Switch mode

5 Questions - Richard Leuenberger

Richard Leuenberger - Managing Director, Badrutt’s Palace.

Swiss Deluxe Hotels Stories Winter 2020 5 Questions Richard Leuenberger 01 FI7A4968 BW Ecirgb

You manage a palace. Which role suits you better, that of a king or that of a butler?

The role of a butler. Primarily, a Managing Director is a host, and that requires humility. And even though my title is Managing Director, I am always a waiter and a receptionist.

People say you are an optimistic person with a sense of humour.

Optimism and a healthy portion of light-heartedness are essential. Our guests visit Badrutt’s Palace to enjoy themselves, and they hope to spend a joyful time at the hotel. It doesn’t do any harm when you yourself radiate a sense of fun.

The roots of Badrutt’s Palace run deep. Is that a disadvantage when trying to feel the pulse of time?

On the contrary, guests are looking for authenticity. Being a hotel with a history is one thing we don’t have to create, nor Engadine’s pristine nature. With this combination, we’re playing at a top level internationally.

To what extent can you, as Managing Director, contribute innovation to a hotel with so much tradition?

Courage to introduce change is growing increasingly important. Pioneering spirit is in the Badrutt’s Palace DNA. There are numerous examples of innovation, such as transitioning to using water from the lake to provide heat for the building, reducing our heating oil consumption by 40 per cent. Here, I always find support for my ideas. As a hotel, we stay in touch with our guests by means of WhatsApp, WeChat and other services, which today represent more than half of our guest communications. We react to requests within less than one minute. It’s a conscious decision to make use of the platforms which our guests communicate on.

Where will the journey take you in the future?

In addition to all of the innovation, we wish to remain a place where people meet, and where they connect with fun, festivities and vacations. A truly unique place.

Words Martin Hoch
Photo Nico Schaerer

Related Stories

You don’t have to like this delicate yet rough leaf vegetable with its complex bitter notes – you have to love it! The late growing radicchio tardivo di Treviso is the prima donna of the noble radicchio family.

Discover more

The world is changing. That has always been the case. And the luxury hotel industry has often been at the forefront of developments when it comes to innovation. Just think of hotel pioneer Johannes Badrutt, who installed Switzerland’s first electrical system above his Kulm hotel in St. Moritz, creating a furore with his festively illuminated Belle Époque halls.

Discover more

Owner & General Manager, Guarda Golf Hotel & Residences, Crans Montana.

Discover more

The farm Terreni alla Maggia is part of the Castello del Sole estate.

Discover more

Leonardo da Vinci once said, ‘Simplicity is the highest level of perfection.’ Those who visit the Engadine encounter this simplicity with ease – in the tranquillity of nature – and the effortless luxury of the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz. General Managers and spouses Jenny and Heinz E. Hunkeler are committed to this daily. We visit them to unveil their unwavering enthusiasm for their place of work and residence.

Discover more

Franz Faeh is fluent in seven languages and can cook hundreds of dishes off the cuff. His most outstanding qualities, however, must be his warmth and dry humour.

Discover more

Specialising in turning brands and spaces into audible experiences, The Music Architect’s founder and creative director, former classical cellist Zoë Burnard, gives us a glimpse into her world of sights and sounds in ten questions.

Discover more