Did you know that the Bellevue Palace in Bern, the official residence of Swiss Government located just around the Swiss Parliament, was once sold for 1 CHF?
It happened during the Cold War, when the family who originally owned it decided to sell it and found some Russian buyers. The hotel is literally attached to the Ministry of Defence, and a stone’s throw from the whole Parliament, so the Government asked the Swiss National Bank to acquire a majority stake to save it from this foreign takeover.
But in 1994, the Swiss National Bank intended to sell it to the Swiss Government – hospitality wasn’t its main interest. But it had kept it for about 10 years without investing any money and without doing any renovation, so the Government refused to pay, and finally got the property for the symbolic value of one Swiss Franc.
And what a buy! Today the Bellevue Palace is back to its splendour, and we – Swiss citizens – are therefore all its owners.
How does it feel to stay in this incredible temple of Swissness and understated elegance? My review will be in the next issue of the Swiss Deluxe Hotel Magazine, and for the moment here are some images of my fabulous recent stay in Bern.