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Sell out? Nearly half of Swiss top hotels owned by foreigners

While the strong Swiss franc is causing headaches for mid-ranged hotels, it is attracting foreign investors looking for hotels in the luxury sector. (RTS/swissinfo.chexternal link)

For many, Switzerland is a byword for luxury hospitality, stretching back more than a century to when ailing British aristocrats sought health treatments or adventurous travellers crossed the Alps.

Many of the hotels that served these clients now require extensive renovations to remain competitive. Increasingly, hoteliers are selling to foreign investors, attracted by Switzerland’s economic and political stability.

In the eastern canton of Graubünden, several luxury hotels were declared bankrupt in 2015. The Waldhaus mountain resort and spa was bought by American James Zenni, CEO of the Z Capital Group.

In Lucerne in central Switzerland, the Palace Hotel was snapped up by a Chinese investor, Yunfeng Gao, who also owns the Hotel Frutt Family Lodge in Melchsee-Frutt, and who is building a new five star hotel in Engelberg. 

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