Hotel Alpenrose 1881 140 Years
A short history of the Hotel Alpenrose in Wengen
150 years ago Wengen was made up of small hamlets and single farms. Our ancestors Christian and Anna Lauener-Gertsch lived in a white washed house in the „Kneu“. First guests arrived from 1855. They were mostly clergymen with their families. With their encouragement and financial help the Laueners built the first Pension or guest house in Wengen – the beginning of „tourism“ in Wengen. The Pension in Wengen was built in several stages until it had a capacity of 200 beds! More and more guests arrived, not only from Switzerland but also from Germany and even the USA.
After her marriage to Friedrich Feuz, Margaritha, daughter of Christian and Anna Lauener Gertsch moved to a small farm at „Stutz“ where they lived with their 3 children. As well as farming her husband was also the clerk of the community of Lauterbrunnen. As more guests kept arriving decision was made to build a hotel and on the 10th of February 1879 land in „Rossen“ was bought for this purpose.
Building took place over a period of 2 years and on the 4th of July 1881 the Hotel Alpenrose opened ist doors for the first guests.
There were no train connections in those days and Friedrich Feuz-Lauener often met his guests with a carriage in Interlaken. He drove them to Lauterbrunnen after which his guests either walked up the steep path to Wengen or were carried in sedan chairs or on horseback.
Food supplies came as much as possible from the farm. Butter came from Grindelwald – the daily farmers came on foot 3 or 4 times per week over Männlichen. Bread and other supplies were fetched daily every morning from Lauterbrunnen.
In 1893 the Wengernalp Railway was opened and in 1912 continued up to the Jungfraujoch. This brought a great increase in numbers of tourists to Wengen. New hotels were opened and the owners of the Alpenrose decided to build a second hotel – the Mittaghorn.
After the death in 1902 of Friedrich Feuz-Lauener and that of his son one year later, Margaritha Feuz-Lauener, with her 2 children, was left in charge of the Alpenrose and Mittaghorn. After her death in 1911 her children Hans and Margaritha with their families took over the hotels. Margaritha had married Fritz von Allmen from Lauterbrunnen in 1908 and their two sons Fritz and Paul were born in 1909 and 1911.
In 1914 the summer season started well but with the outbreak of the First World War at the end of August all the hotels were empty within a few days.
Hard times followed. The season was restricted to the swiss school holidays. In 1916 Fritz von Allmen-Feuz died and left his wife Margaritha with two small children.
However in 1919 things began to improve. More visitors arrived and with their higher expectations renovations and extensions to the hotels were necessary. It was decided to renovate the Alpenrose first. In 1929 the rooms were provided with hot and cold water and even some with private bathrooms. A lift was also installed.
In 1929/30 the Hotel Alpenrose was opened for the first time in winter. In the following years hard times fell upon the hotels once more. The Hotel Mittaghorn was closed and Margaritha von Allmen-Feuz and her sister-in-law Ida Feuz-Grossglauser concentrated in running the Hotel Alpenrose together. After her death in 1937 the Hotel Alpenrose was inherited by the von Allmen-Feuz family. The Hotel remained open during the Second World War although there were no international guests.
After the war rooms were renovated once more and in 1960 after the death of Margaritha von Allmen-Feuz her sons Fritz and Paul took over the business. In 1942 Paul married Heidi Lauener from Lauterbrunnen who became a great help in running the Hotel. Their children Paul (1944) and Margrit (1946) both studied at hotel school. Today Margrit and her husband Erich Leemann own the Hotel Park in Wengen.
Fritz von Allmen died suddenly in 1973 and his nephew Paul who was at that time working in a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, returned to continue the family tradition. On the 1st January 1979 Paul and Heidi von Allmen-Lauener handed over the Hotel to Paul and his wife Margaret – now the 4th generation. Their children Ursula (1981) and Fiona (1983) grew up in the hotel and always loved helping out. Fiona now works for a fashion store in Bern and Ursula after completing hotel school has decided to follow in her parents footsteps.
The Hotel Alpenrose is now 130 years old and in its sunny position is still looked after by the same family. They and their 20 staff look forward to your visit !