G R A N D H O T E L PA R K · 2 9 W I S P I L E N S T R A S S E · C H 3 7 8 0 · T H E A L P I N A G S TA A D · 2 3 A L P I N A S T R A S S E · C H 3 7 8 0 ·
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July 18, 2014 - Issue 4 – CHF 3.50 excl VAT
GSTAAD ON WHEELS What‘s Not To Bike?
KNIGHTS OF THE ROUNDTABLE The Real State Of Real Estate
CHALET FOR SALE! M. Theodoracopulos On What It‘s Worth
KARLFRIEDRICH SCHEUFELE A Man To Watch
Timeless & Easy Hotel/Restaurant in Saanenmöser (just below the Golfclub Gstaad-Saanenland) Open for Lunch & Dinner from mid June until mid September (closed for lunch Monday and Tuesday) ȫȶȽȶȷɀȿǵɈɈɈȣɀȵȸȶȴȹ
Now is a great time to invest in your sleep Every bed our skilled craftsmen produce is tailor made with colors and ﬁrmness according to your every wish. The result is more than just a bed; it’s an investment for life. hastens.com Hästens Store. Saanen-Gstaad, Dorfstrasse 45 3792 Saanen. Tel 033 744 15 91
Photo: Beat Baumann
Somewhere Over The Rainbow Rain. Rain. And more rain. Perhaps I am to blame, having jinxed us with my last Letter from the Editor, in which I sang the praises of this country’s typically mild, sunny summertime weather. The past few weeks have been more indoors than outdoors, unfortunately not the best for attracting summer tourists. Please forgive me.
For Sale: Home Sweet Home If there’s one topic of conversation bound to get the people of the Sannenland talking, it’s real estate: What’s selling? Who’s buying what from whom? For how much? In this issue, we look at real estate in Gstaad, in the wake of recent legislation that has changed the rules of the business – for better or worse, depending on whom you ask.
Damp weather aside, we‘ve got lots to sing about this summer – from diamonds and real-estate deals to bikes and burgers. Even if there are fewer tourists joining in the chorus.
A CHF 14,000,000 chalet on the railroad tracks? Columnist Mandolyna Theodoracopulos talks housing prices in her July column. While she debates overvaluation and ﬁnds talk of real estate prices “mind-numbingly dull,” even she admits that when it’s your investment at stake, you’re bound to listen.
So cheer up, Gstaad! No matter what the weather, every summer in the Saanenland has a rainbow somewhere just waiting to break through. Happy Diamonds Are Forever We’ve got a lengthy Proﬁle interview with one of the happiest guys we know, Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, who welcomed us to his Lauenen chalet for a chat about his life’s work and passions. From watchmaking to wine and everything in between, Scheufele’s lust for life is visible in everything he does. That proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? His Midas ﬁngers may very well have put it there. From the time he and his sister took over day-to-day management of one of the largest, most prestigious jewellery-making and watchmaking companies, Chopard has expanded its reach to offer their sparkling jewels worldwide. And why not? Chopard’s Happy Diamonds alone are enough to brighten my day.
ensure further trails are created, as well as spread the word about cycling in the region. If you’re more spectator than sportsaholic, be sure to attend the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad. Russian Mikhail Youzhny return to defend his title against some of the world’s best players. Though he will not be playing in the tournament, Gstaad will welcome Switzerland’s own Stan Wawrinka back as a supporter instead. The Best Burgers of Gstaad I love burgers as much as the next girl – maybe more, since I’m an American at heart (and passport). But even though I’m not in Kansas anymore, I can still enjoy a great burger, right here in the Saanenland.
And you can listen in on a roundtable discussion held earlier this year with several agencies. Louis Martin (CF Immobilier), Martin Göppert (Consulta Gstaad) and Cyrille de Kostine (Sine Tempore de Kostine & Partner) talk frankly about the real state of real estate in Gstaad. We have a candid view on pricing, availability and the Second Home Initiative, from those who are in the know.
We here at GSTAADLIFE are pleased to announce the winners of our Best Burger competition. More than a dozen burgers later, we’ve honoured the region’s most delectable ground beef sandwiches with prizes in several categories. Congrats to big winners Le Grand Bellevue and Saanewald Lodge, whose signature burgers deserve a page all their own.
Racquets, Russians and Road Bikes When those rare breaks from the rain do occur, there are plenty of ways to enjoy summer sports. The Saanenland has put a new emphasis on transport of the two-wheeled variety, hoping to become a biking paradise. In addition to the varied options already available, a new project entitled Gstaad Bikeworld will
Rain or Shine, It’s Summertime Who says you need the sun to make your summer? I won’t let the weather rain on my parade – there’s too much to do here to sulk. Speaking of which, excuse me. There’s a bacon cheeseburger with my name on it. Best regards, Alexis Munier Editor in Chief
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR // GSTAADLIFE
Benedikt Schnippenkoetter Tel: 076 725 3225
Photo: Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus
Magazine 3 4 18
Letter from the Editor by Alexis Munier Cartoon by Benedikt Schnippenkoetter Events Calendar
Local News 6 6
Ultima Gstaad Resort Spa & Residence
Sports & Leisure 7 11
Photo: Saanenwald Lodge
The Russian is Coming, Again – Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad
What’s Not to Bike? – Cycling in the Saanenland Hamburger Helper – Gstaad’s Best Burger
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard
Gstaad Living 12 14
Les Arts Gstaad Under Fire Real Estate Roundtable – Local Agents Square Off
Lifestyle 16 Wonder Woodmen – Fabrizio & Giovanna Frisardi
Photo: Fabrizio Frisardi
Last Word 17
Chalet for Sale! by Mandolyna Theodoracopulos
Cover Photo: © Raphaël Faux www.gstaadphotography.com
Twitter: @GSTAADLIFE // Facebook: Gstaad Life // Youtube: GstaadLife GstaadLIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 7, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, email@example.com, www.gstaadlife.com, www.gstaadlife.ch // Management Board: Frank Müller // Publisher: Frank Müller, firstname.lastname@example.org // Editor in Chief: Alexis Munier // Contributors: Mandolyna Theodoracopulos, Januaria Piromallo // Layout: Arlette Bütschi // Printing: Müller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad // Advertising: Peter Kuntze-Schneider, email@example.com, Phone: 033 744 46 64 // Subscriptions: Flurina Mutzner, ﬂurina.firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 033 748 88 74
KATEGORY // GSTAADLIFE
Photo: FreshFocus, Valeriano Di Domencio
The Russian Is Coming, Again Youzhny the Big Draw as Wawrinka Bows Out In a last-minute reshufﬂing, tennis fans will welcome back year’s surprise winner of the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad, Mikhail Youzhny, as the favourite for this year’s tournament. BY GSTAADLIFE
From Russia with Love Ranked only 33rd worldwide at the time, the energetic Russian played an excellent game against competitor Robin Haase, and walked away the trophy. He was the
ﬁrst Russian to win top honours since Evgeny Kafelnikov conquered Gstaad in 1995. Too Tired to Play Hometown boy Stan Wawrinka, who hails from nearby Canton Vaud, has dropped out, citing fatigue. Wawrinka, currently ranked number three worldwide, is taking several weeks of rest in order to recuperate. In a press release, Wawrinka expressed his disappointment at his need to pull out.
