Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina has re-opened for the summer season with a contemporary new look to its bel étage, which includes the reception, lobby lounge, bar and reading room.
Subtle but luxurious changes have been made by the award-winning French interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR Design) in order to bring the neo-Baroque Grande Dame (built in 1848) into the 21st century while maintaining key historic elements.
In a nod to its location, various shades of blue (from the palest hues to a bold Klein Blue) have been used throughout in order to harmonise the rooms while reflecting the colour of the Engadine sky at different times of the day, as witnessed through the building’s picture windows.
Entering into the hotel, the reception area has been rejuvenated with a blue rug on a pale grey floor of locally quarried stone and marble cabochons that is in keeping with the historic architecture. Light blue leather and macassar ebony counters stand in front of a dark blue silk backdrop, while sliding doors etched in white and rose gold create a semi-transparent snowflake effect that reflects the winter season and immediately presents arriving guests with views of the grand lobby lounge and the mountain views beyond.
The lobby lounge, with its high ceilings and stunning valley vistas, is the majestic heart of the hotel. Signature components (such as the parquet floor, the grand piano – played daily during afternoon tea and in the evening, the central chandelier that mimics the hotel’s crown logo and the antique table beneath it) remain, while the very beautiful frescoes on the ceiling of the lobby that were painted at the beginning of the 20th century by artist Otto Haberer have been refreshed. All serve to remind guests of the grandeur of days gone by. Change comes in the shape of new seating in opulent materials such as velvet, silk and leather (once again in varying shades of blue) that has been placed in a way that makes the room more homely and also allows for more private conversations.
To one side of the lounge, the Chimney Room has retained its original 1950s Eames lounge chairs, which are now complemented by Florence Knoll sofas and stools. Two book cases are stacked with old images and books, many of which relate to the history and culture of the Engadine region where the hotel is located. Re-imagined as a calm, soothing place, the room is conducive to reading and dreaming in front of a real log fire.
To the other side of the lounge, the Bar has kept its old wood panelling and coffered ceiling, but now has its own unique – and cosy – identity. The highlights of the room are the modern, handmade chandelier called Angela by Charles Paris (a modern tribute to the lobby lounge’s historic chandelier) and the side panels of the bar that have been custom made by the renowned French artist Jane Puylagarde, who has created illuminated relieve works of art inspired by the roots of Swiss stone pine. Rich red velvet lines the walls, while the bar top and chairs are adorned with dark blue leather; gold accents add a touch of glamour.
Rochon, who has previously worked on the Four Seasons George V in Paris, the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, The Savoy in London and sister property Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, is always mindful of the history of a building and its location, as well as the natural characteristics, when he designs.
Said Pierre-Yves Rochon of the renovation project, “With every new project, I look at the existing architecture, the environmental characteristics, the local people’s way of life and typical construction materials. I respect the village’s history and its traditions. And then I hope to create something that will amaze the hotel guests that choose and love this property and make them like it even more”.