An Interview with: The Inaugural General Manager of The Chedi Andermatt, Alain Bachmann
The clock certainly is ticking as we countdown to the opening of The Chedi Andermatt, and we’ve been fortunate enough to watch the hotel develop from its very foundations. As final touches are being added and we notice something different every time we visit, we felt it was about time we met the team behind the project. The hotel will be managed by renowned hotel management group ‘General Hotel Management Ltd’ (GHM), and heading up the team will be General Manager Alain Bachmann, who assumed his position in Andermatt earlier this week.
With an unsurpassable background in hospitality which stems from years abroad honing his skills, Bachmann certainly has the right tools for the job, and we’ve been fortunate enough to be one of the first to interview him on his new role.
1. Aside from Switzerland being your homeland, what drew you back to the country three years ago after being abroad in USA and Russia?
After almost 15 years abroad I felt it was important to be at bit closer to my father, siblings and their families, and I was very fortunate to have been offered a position at the Grand Hotel Park, Gstaad three years ago. The move gave me the opportunity to develop and reposition, and I was very proud to work for one of the finest hotels in Switzerland.
2.Undoubtedly you’re probably still getting to grips with The Chedi Andermatt however, what do you believe will set it apart from the previous hotels you’ve worked in and it’s competitors?
The Chedi Andermatt is a trendsetter – and at the same time it follows a trend: A trendsetter for having chosen a destination off the beaten path, as it has done so before with many of its other famed properties. However, we also follow a trend as our guests are increasingly looking for an authentic experience by re-discovering the beauties of nature and the simple, genuine pleasures – all while being able to relax in style and being pampered unobtrusively, away from glitzy boutiques or star-studded night clubs.
3.You’ve worked with many hotel management brands before, but what led you to GHM?
I have always been impressed by the pioneering spirit and vision of the founders of GHM, Hans Jenni, our president, and Adrian Zecha, both truly legendary hoteliers, and I’ve followed the development of the company closely. When the project in Andermatt was announced I knew this would be a unique chance to become part of the world’s most stylish and distinctive hotel management company.
4.With the opening planned for December we’re sure you’re very busy, what are your main tasks in the build up to opening?
I am very proud to have a team of highly skilled hotel professionals in place who have been taking care of the pre-opening phase in Andermatt for several months now. Once I join in September I will focus on getting to know all the parties involved in this extensive project, taking over the hotel from Andermatt Swiss Alps and preparing the opening in December, with enthusiastic and trained hotel professionals.
5.What are the unique features that The Chedi Andermatt has, and which are you most looking forward to seeing realised?
Have you ever seen a hotel where the smallest room was 52m2…? – The hotel is quite frankly spectacular, in its design by Jean-Michel Gathy, in its generous space and unique features, from the 35 meter indoor-pool, the dramatic yet intimate pond-studded court yard to the glass-enclosed cheese cellar in the centre of The Restaurant.
6.What type of guest are you expecting The Chedi Andermatt to appeal to?
The Chedi Andermatt will appeal to many different guests: to locals for a relaxing drink after work, to couples for a romantic get-away, to businesses for a discreet board meeting, families on a ski break, golf pros and amateurs and, of course, gourmets discovering our restaurants.
7.As a year round resort what will most appeal to you; skiing in the winter or golf in the summer?
I am an avid skier so I can’t wait, if time allows, to discover the beautiful slopes at Nätschen or Gemsstock.
8.What capacity do you expect and is the hotel to run year-round?
We are confident to be achieving a good average occupancy year-round, focusing of course on the two main seasons, winter and summer.
9. The Chedi Andermatt is the first phase in what is to become a new alpine destination for Switzerland, are you excited to see the other work underway?
Absolutely. We are pleased about the on-going progress and are looking forward to the further development of Andermatt and its infrastructure in the future.
10.Have you ever worked in a hotel with private residences before and are you looking forward to developing relationships with the owners?
Of course I am eager to get to know all the residence owners and hopefully I will be able to see them regularly around the hotel. Enjoying the Spa, the Library or one of our fabulous restaurants or bars. In fact, my last property also featured residences so I am quite familiar with the concept.
11.Finally, can you describe a perfect day at The Chedi Andermatt?
There is not one perfect day…. there are many perfect days, it all depends in what you are looking for. For me personally I would probably enjoy the sumptuous breakfast buffet and then spend the afternoon by the pool. In the evening you might find me in the unique Japanese Restaurant at the Tempura counter.
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If you want to learn more about the team behind Andermatt Swiss Alps and The Chedi Andermatt check out The A Team section of our blog.
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