“I always really look forward to playing this tournament and I love to evolve (as a player) before the Swiss public,” says Wawrinka. “I’d like to apologize to my fans and also to the organisers. I’ll nevertheless come to Gstaad to thank them for their support.” Wawrinka’s no-show means more support for Youzhny, whose admirers are hoping for another upset, Russian-style. The Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad runs July 19 – 27.
Six Of One, Half Dozen Of The Other Ultima Gstaad Resort Spa & Residence have just 18 hotel suites for rent, in addition to seven 200m2 apartments.
With a half dozen ﬁve-star hotels already in operation, some Saanenland residents wonder if such a project is superﬂuous. Ultima Gstaad investors insist there is a yet-untapped need in Gstaad. Part clubhouse and part lodge, project leaders plan to create a luxurious space that is well-integrated into the local community.
Investors Byron Baciocchi, Jean-Michel Barbey and Max-Hervé George all stress that with the Ultima Gstaad they wish to create an innovative project which breathes new life to the typical ﬁve-star hotel setup.
“Our restaurant will of course be open to the public,” says project director Tessa
After a short pause, construction work on the project has recently begun again.
The Ultima Gstaad Resort Spa & Residence will differ from current ﬁve-star properties both in size and feel, claims project leader Maja Zelicic. In the style of ‘new luxury’, the hotel will feature bright marble, precious woods, and a modern, spacious design. The resort in already under construction on the grounds of the former Sporthotel Rütti. Small yet stylish, the property will
Chaffey. “We plan to open between seasons, which will allow the Ultima Gstaad’s residents and guests to integrate more fully into local village life.”
The Saanenland’s sixth ﬁve-star hotel is set to open December 2014.
LOCAL NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 18, 2014
Photo: Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus
What’s Not To Bike? The Saanenland‘s New Emphasis on Biking The plans to turn Gstaad into a biking mecca as announced last October by Gstaad Saanenland Tourism are coming along – albeit slowly.
trails, taking the mountain’s diverse topography into consideration. Beginning mid-July, they will meet with local landowners to discuss the ﬁnal routing of the trails.
Where There’s a Wheel, There’s a Way While initial improvements were expected to be ﬁnished this summer, the project has faced some unusual difﬁculties.
The new project, known as Gstaad Bikeworld, will consolidate and optimise the region’s bike trails. Gstaad Bikeworld will focus on bike sports in general, and work to develop both Downhill and Freestyle slopes designed to show off the natural beauty of the region. Work in Progress Since last October, Allegra Tourism has intensively scrutinised and analysed the situation, formulating a plan for the best way forward. This began with choosing the speciﬁc mountain area to develop. Horneggli was selected as the ﬁrst mountain to receive improvements for biking. It was chosen for its altitude difference of 540 meters, as well as potential connections (including railway and cable car) to surrounding villages like Saanenmöser, Turbach, Zweisimmen and Gstaad. Horneggli already offers options for family, racing and road cycling, making it an ideal spot for beginners and experts alike. Experienced bike trail planners have already prepared mock-ups of the potential
Coordinating the development of trails takes a signiﬁcant amount of effort, especially in Canton Bern. The Canton has no ofﬁcial workﬂow for such a project, leaving the responsibilities and procedures up in the air. As a result, no fewer than 34 individuals are involved, from various cantonal and municipal organisations and also landowners, who must reach a consensus on various aspects of the plans as the process moves forward. This includes Canton Bern’s Department of Civil Engineering, Ofﬁce of Spatial Planning, Department of Forestry, Hunting Inspection and Department of Agriculture, amongst others. “The Canton of Bern still needs to catch up in the area of mountain biking, and so working with these clariﬁcations is lengthy,” says Martin Bachofner, CEO of Gstaad Bike World, with some regret.
Why Gstaad? There are many reasons to choose the Saanenland for cycling. With a varied topography ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 metres, the Saanenland is the perfect place for any bike sports. Part of Gstaad Bikeworld’s mandate is to promote the region as a biking destination. Steps are now being taken to certify bikehotels in the Saanenland. Additionally, existing trails will be adapted to suit bikers more easily. For example, fences cutting across trails will be replace with bike-friendly versions to allow cyclists to pass easily. The ﬁrst completed bike trails on the Horneggli are expected to open Summer or Fall 2015.
