Europe for Visitors - Home
Switzerland & Austria Index Europe Index

"RIFFELALP HISTORY" Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Riffelalp Grand Hotel Resort Zermatt Switzerland This bucolic postcard shows the Riffelalp Grand Hotel in its glory days.

Golden Age and wars

During the first World War, the Hotel Riffelalp was forced to cut back and reduce its number of beds to 200. But the guests returned soof after the end of the war, and the Hotel Riffelalp experienced a golden age at the end of the 1920s. Investments were made in amenities and sanitary installations.

"Prices were immaterial, Riffelalp was fashionable," recalls Emeline Zschokke-Seiler, who took over the mountain hotel's management in 1932. But once again, difficult war years followed, and it was only thanks to a loyal band of Swiss guests that the Hotel Riffelalp was able to survive those times. After the war, the hotel's reputation spread as far as the U.S.A., and even the Rockefellers spent their holidays here and enjoyed the most stunning view of the Matterhorn.

A sudden end

Just as plans were about to be implemented to prepare the Hotel Riffelalp for winter sports by installing a new central heating sgystem, a fire broke out on 15 February 1961 at around 11 p.m. in the south wing of the empty hotel. The fire brigade, arriving from Zermatt, was able to save the two chapels and the annexes from the fire. The Hotel Riffelalp was consumed by flames. Only the blackened foundation walls jutted into the blue Zermatt sky after this sad event. Guests from across the world were horrified when they heard the bad news and have lived off their memories of glittering balls, festive concerts, and festive gatherings in the former Hotel Riffelalp ever since.

Source of history and photos: Riffelalp Resort

>> Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

For other information on the resort and Zermatt, click these links:

Riffelalp articles: Photo galleries: Zermatt articles:
Riffelalp Resort Historical photos Zermatt (Winter)
Historical overview The new hotel Gornergrat Railway
Reviewer's notes Zermatt skiing Matterhorn
Related Web links Zermatt village Glacier Express