By. Cityroom Staff
Celebrating 150 years as the Cradle of Winter Tourism
With the summer season at the Kulm Hotel St Moritz (www.kulm.com) coming to an end, it was at this time 150 years’ ago that the then owner of the property, Johannes Badrutt, made a bold bet: he promised the last departing summer guests of 1864 a free stay from December to the following spring, if their winter holiday in St Moritz was not as sunny and as pleasant as it had been over the summer. Tanned and full of enthusiasm, the British guests returned home the following spring (1865) and spread the word about their fantastic mountain winter at (what was then called) the Hotel Engadiner Kulm in St Moritz.
Current & historic views of the Kulm Hotel St Moritz
Previously, St. Moritz had only been a popular summer holiday destination: a place to which people, mainly British who comprised about 75% of the guests, flocked for relaxing spa and painting holidays. Badrutt, however, could see the potential to extend the holiday season through the winter and this he did with his wager, laying the foundations for the creation of Alpine winter tourism. The Brits returned year after year and soon found ways to entertain themselves in the snow: sledding from the Kulm Hotel onto the frozen Lake St Moritz (leading to the creation of the world-famous Cresta Run) and sliding down the mountain slopes on planks (the birth of downhill skiing).
The Cresta Run; the ballroom, now the Grand Restaurant, where the first electric lights were installed
Badrutt, a legend within the Swiss hotel industry, had always been something of a pioneer: the Hotel Engadiner Kulm had been the village’s first hotel, thereby laying the foundations for the Swiss luxury hotel industry in the Alps, and in 1878 he had the country’s first electric lighting installed in the hotel’s ballroom as a novelty.
When the 2014/15 winter season opens on 5 December 2014, the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz will be celebrating 150 years since the birth of winter tourism. We look forward to a season of exciting events and innovative packages, inspired by the innovative spirit of Johannes Badrutt. Stay tuned!