Urbs in montibus

January 23 2014

This had to happen. Even in the 1880s, Davos presented “a row of first class hotels”.

But till recently the charm of the WEF Annual Meeting was that it was a retreat for most participants into fairly simple conditions. That simplicity gave the week its flavour.

Now an InterContinental brings the big city into town. (It actually opened at the end of 2012.) Farewell rusticity. Marble replaces local wood. The Belvedere, which was the leading hotel, and was at least somewhat local (German arches in the restaurant) has been upstaged.

Klaus Schwab might not be happy. “People know that I am very much against caviar and champagne and expensive wines, which are out of character with the atmosphere of a mountain village.” (As told to Nick Paumgarten the other year in The New Yorker.) That atmosphere is fast disappearing.

The newcomer isn’t necessarily a bad building, and it only has 216 rooms. At least a plan to build a skyscraper next to the Schatzalp – a skyscraper on top of a mountain seeming an offence against nature – has been shelved, and the inaccessible (in winter, except by funicular) former sanatorium continues in its old-fashioned Swiss isolation.

3 Responses to “Urbs in montibus”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    It may not be high luxury. The Presidential Suite looks rather pokey.

  2. davidderrick Says:

    I’m always depressed by Americans who, at the end of a conference, oblivious of where they are, retreat to an expensive bar.

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