies and his son Lorenz Gredic-Fanconi (1861–1940) takes over the management of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof. The golden era of the Belle Époque brings well-heeled guests from all over the world – traveling comfortably from 1903 on the Rhaetian Railway from Chur to Samedan, and from 1908 directly to Pontresina. Lorenz Gredig-Fanconi builds an ice-skating rink and makes plans for a new wing with a separate ballroom. But then, in 1914, the First World War breaks out.
The war and the years of crisis that accompanied and immediately followed it put a massive strain on the Grand Hotel Kronenhof – only the wine shop and agriculture business are secure sources of income. Behind the scenes, however, more modernizing is taking place: the kitchen is extended, a new heating system installed, and en-suite bathrooms are added to all guest rooms.
St. Moritz hosts the Olympic Winter Games, and Pontresina hosts the ski-jumping competition. The Engadine once again becomes the haunt of the jet set, and this soon leads to a series of further innovations. In 1933 the architect Nikolaus Hartmann Jr. designs a wooden ice pavilion with a sun terrace at the grand hotel ice rink, and then in 1937/38 adds a new vault for the tavern as well as new pine wainscoting for the Restaurant Kronenstübli in the oldest part of the hotel.
The Second World War turns Switzerland into an Alpine fortress with only a few Swiss guests lodging in the oldest part of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof. At the age of 81, Lorenz Gredig-Fanconi dies. His children Lorenz Gredig-Stünzi (Grisons cantonal councillor, and vice president of the Swiss Hoteliers Association), Andreas Gredig (director of the hotel from 1945), Christian Gredig (director of the wine trade), Giachem Gredig (responsible for the agriculture business), Thomas Gredig and Margerite Gredig – the only daughter – continue to run the business.
The Winter Olympics takes place for the second time in the Upper Engadine. Once again, the region becomes the meeting point for an international crowd, with St. Moritz as the glamorous centre and Pontresina as an oasis of privacy and tranquillity.
Lorenz Gredig IV, son of Christian Gredig, takes the helm of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof. He welcomes industrialists, artists, royalty and film stars.
The Grand Hotel Kronenhof now has an indoor pool which is connected to the outdoor swimming pool in the large hotel park.
Family member Rita-Angela Gredig is the first woman to take over the management of Grand Hotel Kronenhof, which now has a staff of 140. In 1984, the establishment is leased, but since one of the 16 Gredig heirs demands cash, the Gredig family sells the Grand Hotel Kronenhof after 140 years of family tradition. The new owners, the Swiss private investors Hans C. Bodmer and Andreas G. Schmid, maintain the traditional establishment with great commitment until 2002, when the Zurich 5-star hotelier Henry Hunold takes over the management.
In spring, the AG Grand-Hotels Engadinerkulm AG, which owns the famous Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, purchases the Grand Hotel Kronenhof together with all its properties. In the course of a careful renovation, the former patrician Villa Ganzoni, as the newly designed west wing, opens its doors in December with 29 elegant rooms and suites.
Seven rooms, unused for 20 years, are completely renovated and refurbished in time to accommodate extra guests for the winter season. The corridors on the upper four floors are also completely redesigned and renovated, and the "pitch pine" that had panelled the old corridors for over 100-year is preserved and used in the new wooden floor of the Kronenstübli.
Further renovations had already been set into motion: an underground car park with 100 parking spaces, 28 additional rooms and suites and a more than 2000 m2 large wellness area were built. The Greek owners, the Niarchos family, invest around 35 million Swiss francs in these renovations. From April to November 2007, the staff housing and the kitchen were rebuilt. During this time, the entire hotel remained closed. Since the construction of the three-wing complex in the 19th century, this has been the greatest renovation the Grande Dame has undergone.
Since 2013, Marc Eichenberger is managing director at Grand Hotel Kronenhof. In 2015, he initiated the renovation and modernisation of the ski room.
For the 2016/2017 winter season, the last major architectural change takes place: The renowned French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon re-designs a total of 13 rooms and suites. His trademark is the combination of historical and local elements with classic timeless elegance. For example, white-glazed pine, mint green bedspreads and delicate earth tones give the newly designed rooms a natural lightness, while selected pictures and lamps recall the history of the house.
In 2018 the Grande Dame celebrated her 170th birthday. Today, history continues to live on in the walls of Grand Hotel Kronenhof.