Have Bike, Will Travel Avid mountain bikers will be happy to know that bike transport is free on most lifts in the area. That said, cyclists should note that: 1) the cable car to Sanetsch charges CHF 5, and 2) bikes are not allowed on the Glacier 3000 lifts, as most of the mountain is protected as a nature zone.
SPORTS & LEISURE // GSTAADLIFE
Photo: Raphaël Faux
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, left, with Menuhin Festival Gstaad Public Relations Director Hans-Ueli Tschanz.
A Man To Watch Interview with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele With sparkling eyes and a spring in his step, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is one of the Saanenland’s most well-known residents. Whether strapping skins on his skis for an off-piste adventure or chatting with customers at his wine shop “Le Caveau de Bacchus” on Gstaad’s Promenade, Scheufele’s love for the region is evident. But with only 24 hours in a day, how does the Co-President of Chopard ﬁnd time to run one of the
world’s leading watch and jewellery manufacturers while pursuing his passions of winemaking, rally racing, and mountain sports? GSTAADLIFE’s Editor in Chief Alexis Munier sat down with Scheufele in his Lauenen Chalet to ﬁnd out. BY: ALEXIS MUNIER
GSTAADLIFE: You’re originally German, but have lived in French-speaking
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 18, 2014
Switzerland since your teenage years. Where do you feel most at home? Karl-Friedrich Scheufele: When my family took over Chopard ﬁfty years ago, in the beginning my parents and my sister remained in Pforzheim while I went to boarding school in Geneva. At the International School of Geneva, I was at ﬁrst a bit lost. There I was, a small-town Black Forest boy of 15, now submersed in a totally
different environment. My best friend was Ethiopian; my schoolmates hailed from countries far and wide. Speaking German, French and English on a daily basis, I felt, for the ﬁrst time, part of a completely international group. Since that time I’ve called Geneva my home. I received Swiss citizenship when I was 25 years old, and while I can say that today I feel very Swiss, there is still a bit of German in me that shines through.
GL: How long have you been coming to Gstaad? KFS: In 1987 my parents discovered the little village of Lauenen, where I remember spending holidays and long weekends as a young man. It was a chance to spend quality time together as a family – exploring the mountains and relaxing in the peaceful atmosphere. Now, from our chalet further up the mountain, we relish an incredible 180° panoramic view reaching from the Wildhorn to the Wispile. It is one of my favourite places on earth to enjoy a glass of wine after a long day outdoors.
GL: What do you love about the Saanenland? How do you feel here? KFS: I feel at home here. In winter, my sport of choice is ski touring, which lets me discover the area from a unique perspective. There are so many gratifying moments and I really feel like being part of the incomparable nature. The region offers incredible landscapes, sights and excursions, in addition to cultural and social activities.
GL: Did you study watchmaking in order to follow in your father’s footsteps? KFS: I did an apprenticeship in jewellery-making and my passion for watchmaking really came afterwards. Chopard is one of the few houses well-established in both ﬁelds. We practice no less than 30 crafts in-house and due to our fully vertical integration, are able to produce about 80.000 watches and 60.000 pieces of jewellery a year. Our jewellery ranges from ‘everyday’ to high jewellery, including some
What’s special is the family aspect of our company – the fact that we personally represent the brand, stand behind it and are still involved on a daily basis. KARL-FRIEDRICH SCHEUFELE
very important pieces. Today this side of Chopard is my sister Caroline’s passion and falls under her responsibility.
GL: Speaking of responsibility, Chopard is family-owned and operated, with your father serving as Chairman and you and your sister Caroline serving as Co-President. Is there any sibling rivalry? KFS: My sister and I joined the management team in the early 80’s. We are a family ﬁrm in the true sense of the word. Now, Caroline and I share responsibilities for the entire group, while our father, our Chairman, remains also active in the daily business. Because we each have individual sectors to manage as well, rivalry is absolutely not an issue. We respect and value each other’s opinions and all important strategic decisions are taken together.
GL: What inspired your love for vintage cars? KFS: My passion for cars was transmitted to me by my father, who is also a car enthusiast. He passed this interest onto me and today we share a collection of classic automobiles. He’s more into the comfortable models while I have a ﬂair for sportier cars. Either you drive your old-timers or you take them to a Concours d’Elegance … I don’t have the patience for these types of events. I like to actually use the cars in rallies and other occasions.
GL: How did Chopard become involved in the Mille Miglia rally? KFS: In 1987, I went to Italy to discover the Mille Miglia. I was impressed and realized that this would be a great opportunity to naturally combine classic racing with
watches. After meeting the organiser, in 1988 Chopard became the ofﬁcial sponsor of the race for the ﬁst time. Ever since my ﬁrst participation in the Mille Miglia 25 years ago, I have been captivated by the unique atmosphere of the event. This year, I’ll be driving a Porsche from the Porsche Museum, which they’ve entrusted to me – up to now I’ve always brought the cars back in one piece. It’s the 550 Spyder, the “James Dean” model. Every year Chopard launches a new collector’s series in our Mille Miglia line, which is highly anticipated not only by the participants of the rally but also by classic car aﬁcionados. Who knows, there could be a Menuhin line in the future – I wouldn’t exclude that possibility.
GL: What is your favourite car in the collection? KFS: I love all of them; it’s like asking which child is your favourite. I adore the Mini Cooper 1968, half the size of the ones they make today. I also love my pre-war Bentley from 1929 which is a real challenge to drive!
