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BARGAIN LUXURY TRAVEL - SWITZERLAND

GRANDHOTEL GIESSBACH – LAKE BRIENZ
19th Century Elegance at the Giessbach Falls

There are number of grand hotels in Switzerland, built during the 19th Century glory days of the Grand Tour, when aristocrats came for the summers to the lake shores and mountains. Many of these have been so updated that you’re very aware of the current century. The Grand Hotel Giessbach in its secluded park above Lake Brienz, offers a very different experience. In its elegantly appointed salons of carefully restored antique furniture you feel as if at any moment, you might encounter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a tail coat, inviting you to a game of billiards, or share a tea with the Grand Dowager of Moldova. The Grand Hotel Giessbach first opened in 1875, after two years of construction, built by the Hauser Family of hoteliers, commissioned from French architect Horace Edouard Davinet. The magnificent location next to the cascade of the 400 meter high Geissbach Waterfall and breathtaking views of Lake Brienz brought painters and the practitioners of that new art of photography to picture the splendor of the falls and attracted the aristocratic custom of kings, statesmen and diplomats.

Lounge at Grand Hotel GiessbachThe Grand Hotel Giessbach had reached its zenith of popularity by the time of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, but the next war brought a hard decline for the Swiss tourism business and the Giessbach Hotel suffered. It had gone through many owners and was renovated in 1949, but finally closed its doors in 1979. Plans were made to demolish the old building and replace it with a concrete chalet hotel, but it was saved by Swiss Ecologist Franz Weber who purchased the property in 1983 and placed it in a preservation trust as a Swiss landmark. The hotel played a role in the fictional war as a film location. In the last episode of the HBO WWII television series “Band of Brothers”, the 101st airborne arrives at a lakeside mansion, which is supposed to be in Austria, but is in fact on Lake Brienz in Switzerland. Many of the scenes were filmed in and around the hotel.

The Grand Hotel Giessbach is uniquely reached by boat with a historic funicular from the Lake Brienz boat dock (you can get there by car too, but why spoil the experience). The Giessbach Funicular is the oldest of its kind in Switzerland, rising from the lake shore to the hotel, past the tumbling spray of the waterfall (see Giessbach Funicular). The funicular is timed to meet the boat for transfer to the Brienz train station or to Interlaken. And while the Giessbach Fall could easily double for the more notorious Reichenbach Falls from the Sherlock Holmes stories, that cataract is a train stop away in Meiringen (see Sherlock Holmes Museum Meiringen). The Giessbach parkland provides ample hiking opportunities with a rock bridge underneath the waterfall, and a base for cruising the lake. Many rooms offer lake views or a view of the waterfall. The hotel is a ten minute boat ride from Rothorn Mountain Railway to high scenic hiking at the Brienz dock (see Brienz Rothorn Railway).

For visiting Switzerland castles see Favorite Castles of Switzerland.

The Grand Hotel Giessbach is a popular destination for its restaurants. The Park Restaurant Les Cascades offers classic cuisine in the elegance of window niches and bays looking out on the view of the waterfall. The Terrace Restaurant seating is in front of the hotel with views of the lake and vista of the distant Alps. The fine dining Gourmet Restaurant Le Tapis Rouge features regional seasonal innovative cuisine of sophisticated ingredients by Chef Mike Zarges. Reservations are recommended for non-hotel guests. The Hotel Bar and the Salons of Davinet and Giron offer a relaxed seating environment to enjoy a drink or a sweet in the old world La Belle Epoch elegance of the grand architecture, while in the afternoons and evenings to the sounds of live piano
. © Bargain Luxury Travel

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Grand Hotel Giessbach

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