Is this the Finest Hotel in the World?
Recently awarded the top hotel in the world for 2014 by Travellers' Choice
(based on reviews on their website),
The Grand Hotel Kronenhof is tucked high up in the Swiss mountains,
in the little village of Pontresina near St Moritz.
It's one of the younger "old hotels",
dating back to 1898 when it was a glamorous spot for the wealthy,
a quiet yet elegant retreat after a day spent skating and skiing.
I remember staying there many years ago,
relishing the "faded grandeur" of what was still a gracious, yet burnished
piece of romantic architecture set amidst the dramatic snow covered landscape.
The lady had seriously lost her sparkle over time, however,
and the hotel has undergone extensive renovations over the last 8 years,
with the major focus being on the "public" or front of house areas
rather than the bedrooms themselves.
And it is this addition, of a swimming pool pavilion, in such stark contrast to the
late 19th century romantic folly of the original hotel building,
where the spirit of the wishes of the modern traveller have been captured
in a building of sculptural form,
which has piqued my attention.
Black framed glazing allows the eye to look beyond to the view,
while the angled mullions gently reinforce the notion of triangulated mountains.
The trapezoid columns, however, tease the eye,
turning the mountain shape
It's clever architecture: injecting a sense of play amongst the lines.
The refurbishment of the hotel is a mix of tradition and modernity,
with the bedrooms themselves tending to the traditional,
and the public areas more of a mix.
And glamour, of course, is never far away.
Now this is a literal order of drinks on ice, I think….
Now I don't know whether I would agree that it is the Top Hotel in the World,
having not stayed there since these major renovations and a new owner
have transformed it, each in their way.
(And I'm always a little dubious of these sorts of rankings anyhow.)
But it's certainly a top example of breathing new life into old architecture,
and celebrating both the new and the old in the process,
which has to be a good thing in my book.
images from the hotel website: grand hotel kronenof at pontresina