GL: In addition to cars, you also enjoy wine? Was this also a love passed on from your father? KFS: The wine passion slipped in through the back door. Already at age 20 my grandfather would take me down to his cellar and let me choose the wine we’d drink together. I always loved this ceremony; it was a very special moment for me. I started to discover Swiss wines then branched out to France and further beyond. A friend and I then opened a wine shop, which has now grown into Le Caveau de Bacchus in Gstaad and Geneva. We have a small wholesale company as well. Most recently I acquired a winery near Bergerac, France, Château Monestier La Tour and the great thing about it is that it’s also a place to holiday in the summer. The estate with its vast park and a large variety of trees offers remarkable scenery, with nothing but nature and the surrounding countryside. Our red wine is a blend of three different grape varieties – Merlot, Cabernet franc and Malbec. The white wines consist of mainly Sauvignon,
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE
some Sémillon and Muscadelle. It’s like an apprenticeship for me – I learn so much about wine production and agriculture each time I’m there.
GL: Tell us how Chopard’s famous LUC movement started. KFS: We thought it would be a good idea to re-launch a movement production of our own. We had an assembly of watch movements until the 80’s, but then closed it down. In order to be more authentic and add credibility to the Chopard name, we re-launched a complete in-house production of movements, which became the Chopard Manufacture. It was a tremendous effort, and it all had to be created from scratch. Today it is a highly regarded manufacturing site employing 200 people in Fleurier, the canton of Neuchatel. This project added a great deal of independence to our Group.
GL: Chopard has recently become one of the Menuhin Festival’s biggest sponsors. How did that come about? KFS: It’s Chopard’s ﬁrst year back as a sponsor after a break since 2003. This partnership underlines the strong ties between the Scheufele Family and the Saanenland, a region we all cherish. It unites the passion for beautiful music and nature, which makes this festival so unique.
GL: Are you a big fan of classical music? Do you play any instruments? KFS: Yes, for example I am a big fan of Bach, but also love Mozart and Beethoven, and in particular violin music. Unfortunately I have zero musical talent. My grandfather played the violin, though. It’s interesting, his father sent him on a ship to New York when he was a young man. He said, “Go to the States and learn English, and don’t come back before a year is up.” So before studying to be a watchmaker, my grandfather travelled and wrote articles for the local newspaper in Pforzheim. In order to buy a car, he played the violin for tips in restaurants. While I don’t play an instrument, I do draw and paint – it’s another passion of mine. My biggest problem is that I have too many interests, or at least that’s what my wife tells me!
GL: With more than 140 boutiques and over 1500 points of sale around the globe, you must do a lot of travelling. KFS: I do travel a lot for business, yes. While I like to discover new places and rediscover old favourites, I can honestly say, today travelling is not so much fun anymore. However, there is no substitution for it, when it comes to ﬁrst hand experiences, market research and discoveries. You always learn a lot when personally visiting other places!
GL: Today one doesn’t need a watch to tell time – there are clocks in cars, on cell phones and computers. Why wear one? KFS: The time telling aspect of a watch is probably secondary today. Mechanical watches were invented more than 500 years ago. They went through several stages, from clocks to pocket watches to wristwatches, and technology as well as precision has constantly improved since then. Classic, especially mechanical, timepieces survived over generations, being handed down from father to son and always cherished by their owners. Electronic gadgets will never become collector items! Additionally, a watch is also a piece of jewellery. It makes a statement about the one who wears it, his style, character and social status. Some complicated watches are also considered works of art.
Chopard – A Family Affair Chopard was founded in 1860 in heart of the Jura mountains in Sonvilier, Switzerland. Renowned for its precision and reliability, the company gained a reputation for excellent timepieces and ﬁne workmanship. But in 1963, after several generations of family management, the company found itself without an heir apparent. It was then that Karl Scheufele, a descendant of a dynasty of watchmakers and jewellers from Pforzheim, Germany bought Chopard. Renowned for its creativity, its stateof-the-art technology and the excellence of its craftsmen, it became one of the leading names in the high-end watch and jewellery industry. Entirely independent, Chopard is pursuing a time-honoured family tradition. Karl Scheufele and his wife Karin have orchestrated the company’s international expansion for more than 50 years and are still active in the ﬁrm. Their two children are its current co-presidents: Caroline Scheufele is responsible for the ladies’ collections and high jewellery, while her brother Karl-Friedrich Scheufele manages the gents’ collections and the Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier, the production site of the inhouse L.U.C movements. Today, the group employs 2000 people worldwide and its products are distributed through 140 Chopard Boutiques, including one in Gstaad.
GL: What makes a Chopard different? KFS: What’s special is the family aspect of our company – the fact that we personally represent the brand, stand behind it and are still involved on a daily basis. In our production, we feature a big vertical integration and attach a lot of value to the heritage of craftsmanship. Last but not least, our creations are the expression of our passion for excellence.
GL: What about the next generation of Scheufeles to run Chopard? KFS: We have three children, but it is too early to tell if they are capable of managing the company. They are all very interested, but time will tell …
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 18, 2014
Chopard, a main sponsor of the Menuhin Festival Gstaad
Hamburger Helper The Saanenland‘s Best Burgers Put to the Test GSTAADLIFE sampled the region’s burgers and found not a single one disappointed. Burger aﬁcionados take heart, there are more than a dozen local options for satisfying your meat tooth. BY: GSTAADLIFE
From CHF 10 take-aways to CHF 38 gourmet steakburgers, the Saanenland offers a variety of choices for this classic American sandwich. While all establishments deserve kudos for their warm welcome and delicious food, here are the burgers that stole our hearts, and stomachs.
Saanewald Lodge, Saanenmöser Served on the mountainside terrace or in the stylish retro dining room, the Lodge serves the best simple, American-style burger, hands down. Owner Paul Peyer has dedicated the past year to the ideal combination of bun, patty and special sauce.
THE T AU
NTIC The Alpina, Gstaad
2 SA BEST
A thick, hand-cut patty of Simmental beef makes this a real ‘steakburger’, and a rare treat. Matchstick fries are sprinked with parmesan and trufﬂe oil – making them the best in town. Reﬁned palates are sure to appreciate the taste, and the price tag.
