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Stories from Gletsch

The Hotel Belvédère

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- Story 6

The location of the Grandhotel Glacier du Rhône was primarily due to its function as a relay and transit station at the junction of the Furka and Grimsel passes. It was therefore strategically located at a time when travelers had to recover after an arduous hour-long pass journey before continuing on their way. There were stables for the horses, which could be changed here if necessary. At the same time, there was the opportunity to take a trip to the glacier tongue and enjoy a good view of the surrounding mountains.


An even more spectacular view was offered an hour further up in a hairpin bend in the Furka Pass road at 2300m above sea level. And this is exactly where Alexander Seiler the Elder built another smaller hotel, the Belvédère, in 1882. In addition to the view, a glacier grotto carved into the ice is still a major attraction today. The brochure read: “Telephone, telegraph. The Hotel Belvédère with its 90 beds is also equipped with the most modern facilities, with baths and showers, electric light and electric heating. ... The wild ice peaks of the Rhone glacier glisten like a fairy tale before our eyes. The ice giants of the Bernese Oberland proudly greet us over the Grimsel pass. The rear Gelmerhörner and the satellites of the Rhone massif tower mightily over the flat firn, while the peaks and ridges of the Valais Alps greet you majestically on the green pasture slopes of the foothills. ... Belvédère is an incomparably well-situated center for great glacier hikes and high mountain tours.” In recent years, the Rhone glacier has receded so much that it can no longer be seen from the hotel. Instead, the Belvédère itself has become a popular photo subject. It adorns a number of postcards and even more social media posts, and even James Bond raced over the Furka past the hotel in his Aston Martin in 1964.



The hotel building in the Belle Époque style has been closed since 2015.


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