Prague, Czech Republic
A hot-pink confection of Bohemian Neo-Renaissance style, the Hotel Opera stands in the less touristy Nové Město, or “New Town,” quarter of storied Prague.
During his years managing hotels along the sun-soaked Italian coastline, Josef Giger dreamed of opening a hotel he could call his own, somewhere blessed with the most beautiful scenery, far away from the chaos of big cities. And as soon as he stumbled upon the shores of Switzerland’s Lake Sils, he knew he had found the place.
Alongside his wife, Amalie, the couple’s vision was realized in 1908 when the grand Hotel Waldhaus was unveiled to the world, instantly becoming one of the most beautiful venues in all of Switzerland. The new hotel dazzled guests from the very moment they stepped through the doors into the ornate lobby and marveled at the massive grand staircase that ascended all the way to the top floor.
But the couple at the helm didn’t stop there. They knew they’d be able to draw their guests in through the beauty of the architecture, but only the warmest of welcomes would keep people coming back. The Waldhaus is now famed for its hospitality, distinctive in its earnestness and warmth, a tradition that Josef and Amalie passed on to the next generation, then the next, then the next… five generations running, the Waldhaus is still in the family.
These days, the hotel maintains the grandeur of its founding, as each generation has committed itself to respecting the hotel’s history — while having the courage to change. The Giger’s consistently invest in keeping the hotel up-to-date, but they’ve resisted major changes to the architecture. The original 140 rooms remain as unique as they were on day one — no two are the same.
So whether your balcony faces the dawn light over Lake Silvaplana, the vastness of Fex Valley, or the charm of the village, take a moment to ponder the lives of so many visitors before you, seeing the same sights over the last century, basking in the hospitable splendor of the Waldhaus — just as Josef and Amalie intended.
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