Sanona Rehabilitation Project Enters Last Phase

  11.08.2015 Gstaad Living

Despite the fresh paint and building renovations, Saanen maintains a local feel, pleasantly devoid of big name brand stores and boutiques. Socialising has officially moved outdoors, with restaurants opening onto sprawling terraces making the village truly the “Jewel of the Saanenland.”


Brand Spanking New
Saanen’s renaissance was led by visionary city council member Heinz Brand. A local boy born and bred, Brand put his heart into “Sanona," finding a solution for each challenge along the way and carefully managing each of the project’s phases.

The first phase included making the main street pedestrian-only and diverting vehicular traffic via a new tunnel on the outskirts of town. Next came the construction of a vast underground parking garage and adjoining housing development. Last but not least, cobblestones were laid to create a traditional feel and the portion of the main road still open to cars was repaved; all this just in time for an initial celebratory event this summer.

Saanen Live
On 8 August, the SRF (Swiss Radio & Television) will broadcast live from Saanen for the "SRF bi de Lüt" programme. Over the past six months, the station has been busy filming a series of portraits and interviews with local spokespeople. These will air on the day itself, along with live coverage of the festivities. The television programme is one of the most expensive in the station’s yearly budget, and Brand is sure that the coverage will be beneficial to the region. An estimated 1,000–2,000 guests will attend the festivities, with many more expected to visit the town in the future.

“We are so lucky to be working with the SRF,” says Brand, “it’s our chance to show off all our hard work, and let all of Switzerland know that the Saanenland is not just the luxury of Gstaad. Saanen itself is a strikingly beautiful village that remains a place locals frequent. They shop here, they eat here, they relax here–and so should you!”

Finishing Touches
Before the project finally comes to a close, there are a few last details to put into place. A dozen trees will be planted along the pedestrian road, including a giant Linden on the Dorfplatz. This was saved for after the SRF braodcast, as they were concerned the tree would take up too much valuable space for event attendees and make filming more difficult.

Those who know Brand know that his spring of ideas never runs dry.

“Future plans include constructing a band shell on the Sanonaplatz between the 16 Café and the Hotel Landhaus,” suggests Brand. “This would allow a dedicated space for small concerts and keep the musicians out of the elements, which has until now been a problem.”

A small information bureau will also be built in the chalet that hosts the Heimatwerk and museum, in cooperation with Gstaad Saanenland Tourism.

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