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History

The history of a family dynasty

From the Saracens to the Hotel Saratz

In 1865, a traditional Engadine farmhouse was converted into the boarding house Saratz and in 1875, the era of belle époque, extended to create a splendid first-class hotel. The Hotel Saratz quickly established itself as one of Switzerland’s best 19th century hotels. The hotel experienced its heyday as a member of the Hotels de tout Premier Rang Suisses (today Swiss Deluxe Hotels) under the management of four generations of the owning Saratz family.

Many leading personalities from industry, science, the arts, politics and the diplomatic world from Switzerland, Europe and beyond were regular guests at the Hotel Saratz during the Engadine mountain summers. In 1973, owing to the lack of a family successor, the hotel was leased out for the first time. And so for the next 21 years, the wonderful hotel, full of atmosphere and characterized by its turn-of-the-century charm, was run on different principles as the 3-star Hotel Atlas and developed for winter business.

The Saratz family were the actual founders of Pontresina. Their roots go back to the Saracens, an Arab people who came from North Africa as early as 932 BC, travelling via Spain, over the Alps and into our region to seize land and acquire property and riches. Even the name Pontresina can be traced back to these immigrants. The old bridge leading to the town was built by the Saracens and called Pontem Sarasinam, later Ponte Saracino. Over the centuries this became today’s Romansh name of Puntraschigna or Pontresina.

As today, until into the 1970s the Hotel Saratz was run as a family and child-friendly hotel by generation after generation of the Saratz family. For an entire century, it ranked as one of the best hotels in the region. As a 5-star hotel, it was a member of the “Groupement des hotels de tout premier rang” (later Leading Hotels of Switzerland) into the 1970s. In 1960, Gian Pepi Saratz, the last director from the family dynasty to manage the hotel, built the first large heated outdoor pool in the Upper Engadine on the initiative of his mother.

In 1974, as no other family member could be inspired to join the hotel business to succeed Gian Pepi Saratz, the hotel was leased to the Atlas Group in Zurich.

Over 20 years later, the passion for this beautiful building and a sense of tradition and hospitality finally led the 5th generation of the Saratz family to take the courageous decision to make an initial investment of around 22 million Swiss francs and restore the Hotel Saratz to new/former glory. The lease contract with the Atlas Group was terminated and today the 4-star superior hotel is again managed in accordance with the spirit of the Saratz family.

Creation of the new old Hotel Saratz

In the 1990s, the 5th generation of the Saratz family took the fate of their hotel back into their own hands in order to recover its former class and grandeur. Since then, around 50 million Swiss francs have been invested in an extensive overall reconstruction. The complete renovation of the existing building and an impressive new extension were planned and realized with architects Hans-Jürg Ruch and Pia Schmid from Zurich.

In the years 1997 to 2005, minor renovations and improvements were carried out here and there. During 2006 and 2007, additional funds of over 20 million were used to realize the following new buildings and extensive renovations:
In November 2006, after 6 months of construction, the Sarazenenbad Hamam was opened. In addition, an underground car park with 40 parking spaces has been available to our guests since the same date. Six months later, in the summer of 2007, the Chesa Nouva was put into operation after a complete refurbishment and renovation of the 30 suites, family and double rooms that took only three months. The renovated play paradise was also handed over to our little guests based on an idea by the DRS3 presenter, Sandra Schiess.
In autumn 2007 of the same year, our employees were allowed to move into the 12 completely refurbished and renovated rooms in the Chesa Veglia, in 12 studios and 6 2-1 / 2 room apartments in the newly built Chesa Niculò.

In autumn and winter 2007/08, the new Punt’ota building with 16 condominiums was completed and ready for occupancy. (these have been sold)
In November 2007 the Hotel Saratz became profound. In order to take even more care of our nature, a deep drilling down to 1500 m has been tackled. With the geothermal energy obtained in this way, we will cover around two thirds of our heating requirements in the future and reduce CO2 emissions.
The aim of the renovations in the Chesa Nouva was to bring out the charm of the turn of the century, to bring out Art Nouveau elements and parquet floors that had been hidden under carpeting or even bricked up for years.
The well-known architect, Pia Schmid from Zurich, has skilfully built this bridge between the renovated Chesa Nouva and the new Ela Tuff building, between old and new, tradition and modernity, and created an incomparable color concept in both parts of the house with a particularly sure hand. She also succeeded in the interior with its special colors and materials in the Sarazenenbad.

With the family units consisting of a double room and a lounge with a connecting door, we particularly offer families with children - one of our main target groups - affordable accommodation options. Our most important sales arguments also include the 35,000 m2 park with heated outdoor pool, Café Bagnera, sand tennis court, bocce court, golf practice, various children's playgrounds, sunbathing lawn and much more.
More than 85% of our rooms have a very nice view of the hotel park, the Roseg valley and the Julier chain; all rooms are very spacious (30m2) and have been individually furnished with art objects by Swiss artists.

The Hotel Saratz has become a roof for generations and with its renewed and expanded infrastructure offers space for families and children, but also single travelers and couples, young and old (or the young at heart) - simply everyone who loves life, nature and everything that is beautiful about it Want to enjoy the world.
So we now have the unique opportunity to run the new old Hotel Saratz, this old lady with her venerable history, with new splendor and to write another piece of hotel history ...

We are proud to be able to carry on the legacy of a family dynasty that has managed to carry the past into the future, and it is our goal to maintain the spirit and charm of this house.