Andrea Scherz has been awarded the Hotelier of the Year 2019 accolade by the renowned journalist and hotel critic Karl Wild.
“Many well-heeled guests only stay at one place when in the Bernese Oberland: The Gstaad Palace,” writes hotel critic Karl Wild. The reasons come in droves: “This fairy-tale castle with battlements, bay windows and turrets is unique and one of a kind. The facilities and services are world class.” That’s not all. The hotel has character, charm and history into the bargain. Not all of the five luxury hotels in the town hold so many aces.
Then, of course, we come to the family that owns the hotel, the Scherz family. “Andrea Scherz manages the dream hotel, now into its third generation, with as much passion as his father and grandfather before him.” He has seen many changes in his 18 years as general manager: new competitors have sprung up, billionaires who were once his guests now have their own chalets.
And yet, Wild says: “With many successful years in the past, last winter’s occupancy rates at the Gstaad Palace were better than ever before. Every year, around CHF 4m is invested in the hotel.” The main person responsible for this great success story is Andrea Scherz, who sincerely deserves the award of Hotelier of the Year, which is long overdue in Wild’s view.
Owner and hotel manager
Scherz is the director of one of the last owner-managed luxury hotels in Europe. As the owner, he has dedicated himself to the 90-room Gstaad Palace Hotel since 1996. “This prestigious hotel in Oberbort, Gstaad is a real ‘family affair’,” writes the Gstaad Palace in a press release. “I was born and raised with a sense of hospitality. My grandfather Ernst and my father Ernst Andrea (who still helps me to make important decisions) passed on their passion for the hotel industry to me. My mentors have always reminded me of our main goal: There is no such word as ‘no’ at the Gstaad Palace”, explains Scherz. He ads about the award: “This honour brings me great satisfaction – not just for me personally, but above all, for our talented, comprehensive team of up to 300 individuals. Every day, we work hard to preserve our tradition of hospitality. This can be challenging as we are now living in a time where the entire luxury hotel industry has never been as demanding as it is today.”
The hotel industry runs in the family’s blood
It’s true that quality runs in the family’s blood. In 2015 Andrea’s father, Ernst Andrea, was honoured with the Leading Legend Award by Leading Hotels of the World. “I entered the hotel industry voluntarily. It really interested me and I was driven by a spark of madness, which is intuitive to every member of the Scherz family.” The Gstaad Palace was a kind of playground for Scherz. Numerous personalities have been regular guests there since his childhood, including Roger Moore, Roy Emerson, Yehudi Menuhin, the former president of France, Jacques Chirac and the former prime minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher (who even wrote her memoirs at the Gstaad Palace).
Hotels from the region
As in every year, the hotel rankings list contains a number of the region’s hotels: In the best holiday hotels category, the Gstaad Palace was 4th. Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad was 7th, the Ultima Gstaad 9th, the Alpina Gstaad 13th and the Park Gstaad in 15th place. In the Nice Price Hotels category, as in previous years, the Hotel Spitzhorn in Saanen scooped a podium place, coming in 3rd. The Hotel de Rougemont was 7th, HUUS Gstaad 8th and the Romantik Hotel Hornberg in 13th place. The Wellness & Spa Hotel, Ermitage was listed in the Wellness Hotels category as in every year. This year, it came in 7th place.
Based on AvS/Blanca Burri
Translated by Justine Hewson