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Just in time for the peak ski season, today we launch our series of hotel profiles with Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald a century old family run property which combines traditional Swiss hospitality with a commitment to modern sustainable practices.
“The decision to be more sustainable came from my parents in 1986,” says Philip Hauser, great-grandson to Johann Hauser who built the Belvedere. In 1907 Johann named the establishment “Belvedere,” which means “beautiful view.”
According to Philip, climate change has been obvious to the family for many years. “Therefore, a decision was made that we have to help conserve our nature, as well as our heritage.”
At the Belvedere, every effort is made to respect nature and conserve resources. The hotel was awarded the “Travelife Gold” certificate for ecologically responsible hotels and utilizes a wide range of energy-saving technologies, some of which are unique to the Bern area.
“Our hotel is connected to a wood-fired heat plant at the bottom of our valley, the first of its kind in the region,” Philip explains. “The idea of this plant came from a local hotel owner and was built by the area’s hotel association in cooperation with BKW (the Bernese power provider) and the local municipality.”
The plant is fired by waste wood from sawmills and construction sites, as well as storm-felled wood from local forests and is CO2-neutral.
At the hotel, more wasted energy is also utilized in the form of “waste heat,” or in this case, the heat wasted by being released into the environment from the air conditioning/ventilation system. This source is used to heat water for the Belvedere’s indoor pool.
The 56-room hotel also installed heat pumps to warm the indoor pool area and the outdoor saltwater Jacuzzi. The transfer of heat with heat pumps, which use electricity rather than combustion, is another highly efficient option. All electricity for the Belvedere is generated in a nearby hydroelectric power station.
“Instead of a highly energy-intensive system for air conditioning, the hotel is cooled by cold water from the ground during the summer”, says Philip “The plan is to then use this warm water backflow to again heat the pools and water for other facilities.”
Read more about Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald’s sustainable practices
The hotel’s Restaurant Français is a member of the French gourmet association Chaîne des Rôtisseurs and offers inventive cuisine using fresh, homegrown ingredients featuring Swiss specialties, as well as light fusion food with a Mediterranean influence.
On Monday evenings the hotel offers a peek behind the scenes with a visit to the kitchen with chef Florian Stadler and his crew. Thursdays feature an extensive dessert buffet and Friday is steak tartare night when Philip’s dad Urs Hauser prepares fresh steak tartare right at your table.
Also onsite is the rustic Spycher fondue restaurant where you can enjoy a raclette, the typical cheese fondue, or special Belvedere-style fondue “chinoise.” This type of fondue is similar to Japanese shabu-shabu and features thinly-sliced meat and vegetables cooked at the table in a pot of beef broth and wine accompanied by delicious dips.
The southern-facing rooms at the Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald offer panoramic views of the Eiger, while those on the north side look out on the Wetterhorn peak. The hotel also features a saltwater Jacuzzi outdoors in the garden in addition to an indoor whirlpool next to the pool.
On the property you can also enjoy a Finnish sauna and a glacier steam bath while the whole family can warm up in the “heat mine gallery.” According to Philip, this unique type of sauna has a temperature of 50-55 °C (122-131 °F) so it’s a bit cooler than the typical Finnish sauna. Finish off with a tropical rain shower or an icy mist!
Did you know that …
The Eiger is considered one of the 10 most difficult mountains to climb, so much so that its north face side has earned the nickname of Murder Wall, and for this reason it has been the protagonist of several movies like “The Eiger Sanction” (1975) directed and starred by Clint Eastwood, and “North Face” (2008).
The Jungfrau region
Outside the hotel the Jungfrau region offers endless possibilities. Since the hotel is located in the Bernese Alps, it’s a prime winter sports region with skiing, snowboarding, sledging, and winter hiking. Stay three nights and you’ll receive a two-day ski pass or hiking/sledging pass.
Discover the 213 kilometers (132 miles) of slopes in the three ski areas of Grindelwald-First, Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen and Mürren-Schilthorn. Each has amazing views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains. Also the non-skiers of the party can enjoy the region that has numerous winter hiking trails and spectacular sleigh runs like the “Big Pintenfritz”, the longest sleigh run in the world snaking down a full 15km (9.3 miles)!
For those on their first foray to the slopes, BodmiArena recreation area offers ideal conditions for novices. Also nearby, the Snowpark Grindelwald-First Park has beginner’s slopes, as well as an expert zone plus half pipes and bag jumps where you can try the craziest single or double flips and spins.