30 Oktober 2018

A wonderful swap

 

In summer it stands beautifully prominently in front of the main entrance, polished to a mirror finish
every day, not one piece of dust, one spot, nothing. Even though it’s getting on a bit now, it’s still got it: the Rolls Royce Phantom (built 1952). The hotel’s flagship has already experienced a great deal. It has played a part in films, chauffeured royalty and political figures around. And the Phantom actually ended up at the hotel more by chance.

 

The Rolls Royce originally belonged to a wealthy trader from Egypt. He didn’t just love beautiful cars but the Gstaad Palace above all. He often spent a long time at the elegant Palace in the Swiss mountains, with his Swiss Rolls by his side at all times, which he had parked in a garage in Ouchy when he wasn’t in the country. He used this beautiful vehicle, which according to the saga he owned quite a few of, for trips into the countryside, business detours to Lausanne and Geneva. And of course for a little spin with management now and again.

 The brilliant idea

It must have been in 1955, Mr Smuha and his entourage were once again spending several weeks with the Scherz family during the pleasant mountain summer, far away from the pyramids and hectic Cairo. They used to get talking and Ernst Scherz, the grandfather of today’s owner Andrea Scherz, was just as taken with the beautiful things in life. One word led to another and Smuha and Scherz got into negotiations, almost like at a bazaar. The hard-working trader from North Africa wanted to point-blank know if he could also pay in kind. Ernst Scherz, presumably on a whim, was not averse to the idea. And so the Rolls Royce stayed in Gstaad at the end of the season forever. A deal that everyone profited from: the Smuha family naturally from the eternal priority of free travel whenever they were in Saanenland. And the Palace had a stately carriage for that was used for the official transfer from Gstaad train station up to the Oberbort.

 A film star and more

The Rolls Royce has also experience much more in the meantime. For example, it played a not insignificant part in the Hollywood blockbuster “The Return of the Pink Panther” in 1975. In the film, the Rolls picks up Lady Claudine Lytton alias Catherine Schell from the train station in Gstaad, who draws Inspector Clouseau alias Peter Sellers into a wild goose chase. Or it had Margaret Thatcher and her husband on board during the time when she was writing her memoirs incognito at the Palace. Monsieur le Président Jacques Chirac was also chauffeured through the region in it. And stars like Elton John, Isabelle Adjani or John Travolta loved it when the Phantom was waiting for them in Gstaad. By the way, there just one person who actually sits at the wheel of this stunning vehicle: Manolo, the valet and man for all seasons. He has been working at the hotel for more than 45 years. He, and only he, has the “licence to drive”.

Full speed ahead – the best moments in the Palace Phantom’s life

Gstaad Palace Challenge – for vintage fans

They’re a guest at the Palace every year: the beautiful veterans and hot sports cars from years and decades gone by. The “Gstaad Palace Challenge” gathers them together for an adventurous, pleasurable rally over all the mountains. The host, Andrea Scherz who is also a passionate vintage fan, always joins in not with the “Phantom” though but rather a racy Alfa Romeo.

Sign up here

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