Hotel Alpine Lodge, Saanen More ingredients than we can count go into the gently spiced BBQ sauce on this burger (including honey, coffee and Coca-Cola). Five different burgers are offered here, including a veggie option.
Wally‘s, Gstaad It may not be the best burger in town, but the cost-value ratio is incredible (it’s certainly the cheapest). Take-away only, Wally’s is a legend amongst local teenagers, who can feast on their fries 7/7 and into the wee hours of the night.
INN W G I B
Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad This burger does everything right, from the most, ﬂavourful patty, crispy bacon, well-toasted bun, and LTO on the side, to the perfectly cooked French fries. The tasty all-beef patty comes fresh from farmer Ueli Bach and is served ‘pure’ – not even salt or pepper is needed to improve its ﬂavour. Enjoy it with a glass of microbrewed beer or a signature cocktail while seated on the hotel’s new terrace, or inside on the world’s longest Chesterﬁeld sofa.
SPORTS & LEISURE // GSTAADLIFE
Les Arts Gstaad Under Fire Seventeen Official Complaints Denounce the High-Profile Project Concerned locals ﬁled seventeen ofﬁcial complaints against the building ordinance no. 79 “Les Arts-Ried” this spring. Last February and March, residents were able to examine the detailed ordinance on display at City Hall and make their objections. BY: ALEXIS MUNIER
The grievances underscore the public outcry that has plagued the project since its announcement. The protests fall into these three main categories: Economic viability, aesthetics and location. The High Cost of Concrete Some ﬁnd the project’s scale alone a problem, given its obligatory massive outlay of both materials and money. “It’s huge – and could be a disaster, both in terms of concrete and ﬁnancing,” worries Anita Heutschi, an outspoken critic of the development. “Its placement and concentration limits its economic viability.” The project’s initiators disagree, citing the project’s potential to attract guests during Gstaad’s traditional off-seasons of spring and autumn. They expect up to several hundred visitors per day, whom they plan to lure to Les Arts Gstaad with concerts, lectures and art exhibitions, amongst other activities. Heutschi argues that a concert hall seating over one thousand guests is unneces-
sary, especially considering the large-venue classical music festivals in nearby Montreux, Solothurn and Lucerne. “It begs the question: In addition to the chamber concerts in Gstaad’s beautiful churches, do we really need such a big concert space for large orchestras?” asks Heutschi. “No!” Location, Location, Location Fears about Gstaad’s ability to host such a large complex are compounded by concerns about the exact location itself. François Jeanneret, a local resident and long-time Gstaad guest, believes the proper infrastructure isn’t in place to accommodate Les Arts Gstaad – and even if it were, the arts centre as now proposed should not be installed. “Gstaad is, after all, a mountain village,” says Jeanneret. “Guests come here for peace and comfort, and to withdraw from the hustle and bustle of the city. Les Arts Gstaad is the wrong project at the wrong time.” “Wrong project, wrong time” is a refrain that sums up much of the opposition. The costly infrastructural work currently planned as part of the preparation for the centre’s opening – including redeﬁning access to the centre via the tunnel and Schützen roundabout, the bus station, car park and improvements to the Montreux–
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 18, 2014
Oberland Bernois (MOB) railway track route, and the extension of the platforms and a second passageway – is money better spent elsewhere. The municipality will need to provide CHF 25 million for these improvements. Some detractors feel the funds could be earmarked differently. “The tennis hall and the tent, both of which no longer meet today’s requirements, could be eliminated,” says Heutschi. “In the open space the community could construct a modern, multi-functional complex with fewer than Les Arts Gstaad’s proposed 1200 seats, which could be used for exhibitions, concerts, banquets and the Gstaadermesse.” Size Does Matter One of the biggest complaints about Les Arts Gstaad is its design – admittedly not in keeping with the Gstaad alpine aesthetic – which many residents feel will destroy the town’s quaint village charm. They say they would happily welcome a cultural centre – just not this one. “But not one [cultural centre] with the village literally in its shadows.” says Jeanneret. “It needs to ﬁt into a proper area of the landscape.” To these protestors, size – and style – does matter.
“The question is whether the gigantic project is the right way to go,” says Angela Aegerter, one of the many residents who would prefer a smaller, prettier centre as an alternative.
The complaints ﬁled are part of a campaign to educate the public about the scale and scope of the project – and its potential pitfalls. “We are willing to ﬁght the good ﬁght,”
Or, as one Italian guest commented to Heutschi:“The Promenade should not be confused with the Dubai airport’s duty-free zone.” Who’s Paying for It, Really? Estimated construction costs for Les Arts Gstaad, as well as the tunnel, are estimated at CHF 100 million. Currently, sufﬁcient resources for further development of the project are available to take it through the approval stage. But what upsets some is the secretive nature of the private funding for the centre, including the anonymity of several large donors. Residents are worried that ultimately, the municipality will might end up being responsible for the entire bill. Say, if a donor pulls out, for example. “In the end, it’s the voters who bear the risk,” insists Heutschi. “We demand transparency – even regarding the ﬁnancing.”
says Heutschi, “and are counting on the residents of Saanen to support us.” A community meeting to discuss the ofﬁcial complaints is scheduled for early December 2014.
The Best Laid Plans – aka Other Options Locals living in Riedermatte have several ideas for ways the space could be used if Les Arts Gstaad does not gain the permissions necessary to begin construction, mostly for maintaining the residential nature of the location. Many feel the area would be especially suited for small apartments, to house the hospitality industry’s staff. A recreation area could be built as well, with trees and a playground. “Lots of strollers use the ﬂat trail around the hill to the little village of Ried,” says Heutschi. “This is worth not only protecting, but upgrading.” The plans for relocating the bus station underground appear unpopular as well. Today, the station sits open-air on the square, where public transport users are often seen chatting and watching passers-by while awaiting the buses. The proposed station would not have direct access from the train platforms and is not customer-friendly, according to Vreni Haldi, who lives in a fourth-generation family chalet nearby. Residents of the Ried hill area including the four small chalets on the railway line and apartment owners were also concerned that they would be forced to leave their homes during the drilling and slope stabilisation of Ried hill.
