After undergoing a multi-million dollar, five-month, extensive renovation, the Grand Dame re-opens in time for the celebration of Grand Resort Bad Ragaz's 150th anniversary
After five months of construction and an investment of CHF 45 million (approximately $45.5 million USD), Grand Resort Bad Ragaz’s completely renovated Grand Hotel Quellenhof opened its doors once again on July 1. For 150 years, Grand Hotel Quellenhof has served as the flagship of Europe’s leading wellbeing and medical health resort. Within Grand Hotel Quellenhof, the resort now houses two new restaurants, verve by sven and Memories, both designed and conceived by top chef Sven Wassmer.
The five-star hotel in Bad Ragaz has been amongst the crown jewels of the Swiss luxury hotel industry for several years. Countless statesmen, movie stars and royal family members have spent the night in one of the hotel’s luxurious suites. CEO Patrick Vogler and Marco R. Zanolari, General Manager of the Grand Hotels, are now leading the grand dame into a new era. With the completion of the renovation, they have taken an important step towards realizing their vision of becoming the number one grand hotel in Europe. “We had the vision of bringing our hotel into a new era of luxury hospitality, and we have succeeded,” said Vogler.
Famed Swiss interior designer Claudio Carbone is responsible for the redesign of the Grand Hotel Quellenhof. The story of Bad Ragaz began with the discovery of the 36.5-degree thermal water in the Tamina gorge 777 years ago, and the new design concept is centered around both the hotel’s history and its thermal water. In order to clearly depict the hotel’s connection to the thermal water, a total of three new thermal water fountains were installed throughout the resort during the renovation. These fountains feature a continuous flow of fresh thermal drinking water for guests to consume. The fountains are far from the only new additions, all the furniture, curtains and light fixtures inside the Quellenhof were also redesigned. “The extensive planning and preparation work took around two years,” said Vogler.
“We want to offer our guests a place of refuge that combines luxury and well-being in a hotel that also satisfies the demands of today,” said Zanolari. “We were able to create a perfect harmony between the history of the hotel and its modern, stylish interior. The hotel was completely booked in the first few days after reopening, and guests were also particularly enthusiastic about the new restaurants.”
New Top Suite
As part of the comprehensive renovations, the Grand Hotel Quellenhof has added another top suite for its guests – the King Suite. Now, the entire resort boasts a total of five top suites. Previously, guests could choose from the Royal Suite (Grand Hotel Quellenhof), the Penthouse Suite and the Presidential Suite (both in the Spa Suites Tower), and the Imperial Suite (Palais) – four very different offerings. With the newly designed King Suite, the Grand Hotel has secured its place amongst the best Swiss luxury hotels for many years to come. The goal of the renovations was to preserve the history of the Grand Hotel Quellenhof and allow continued growth with further developments in the future.
Shedding Light on Design Details
When it came to designing the interiors of all the rooms in the hotel, architect Claudio Carbone made sure to pay special attention to the lighting. He used unusual light fixtures, all of which were inspired by nature, to create an entirely new atmosphere in the Grand Hotel Quellenhof. The highlight of the lighting concept is the 53-foot chandelier in the lobby that presides over all four floors. With 2,500 clear and blue spheres of various sizes, it calls to mind the image of a flowing waterfall, while the reflection of light breathes life into the artful elements that were created by Czech glassblowers.
Design Features of Memories and verve by sven
In addition to the comprehensive renovation work, the restaurants at the Grand Hotel Quellenhof have also undergone a complete transformation. Chef Sven Wassmer has steered the Quellenhof in a new culinary direction with two brand new restaurants. The 32-year-old culinary director is responsible for both his signature restaurant Memories and the restaurant verve by sven. Where Memories was designed to celebrate contemporary Alpine cuisine at the pinnacle of fine dining, verve by sven focuses on health and lifestyle. The name itself derived from the French word verve, meaning both “energy” and “zest,” provides an insight into what this restaurant offers seven days a week.
This is also reflected in the interior design of the restaurant, which is characterized by natural materials and a subtle color palette. Two highlights of the interior are the “living wall,” a wall that is entirely covered in live plants that provide decoration and improves the air quality in the room, and the eye-catching seats, which are positioned under large cloches. At verve by sven, an oversized version of this classic tableware is adopted as an interior design element. Breakfast will play a key role at the new restaurant. “With a view to health and sustainability, we are consciously moving away from the traditional breakfast buffet and offering breakfast options with fixed items instead,” said Wassmer.
verve by sven is also unlike any other restaurant in terms of its architecture, as the hotel bar is an integral aspect of the restaurant and is harmoniously integrated into the space. Situated at the center of the restaurant, the bar is finally accorded the status it deserves. “We want the spaces on the ground floor of the Grand Hotel Quellenhof to act as the heart of the hotel,” said Zanolari. The charming glass wine cellar and elegant reception desk play an important role in conveying this feeling. The walk-in wine cellar, the domain of Wine Director Amanda Wassmer-Bulgin, can hold around 4,000 bottles and is intended to one day be a destination for wine lovers from near and far. Another meeting point that will quickly become a popular fixture is the fireplace in the middle of the hotel lobby. The space is illuminated by hundreds of Swarovski crystals that previously adorned the chandeliers in the Restaurant Bel-Air. Comfortable yet stylish lounge chairs are placed throughout the lobby.
150 Years of Significant History
Bernhard Simon, the courageous pioneer of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, made Swiss tourism history when he purchased the Bad Ragaz estate in 1868. Construction of the Grand Hotel Quellenhof began just a few days later, and the hotel welcomed its first guests on July 10, 1869. The estate expanded steadily and received illustrious guests from around the globe who were active in the worlds of politics, business and high society. After several turbulent years, the Schmidheiny family of entrepreneurs became involved with Bad Ragaz on January 3, 1928. Jacob Schmidheiny was named the President of the Board of Directors of Bad- und Kuranstalten Ragaz-Pfäfers. Great-uncle of current Member of the Board of Directors Dr. h.c. Thomas Schmidheiny, Jacob Schmidheiny shaped the destiny of the hotel for a total of 15 years. He was succeeded by his nephew, Dr. h.c. Max Schmidheiny, and in turn by his son, Dr. h.c. Thomas Schmidheiny, who remains actively involved in the hotel to this day. His daughter, Lisa Schmidheiny, represents the fourth generation of the Schmidheiny family to have a close relationship with the company.