Grandhotel Giessbach

  • Grandhotel Giessbach, Brienz
    Grandhotel Giessbach
  • Grandhotel Giessbach, Brienz
    Grandhotel Giessbach
  • Grandhotel Giessbach, Brienz
    Bankett
  • Grandhotel Giessbach, Brienz
    Restaurant Park
  • Grandhotel Giessbach, Brienz
    Restaurant Park
  • Grandhotel Giessbach, Brienz
    Terrasse Abend
  • Grandhotel Giessbach, Brienz
    Zimmer
  • Grandhotel Giessbach, Brienz
    Zimmer
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Today just as 100 years ago this historic hotel near the legendary, silver foaming Giessbach Falls high above Lake Brienz is a world of its own. Surrounded by mountains, forests and alpine meadows with breathtaking views of the intact Lake Brienz landscape, this secure oasis lies far away from the stress of everyday life.

The Grandhotel Giessbach, a structure from the golden age of tourism (dating from 1873) and winner of the “Historic Hotel of the Year” award for 2004, enjoys a picturesque waterfall setting between the mountains and the Lake of Brienz. The magnificent reception rooms and lounges feature original furnishings. The small funicular railway, now 125 years old, which runs from the private steamboat terminal to the hotel, is an attraction in itself.

Geschichte Grandhotel Giessbach

History since 1837

Thanks to Brienz teacher Johannes Kehrli, the Giessbach Falls were already well-known in 1800. At that time, many visitors were rowed across the lake to the waterfalls by the famous Brienz women rowers. The waterfalls were lit in the evening starting in 1840, and in 1857, the first hotel was opened. Giessbach flourished starting in 1870, when the hotel was purchased by the well-known Hauser hotelier family. In line with architect Horace Edouard Davinet’s (1839–1922) plans, a grand hotel with its own gasworks, a large laundry, several baths, a number of bathrooms and a covered walkway in ‘foresto-rustico’ style was built on an artificial terrace. To make it more accessible, the Hauser brothers built their own funicular from the boat landing to the hotel in 1879. In 1883, a fire changed the look of the hotel. Instead of the 1875 cupolas, the turrets were topped with slim ‘Prussian helmets’ and façade decorations in the Swiss chalet style were added. When the hotel reopened in July 1884, the first electric lights came on at the new Giessbach. Following several changes in owners during the 20th century, the hotel closed its doors in 1979, and was supposed to make room for a modern chalet apartment house. A working group led by Rudolf von Fischer, head of the Bernese Burgerrat, worked to save the traditional hotel with its unique park. At the last minute they managed to interest well-known environmentalist Franz Weber. He set up the Giessbach dem Schweizervolk foundation and in an unparalleled campaign raised the necessary three million francs to save the hotel. In 1983, the foundation acquired the Giessbach property, and a year later they were able to celebrate the reopening of the hotel, which was restored with the help of the office for preservation of historic buildings. Since then, the funicular has also been renovated. As Switzerland’s oldest funicular, it is still largely in its original condition. In 2004, Icomos named the Grandhotel Giessbach Historic Hotel of the Year. That same year, the hotel became one of the founding members of Swiss Historic Hotels. (RF)

Mark von Weissenfluh
  • Host
  • Mark von Weissenfluh
  • Hotel type
  • Romantik Hotel, lake, park, banquets, events, weddings, seminars, funicular
  • Hotel facilities
  • 70 rooms, gourmet restaurant, park restaurant, bar, oldest funicular, 54 acre park, seminar rooms, historic banquet rooms, free WLAN
  • Hotel classification
  • ICOMOS-certified
  • Historic hotel of the year 2004
  • Price range
  • CHF 100–200 / EUR 96–192
  • Open
  • April to October
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