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AMA Interiors GmbH | Viktoriastrasse 1 | CH-3780 Gstaad +41 (0)788 66 33 04 | www.amainteriors.ch
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE
The Real State Of Real Estate Three Local Agents Give Their Two Cents Last winter, the Anzeiger von Saanen held a roundtable discussion with several real estate agencies in the Saanenland. Moderated by Blanca Burri, the discussion included Martin Göppert (Consulta Gstaad GmbH), Cyrille de Kostine (Sine Tempore de Kostine and Partner) and Louis Martin (CF Immobilier Compagnie Foncière SA).
Martin Göppert: I also conﬁrm that hundreds of chalets and apartments are available. In Gstaad and neighbouring villages the market is neither dead nor booming. Whether a property can be sold depends entirely on the buyers’ determination to make a deal and the vendors’ motivation to sell.
AvS, GSTAADLIFE: Word has it that there are many available properties for sale in the Saanenland/Pays d’en Haut.
Louis Martin: Yes, that is so. Throughout the region – from Châteaux d’Oex to Gstaad – there are many objects for sale.
GL: What was the situation like in the past? Cyrille de Kostine: Between 2006 – 2008 it was a seller’s market. They determined the price and terms of the sale. But the economic crisis in 2008 changed the playing ﬁeld – many owners were forced to sell.
entele is in no hurry to complete the sale so the prices stay at a similar level as before. Martin: Only older objects in poor condition have seen a dip in asking price. de Kostine: One regional symptom regarding this good old economic rule is that most of the vendors can afford to wait and/or not adapt their asking prices to the perceived market reality. Therefore an “automatic adaptation” of asking prices to the fact that we rather have a purchaser’s market at present is simply not happening.
GL: If the market is ﬂooded with properties, why haven’t prices come down?
Coupled with the excess supply of objects for sale (partially to do with the Second Home Initiative as well), it became a buyer’s market, and buyers to this day have more inﬂuence over the sale.
Martin: Supply and demand is what determines the price, and as long as a certain demand remains, prices will remain stable. Local architecture is complex and of high quality, which increases the construction cost.
GL: Has the oversupply of residential units had an impact on selling price?
de Kostine: I am convinced that prices will remain stable in the next few years or even fall a bit. Only with constant demand will prices stay at the level they’re at today, and with the recent opinion polls, it’s clear that nothing is for certain.
All, in agreement: No. One must note that the majority of houses or apartments on the market are new properties, and the cli-
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 18, 2014
GL: How could this transparency be increased? Göppert: With a good broker, there is transparency!
Photo: Blanca Burri
de Kostine: For reasons of conﬁdentiality, prices are not always speciﬁed; buyers and sellers don’t always want the general public to know for how much a property has been sold.
Martin: 2013 was quite successful. We saw many more Swiss nationals buying properties in the valley. Göppert: After a good year in 2012, 2013 was less successful but I’ve seen demand rise again in the past few months. Lately I’ve noticed guests tend to rent large and luxurious objects before deciding to buy. Often it’s only then that they notice how difﬁcult home ownership has become for foreigners in Switzerland. We need to advise clients correctly and only show them properties which are available for foreign ownership.
GL: Depending on the region, properties are presented in detail on the Internet and published with the price. Why shouldn’t’ we do this in Gstaad? Göppert: I regret that the prices are not transparent. In peak years before 2008 prices were sporadically high, but these spikes were not as high as one might believe according to rumour.
GL: How many and what type of properties did you sell last year? de Kostine: Our company did well last year, however we sold mostly smaller objects. Objects up to ﬁve million CHF are in high demand, while those from 5 to 15 million are more difﬁcult to sell because they are overpriced.
Martin: Right now there is only an ordonnance. We need an application of the law as soon as possible in order to fully understand its implications.
GL: Yet the Saanenland remains popular … why? What could we improve here? de Kostine: To remain attractive, we have to constantly reinvent ourselves, and have been doing so for half a century.
GL: Has the Saanenland lost its appeal for high-net-worth individuals? Martin: It has lost some of its appeal not only for foreigners but for the Swiss! The Second Home Initiative restricts ownership for non-Swiss and Swiss alike, who want to buy a vacation home in a tourist area. de Kostine: It’s not only the Second Home Initiative which has caused a decrease in interest; the loss of legal security in the country factors in. Changing (notably banking) legislation provokes uncertainty in buyers and pushes them to consider other locations worldwide.
Cyrille de Kostine
Saanenland. However we need to attract new guests to the region. Gstaad Saanenland Tourism has the right idea with the creation of new events and local initiatives.
This is a new perception, that the country is not safe or attractive enough to potential buyers – this has not previously been an issue. Other issues include lump-sum and inheritance taxation. Göppert: We have bigger ﬁsh to fry in the Saanenland … the hospital closure and the possible bankruptcy of the Bergbahnen, for example.
GL: What specific effects will the Second Home Initiative have on the region?
