Grindelwald Youth Hostel
History - The forest youth hostel
Since its completion at the beginning of the 20th century, the chalet building located in woodland above Grindelwald has offered its guests an exceptional view across the village and towards the Eiger North Face.
After the building had been acquired by the Youth Hostels Association in 1939, the number of guests gradually grew.
The holiday chalet
In 1904, Gustav A. Hasler, founder of the Hasler Werke in Bern, had the building constructed by an English architect as an apparently romanticised holiday chalet. So the fact that references have been made to the English country house style and the attributes of the hotel architecture of the day are not entirely coincidental. Instead of the simple flight of steps typical of chalet construction that were commonly placed in front of the building, a feudal staircase in the building leads from the upper floors to a spacious open lobby. This is situated in the middle of the building, dividing it into two equal halves.
The youth hostel
In the 1950s, European tourism experienced a period of tremendous growth. The lower and middle-income groups discovered the attraction of foreign holidays and inexpensive accommodation was in great demand. An expansion of the space available in Grindelwald Youth Hostel became a matter of urgency; although the chalet’s self-contained construction type did not really lend itself to extensions. During a first phase, space potential was spotted in the outdoor wash house which was converted into the first family room in 1957.
Nevertheless, the building’s appearance already underwent its first major change between 1962 and 1965 with a massive ground floor extension to the west-facing main facade.
When a comprehensive refurbishment was on the agenda in the early 1990s, the aim was to reduce the numbers of beds in the cramped rooms. An extension to the existing building was out of the question. The decision was taken to construct a separate new building alongside the original chalet building.
The new building
In 1996, a total of 18 new double rooms and rooms with four beds were created in a three-story building. With its consistent simplicity and spatial clarity, the new building is visually subordinate to the main building. The allocation of space into guestrooms with a view down the valley, a continuous corridor and ancillary rooms with stairs and wet cells looking up the valley is implemented in the same way over all the floors. At the same time as the construction of the new building, alterations were undertaken to relieve the chalet of some of its inherited problems and the overfilled multi-bed rooms reduced to rooms with two to six beds.
Grindelwald Youth Hostel today
Old building 1961
New building 1996