At the Fringe: Stories from Davos (6) – Sustainable Hotels in Davos: Is Green the New Gold?

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DAVOS – When entering Hotel Grischa, the first thing you notice is the impressive lamp that, with its 1400 individual glass tubes in the shape of stars, twinkles overhead. All around, there is an air of conspicuous consumption: luxury sheets, fancy suits and Louis Vuitton luggage.

But a screen near the reception tells another story: it displays the hotel’s current energy sources and consumption levels. “We are a very sustainable hotel,” says the receptionist, Michaela Hellerova. She smiles welcomingly, then adds that 60% of the energy used by the hotel stems from local renewable energy sources such as water, wind and the sun, and that – thanks to a clever bio-heating system that allows to heat floors separately, and switch off the heat where it isn’t needed – Hotel Grischa saves up to 20’000 liters of heating oil each year.

Hotel Grischa is not alone. Sustainability, in fact, seems to be a de rigeur offering amongst new luxury hoteliers in Davos: Two Sunstar hotels located in Davos, a 3-star and a 4-star resort, claim to be ultra-energy efficient, “using carbon-free renewable energy-sources only.” Global Swiss-based bank Credit Suisse recently invested 180 million Swiss Francs to build a 5-star hotel named “Stilli Park Intercontinental.” Implementing local building materials and a sustainable heating system, it is scheduled to open this fall.

Nuot Lietha from the Davos Tourism agency explains that this development is not a new trend but rather a logical extension of the town’s environmental friendly tradition. “The reduction of carbon emission has been our objective for some time now – it all dates back to the times of the sanatoriums”, he says.

In his opinion, sustainability is indeed compatible with high-end hotels, especially when it comes to implementing local products and materials. The beautiful timber walls in the lobby of Hotel Grischa, for instance, are made up of recycled wood from old Davos farms.

The lobby of Hotel Grischa in Davos with its lamp made up of 1400 individual glass tubes.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Grischa

The lobby of Hotel Grischa in Davos with its lamp made up of 1400 individual glass tubes.

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