GL: Many people believe that real estate agents here live as kings? Is this true? de Kostine: This is just a false perception from the outside! The decline of the real estate agent is a new phenomenon – even 20 years ago we had approximately ﬁve brokers in the area. Now with the ﬂowering and deregulation of the industry this has been increased to 25 brokers. Göppert: What is true is that in recent years, owing to stricter legislation, consulting expenses have increased dramatically. It is important that we answer to the requirements of the guests and show only properties which can legally be purchased. Several brokers have even abandoned the industry. Also, large companies active in Gstaad withdrew into their home territories. We even see that existing real estate agencies have been bought out by other agents. Photo: Blanca Burri
Göppert: For all special properties, such as luxury apartments or very large chalets, I believe prices will rise. Prices aren’t really transparent; so it’s difﬁcult to speak on this topic using only our own experience as a guideline. I suppose that the value of some objects – depending on the location and type of property – will continue to increase for the next decade.
de Kostine: I think 2016 will be the year we see massive impact on the construction industry. Construction volume will decrease and as such jobs and apprenticeships might be lost. Göppert: We need a positive outlook – even the Second Home Initiative can’t take away the great quality of life in the
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE
Photos: Fabrizio Frisardi
Wonder Woodmen Father & Daughter Fabrizio & Giovanna Frisardi Fabrizio Frisardi studied architecture in his hometown of Rome before making the Saanenland his home in the 1980’s. At his side is his artist daughter, Giovanna, with whom he creates chalets and interiors with a personalised, artistic touch. BY: JANUARIA PIROMALLO
Esteeemed by locals and guests alike, Fabrizio’s skills are demanded not only in the Gstaad region, but with important clients as far off as Engadine, Courcheval and Austria. Fabrizio’s work can be seen in the luxurious chalets of the region’s most famous residents, including Ernesto Bertarelli and Roman Polanski (who rumour has it is crazy for Frisardi’s spaghetti amatriciana). Frisardi adores working with wood and stone, creating chalets with towers, for example. This, however, is not allowed in the strict building codes of the Saanenland, which regrettably limit his creativity on the facades.
Giovanna’s signature style of photographs of traditional landscapes printed on wood is unique and instantly recognizable.
thian capitals, Romanesque columns, all in old boiserie, intricately carved in European Spruce and Swiss Pine.
“The wood is the “live” material from which paper is made,” Giovanna explains. The result is large panels with an ancient touch, inspired by efﬁgies of the 14th century.
Team Effort Today, father and daughter continue to work together, bringing new homes and interiors to the Saanenland. Some clients say it’s Giovanna’s stunning art that brings Fabrizio’s architectural designs to life; others say Fabrizio’s exceptional designs are the fertile soil that allows Giovanna’s art to blossom.
Speaking of the 14th century, Fabrizio has taken great interest in the valuable knowhow of craftsmen from Cortina d’Ampezzo. An Alpine gem in the Veneto region, Cortina has a similar feel to Gstaad, with its glamorous residents and guests. The alpine village boasts a special architecture and design history: For centuries, woodworkers here have been carving from wood items that are typically carved in marble. The result is surprising: Torchons, Corin-
Like Father, Like Daughter Fabrizio’s daughter Giovanna Frisardi is the ultimate ﬁlle à papa. She ﬁrst began working with her father as a photographer, beginning their joint creative endeavour. Soon afterward, Giovanna was drawn to even further artistic pursuits; her work with acids and silver salts (the ‘ancestor’ of existing pixels that make up digital imagers) helped her to evolve into the brilliant digital artist she is today.
LIFESTYLE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 18, 2014
Regardless, in their work we ﬁnd a blend of the historic and the modern, the sparse and the replete, the simple and the ornate. It’s this exceptionally beautiful pairing that represents the Frisardi style of artistic luxury. appreciated by connoisseurs far and wide.
Chalet For Sale! Chalet à vendre read the note that came in our mailbox last winter. They were asking CHF 14,000,000. The note failed to mention that the garden had a train line running through it and the house vibrated heavily several times a day. It also didn’t say the four-bedroom chalet hadn’t been touched since the 1970s and needed a total rebuild. BY: MANDOLYNA THEODORACOPULOS
Meanwhile, a new two bedroom apartment on the Oberbort with a spectacular view went for CHF 10,000,000 … the Alpina apartments sold for gazillions. Other chalets for sale include two on the Oberbort that are trying to be off-loaded for CHF 100,000,000. But the price of real estate in Gstaad is supposedly falling. Au secours! Perhaps my confusion comes from the very simple fact I know nothing about real estate, nor do I understand much about the market in general. All I know is that Linda Stein, who was once the realtor to the stars in New York, may she rest in peace, said that what matters most is “location! location! location!” So what is the best location in Gstaad? In my opinion, anything above the Palace.
Then we have Gruben, and Bissen, plus everything else including the Wispile, the Rosey, the Eggli and Saanen. It would follow then that a large chalet on the Oberbort might be worth as much as 50 or 100 million, especially if we consider La Stein’s advice, and a teardown on a train line is asking CHF 14,000,000. But again, I have absolutely no authority on this subject, and it should be noted that no hard research was conducted for the purpose of composing this essay. Unless you are trying to sell your chalet or become a player in the property market, the price of real estate is a mind-numbingly dull subject. Quite simply, unless you are a ﬁnancial novice, you set your price and accept nothing less. Maybe it’s all easier said than done, but what more do you need to know? Buy low, sell high, and don’t end up under water. If you can afford it, own more than one property, maybe even a hotel. Play Monopoly. Get on the ladder. More is more, after all, and the mega rich are proving it with the acquisition of multiple chalets. Why have only one when you can have a chalet for yourself and one for staff, children and/or guests? The current trend for owning numerous chalets suggests not only that there is a lot of money ﬂoating around Gstaad, but that property here is deemed a good place to put money despite the possibility of a deeper rupture in the market.
The question remains however, is this bubble happening? Is it real or is it manufactured? Perhaps the slow down is being caused by too much development and the supply exceeds the actual demand. Is the threat of a vote against tax privileges for foreigners a factor? Were prices inflated by developers and realtors over the past twenty years causing a market correction? Your guess is as good as anybody’s. It really boils down to how much someone will actually pay for one of these piles. I predict people will still want to take a bite out of Gstaad and get in on the action. Developers will take a break and carry on building in a few years. In the meantime, a very rich man will probably need a second home or perhaps a third chalet on the Oberbort for his pet paramour. Is Gstaad going to the dogs, then? That depends on how much my chalet is worth.
