This winter Hotel St Moritz will be celebrating its 20th birthday! Our General Manager Jo Finnigan, shares the hotel’s transformation over the years, and invites you to a trip down memory lane.
More than two decades ago, the architecture of our boutique hotel was conceived by owner developer Graham Wilkinson who recognised the uncanny likeness between the glamorous alpine village of St Moritz and Queenstown. Both close to the 45th parallel, and true four season alpine resorts, Graham’s vision was to draw on the ‘mountain hotel’ architectural style of the region for his project.
In 1998, as construction was underway, a relationship was forged with Accor that to this day continues to manage the hotel for the 100+ owners that partnered in Graham’s concept –many of whom remain involved to this day. From the start it was clear that a ‘homogenous’ fit-out wouldn’t do the job for our high character hotel with its unique residential styled inventory. Enter Stewart Harris Interior Designer, who has remained a singular aesthetic influence over its several renovations and enhancements.
Archived marketing material from before the hotel opened refers to the designers having created a ‘contemporary lodge style’ with a refreshing mix of old and new giving warmth and comfort with rich fabrics of golds and burgundies ” –this enduring autumnal vision has undoubtedly stood the test of time, and with some modernisation and polish is still distinctive and familiar as truly “St Moritz”.
On July 10 1998 doors were opened under the name “St Moritz Novotel Suites” to coincide with Queenstown’s Winter Festival, with some frantic adjustments as guests arrived, including installing the last of the door handles, and even creating a door that for had inexplicably been missed!
“Since that day, we’ve welcomed more than half a million guests from around the world, employed more than 1,300 staff (also from across the globe) and served up somewhere in the order of 21,500 of woodfired lasagnes, the celebrated heirloom dish that’s been unchanged on our menu from day one.
“Throughout these twenty years, our ambition has remained the same—to deliver an engaging guest experience that feels just like coming home”
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