"A Strange Bird" at the Hotel Alex in Zermatt

6,000 inhabitants - and up to 40,000 guests at weddings. Tourism in Switzerland is looking at old records again and wants to build on old success figures after Corona. In doing so, it is important to continuously develop the offer - as is also the case in the family-run Resort Hotel Alex. The 84 rooms are not only in demand during the peak winter season. The nearby Matterhorn also ensures good business in summer.

After years of the pandemic, when many people were unable to travel, hotelier René Hürlimann sees a huge need to catch up. And it is not only the hotel that invested during the Corona period and redid the wellness area - a new ski race track and a cable car up the Kleine Matterhorn have been built in Zermatt.

"Hospitality is friendship" - is already the grandfather's motto at the Hotel Alex. "We would like to see our guests again", has always been the wish of the hotel's founder, Alex Perren (born 1933). He originally comes from the area around Zurich and therefore still sees himself as a "foreign bird" in Zermatt. Unlike his father-in-law, who has stood on the summit of the Matterhorn around 250 times, Hürlimann is not a mountaineer, but keeps fit twice a week by doing Pilates with a personal trainer.  "From six o'clock in the morning and then throughout the day, there is always someone from the family here."he promises his guests. They should feel at home - thanks to the cosy furnishings and the staff. Of the up to 55 employees, five are currently Swiss, because as in many places, it is not easy to recruit and retain good and committed staff in Zermatt after almost three years of Corona. "For the future, I see many problems coming up for the hotel and catering industry. Young people no longer want to learn in our industry. The reasons are certainly the working hours, the 7-day week. That is no longer attractive for many.Hürlimann complains.

Sustainability is also becoming more and more of an issue at the Hotel Alex. The hotel still uses petroleum for heating, but in the future at least half of the energy demand will be covered by geothermal energy. They have already reduced food waste and are focusing on less meat and more healthy food on the menu. If you are looking for a luxurious mountain hut, you must have been to the "Alex" once. Classically chalet-style on the outside, the interior is a voyage of discovery for young and old from all over the world. "Whoever enters our hotel feels at home. This is made possible by the many built-in wood, the velvet cushions, our child-friendliness but also the international flair", Hürlimann explains.

In terms of awards and prizes, the Hotel Alex has cleared all that is possible. With the support of the event "Zermatt Unplugged Since the very beginning, the hotel's international ties have been emphasised once again. "A very good festival, lots of young talent and sometimes we even cook the artists, like Chris de Burgh, a delicious soup when the kitchen is off work." reports Hürlimann.