woensdag 12 maart 2014

mountain village Andermatt goes into a luxury resort from a Pharao

The investments of an Egyptian Pharao billionaire Andermatt is the new, large ski circuit in the canton of Uri. Some hope that from the mountain village of St. Moritz is a second. Others fear it.


A red train rattles in the twilight through the white nothingness. It is the Matterhorn-Gotthard Railway, which runs through the snowy Sedrun Oberalp Pass from Andermatt. It is cold, minus 19 degrees, a clear night. Powder snow trickles, the wind whistles, the slopes up here include chamois and ptarmigan. But soon there will be nothing more here than the white.

Next week opens in the valley below a luxury resort its doors until 2017, modern lifts, restaurants and other hotels emerge - Andermatt is the new, large ski circuit in the canton of Uri.

The rugged region has it all. On the hairpin curves of Andermatt up to the Furka Pass and the Aurora-filling station in 1964 "Goldfinger" was filmed - with Sean Connery in a silver Aston Martin as agent 007Despite the film, the quaint old-fashioned mountain village made on 1447 meters height not an international career as a winter sports paradise. Andermatt was literally disappeared from the scene of his pretty shady valley.

Glamour in Andermatt

A long time it was little more than a secret, in the summer for mountain bikers and motorcyclists, in the winter for a few crack skiers and freeriders, which sufficed the few lifts. The restaurants in the mountain village are still dominated by the style of the seventies, they are called "ox" or "mountain idyll" (room 21 in which Connery asleep, is unchanged, the bathroom tile mint green).

But now is to move Glamour: Converted nearly 500 to 1,800 euros a night in a temple of the new well-being. On 20 December opens the hotel " Chedi Andermatt "five star plus, six felt - a work of the Egyptian billionaire Samih Sawiris.

In 2005, he flew with the winter sun in the helicopter over the white valley and immediately recognized a jewel like made for a luxury resort surrounded by mountains, at the foot of the Gotthard. One wonders: Why is no one before him had the idea?

Modesty is another way

Well, mainly because it to "a long of puff needs," such as hotel director Alain Bachmann says - and a little money.CHF 400 million have already been invested in the construction of the project " Andermatt Swiss Alps "1.8 billion it should be at the end: for a total of six hotels (four-and five-star establishments) with 850 rooms and 500 apartments, 25 villas , golf course, park, swimming pools, sports, leisure and convention center on an area of 1.4 million square meters. Modesty is different.

But Sawiris, the mountain people the choice of "Pharaoh" or "Rockefeller of the Nile" call wants the village to "raise a new tourist level", namely one with St. Moritz, Davos or Gstaad - because modesty is misplaced. As for the room in the "Chedi", so it can be stated that even now clearly moving in the top league of Swiss winter sports destinations.

 The prestige of a Nobel local Andermatt had before. Until the opening of the railway tunnel through the Gotthard massif in 1882 everyone who wanted to had over the Gotthard, through Andermatt.

Lung disease and Russian aristocracy
This fact attracted many guests from kurenden lung patients to the Russian aristocracy. Where now opened the "Chedi", since 1872 was the noble hotel "Bellevue", with its own ice rink, the Sawiris the "Chedi" Patio want to build next year. Old photos show women with long skirts and fur hats on skates before Art Nouveau facades.

At this era the "Chedi" wants to continue. Dark, elegant and cool, the hotel, with an indoor pool, heated outdoor pool, 194 fireplaces, 2400 square meter spa. Hotel architect Jean-Michel Gathy, a Belgian based in Malaysia, relies on glass, granite, brown red leather, Kuhfellteppiche, lounge sofas. If the restaurant big black vases with red flowers, long wooden tables with modern chandeliers and in the middle of a walk-in cabinet with wines from around the world and Alpine cheese from the Urserntal.

Asian modern and alpine chic is the style of the house, the first branch of the luxury hotel chain GHM from Singapore. For the combination of old and new are also the Skibutler in cardigans that will help in the "Living Room" guests in warmed ski boots, skis and get them to bring to the runway.

Withdrawal of the military

A new dimension of luxury, no comparison to the quaint coziness in most other guest houses in the village. For decades, luxury was not asked here, not least because the village has lived well over a hundred years by the military. The Gotthard was and is strategically important until the end of the 90s, the defense was rehearsed. Today in the steep, shady, sometimes icy mountains around Andermatt train only a few Mountaineer Swiss Army.

"It was like a state of shock," says hotel manager Bachmann on the withdrawal of the military, who left a helpless village. They had become accustomed to inns, restaurants and shops were filled with little effort.

 t had to be someone from the outside, in this case, a Coptic Christian from Egypt, Which in Berlinhas studied and speaks perfect German. His language skills and his religion were certainly decisive, as the Catholic Uri familiar to the investor, who envisioned them what is possible in Andermatt.

Yak meat and spicy H├╝swirschtli

But fit VIPs here at all? In Andermatt, a main road runs through the icy river, old wooden clapboard houses standing around a baroque church - everything is calm, yesterday's in the best sense.

In the morning at four makes butcher Ferdinand MUHEIM delicious sausages, as ever. Sold in the store, decorated with stuffed animals, Urschner yak meat and spicy H├╝swirschtli. Outside there is a sign: "Cooked udder". The butcher is in a "Chedi" in and out, knows everyone, even the investor: "Without Sawiris we would be ruined, all gone now our young farmers have a future again.." When it comes after him, the VIPs are just all come.

The village doctor sees Andreas von Schulthess, 64, white beard, sweater, in his practice with tiled stove completely different: "Even now find young Andermatt no cheap apartment more, many have to move to the lowlands." It is disastrous that Andermatt and the whole valley had gone into a function of an investor, which he calls an "unscrupulous speculators". "The architecturally extremely debatable Hotel monstrosity is a brutal intervention," he says. Previously we have seen the church, the village, the doctor says, and today only "this giant pseudo chalet with his ridiculous wooden lattices, as in Thailand . sees from the "other find just the modern and elegant: a sort of Chiang Mai in the snow.

 Village with tradition

Quite close to it at the new luxury, surrounded by it, so to speak, are the 22 residents of elderly and nursing home in Andermatt, 90 years old on average, many from Andermatt. "We see no sun, no longer runway, only concrete, and loud it is," complains Michaela Mattli, head of nursing services on one hand. On the other hand: "You also have something positive to say. We look forward to the rich and famous"
Unlike "El Gouna" that conjured out of nowhere Egyptian Red Sea resort, which also belongs Samih Sawiris, Andermatt is not an art village, but one with a tradition that needs new impetus.

The beautiful new luxury holiday world could bring exactly that.Whether the project will be successful, but it is not yet clear. Only one thing is certain: Those who want to see the old, tranquil Andermatt again, it should go quickly. For product filter is going to be a red train rattles through the white nothingness.

Map of Andermatt Switserland. 

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