LAST WORD // GSTAADLIFE
Events Calendar Friday, July 18, 2014 through Thursday, August 6, 2014 Fri, Jul. 18 - Sep. 6
Sun, Jul. 27
Sat, Aug. 2
Menuhin Festival Gstaad
Public Cow Sale on Alp Gumm
Traditional Alpfest on the Wispile
Fri, Jul. 18 - Sat, Jul. 19
Thu, Jul. 31
Sat, Aug. 2
Youth Brass Band
Open-air concert, 8 pm
Open-air concert, 4:30 pm
Fri, Jul. 18 - Sun, Jul. 27
Thu, Jul. 31
Sun, Aug. 3 Saanenmöser
Credit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad
Summer Festival – George
Open-air concert, 8:30 pm
Hornberg Alp Fest
Thu, Jul. 31
Sun, Aug. 3 Lauenen
Tue, Jul. 22 - Sun, Aug. 3
9 pm Feutersoey
Alpine Dairy Tour 8:30 am walk to Alp Voderig every Wed. Wed, Jul. 23, 30, Aug. 5
Mountainboarding 1 pm each Wed. on the Rinderberg Wed, Jul. 23, 30, Aug. 5
Saanenland Bike Tours
Fri, Aug. 1
**** HOTEL LE GRAND CHALET +41 (0)33 748 76 76, email@example.com
Gondola Night Dinner
Swiss National Day Celebration
8 pm Fri, Jul. 25
Schönried Fri, Aug. 1
Friday Night Culinary Dinner
Swiss National Day Celebration
6 – 10 pm
5 – 11 pm on Wispile Sat, Jul. 26
For further details please visit: www.gstaad.ch
Important Numbers Ambulance 144, Police 117, Fire 118 Medical Emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental Emergency 033 729 26 26 Dental Care Center 033 744 15 45 Police Station 033 356 84 31 Car Accident 033 744 88 80 Zweisimmen Hospital 033 729 26 26 Château-d’Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Veterinarian 033 748 08 58/ 033 744 06 61
Saanen Village Party Grand Opening of pedestrian zone, all are welcome to attend, 4 pm – 2 am
Fri, Aug. 1
Swiss National Day Celebration Various events
For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/usefulnumbers.html
Photo: Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus
Clubs Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Christiane Griessen (079 / 432 73 93) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 / 748 92 08)
Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each ﬁrst and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 pm for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa-Hotel, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Philippe Werren, president, 033 748 84 00, firstname.lastname@example.org, gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch Soroptimist International President: Franziska Brändli, Tel. 079 636 13 33 Program: Gabi Thoenen, Tel. 033 748 11 11
EVENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 18, 2014
**** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, email@example.com **** HOTEL BERNERHOF +41 (0)33 748 88 44, firstname.lastname@example.org
5 -11 pm Fri, Aug. 1
***** ERMITAGE WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL +41 (0)33 748 04 30, email@example.com
*** * GOLFHOTEL LES HAUTS DE GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 68 68, firstname.lastname@example.org
Swiss National Day Celebration
Guided Tours each Thu. at 2 pm
**** * GRAND HOTEL PARK +41 (0)33 748 98 00, email@example.com
*** * HOTEL ALPENROSE +41 (0)33 748 91 91, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fri, Aug. 1
**** * GSTAAD PALACE +41 (0)33 748 50 00, email@example.com
**** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, firstname.lastname@example.org
Swiss National Day Celebration
Fri, Aug. 1
Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels
Sun, Aug. 3 Lauenen Showings daily
www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex Contact: email@example.com
**** * LE GRAND BELLEVUE +41 (0)33 748 00 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
Swiss National Day Celebration
English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm
Various daylong events Lauenen
Fri, Jul. 25
Fri, Aug. 1
Swiss National Day Celebration
After-work rides, 6:45 pm Thu, Jul. 24, 31, Aug. 6
Open-air concert, 8 pm Wed, Jul. 23, 30, Aug. 5
St Peter’s Anglican Church
**** HOTEL CHRISTIANIA +41 (0)33 744 51 21, email@example.com **** HOTEL GSTAADERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 63 63, firstname.lastname@example.org **** HOTEL OLDEN +41 (0)33 748 49 50, email@example.com **** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, firstname.lastname@example.org **** STEIGENBERGER ALPENHOTEL AND SPA +41 (0)33 748 64 64, email@example.com ** * HOTEL ALPINE LODGE +41 (0)33 748 41 51, firstname.lastname@example.org ** * HOTEL DES ALPES BY BRUNO KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 04 50, email@example.com *** HOTEL BELLERIVE +41 (0)33 748 88 33, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL ALPENLAND +41 (0)33 765 91 34, email@example.com *** HOTEL ALPHORN +41 (0)33 748 45 45, ofﬁce@alphorn-gstaad.ch *** HOTEL KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 40 20, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL LANDHAUS +41 (0)33 748 40 40, email@example.com *** HOTEL SAANERHOF +41 (0)33 744 15 15, firstname.lastname@example.org ** * HOTEL SOLSANA +41 (0)33 748 94 94, email@example.com ** * HOTEL SPITZHORN +41 (0)33 748 41 41, firstname.lastname@example.org *** POSTHOTEL RÖSSLI +41 (0)33 748 42 42, email@example.com *** SAANEWALD LODGE +41 (0)33 744 69 69, firstname.lastname@example.org *** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA +41 (0)33 748 44 22, email@example.com ** LE PETIT RELAIS +41 (0)33 744 35 65, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL RESTAURANT BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, email@example.com GASTHOF GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 22, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, email@example.com HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, firstname.lastname@example.org
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KATEGORY // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 18, 2014
The Exclusive Monthly Publication About the Good Life in Gstaad