Hotel Saratz in Pontresina is one of the few time-honoured Swiss first-class hotels that have remained in family ownership. With Nuot Saratz as chairman, the 5th generation is at the helm. Although this is somewhat typical in Pontresina, with many hotels here still being run by families. Together with the strong sense of village life, they contribute significantly to the intimate atmosphere that visitors have come to appreciate. For Nuot Saratz, this is no coincidence: "As early as in the ’60s we had already laid the foundation for today’s success with the introduction of the hotel zone. Since that time, our hoteliers have known that there is no plan, B. Hotels cannot easily be converted into profitable apartments. Therefore, the interest in the sustainable development of the village is probably more pronounced than elsewhere."
Host from the very beginning
5th generation of an Engadine Hotel Dynasty
Nuot Saratz (1947) is the chairman of the board of directors of the Hotel Saratz and the fifth generation of the Engadine Saratz dynasty. He owns a law firm and notary’s office in Pontresina.
"Our hotels are a prime example for the vacation hotel business."
The foundations for the success of the Hotel Saratz go back a little further. They can be traced right back to a little piece of Grisons history: the return of a confectioner who got rich abroad. This was Gian Saratz who, although he did not need to rent out rooms in his tasteful Pontresina home, was interested in the German landscape painter Wilhelm Georgy as a conversation partner, so he granted him hospitality for two summers. Saratz enjoyed his role as a host and in 1865 he expanded his hay barn into a guest house, which a decade later was turned into a hotel. After that, Saratz welcomed many famous guests. The composer Richard Strauss once wrote that here he felt almost as comfortable as at home.
Together with Saratz, other Pontresina hotels also experienced their heyday. Nuot Saratz attributes this to two factors: "First, we owe many of the achievements that are taken for granted today to the many guests from all over Europe who visited the Engadine from the mid-19th century. They brought their modern lifestyles. Second, the people of the Engadine were open to dealing with them." Indeed, many Pontresinians were returning emigrants who had come into contact with modern high society all over Europe. Accordingly, they communicated in a very cosmopolitan way with their guests and quickly understood what these guests were looking for. The fact that the glamorous neighbouring St. Moritz always outclassed Pontresina in terms of fame does not bother Saratz: "To our village, a certain down-to-earthness has always been important. In any case, the distance between St. Moritz and Pontresina is surprisingly big, despite the close geographical proximity. The big, wide world of our neighbouring village has always felt strange to us."