There is something magical and beautiful about the Gstaad-Sannen region in Switzerland. It has attracted elites and nature lovers since the early 1900s. It is that exact magic that attracted two partners from vastly different backgrounds to create HUUS Gstaad, a beautiful boutique hotel with sweeping views over the Bernese Alps. Günter Weilguni is a seasoned hotelier who grew up in Tyrol, Austria. He always knew that he would dedicate his career to the world of hospitality and after nineteen years of working in various management positions in the hospitality industry, his entrepreneurial instincts told him that it was time to start his own adventure.
His unlikely partner was Marwan Naja, an investor and an entrepreneur. He had owned companies in the education, tech, car parts, consumer finance and other markets, but never considered the hospitality sector as a target. Marwan, a Swiss citizen who comes from a Lebanese origin, was educated in the US and worked on Wall Street. In 2000, he moved to Geneva and started his own company to invest in and manage mid-market Swiss and European companies. The HUUS Gstaad story began when Marwan purchased a hotel in Gstaad that he planned to turn into student residences and create a Gstaad-based school for his education company. The Gstaad school project did not take off, for various reasons, leaving him with a wonderful three-star hotel, Alpine Lodge, which was managed by Günter. This was the beginning of a close business and personal relationship between the two entrepreneurs. Günter and Marwan soon became convinced that the Gstaad market needed a “Hip” hotel. They acquired a sleepy, under-appreciated hotel in the Gstaad region with magnificent views and facilities and set out to make HUUS Gstaad one of the best boutique hotels in the world.
They launched a Europe-wide design competition for renovating the hotel and awarded the prize to Swedish/Norwegian Erik Nissen Johansen, a rising star in the hospitality design sector. Marwan and Günter mandated Eric to create a hotel with excellent design standard, different to the typical mountain chalet style hotels - a hotel that is family friendly, but also welcoming and appealing to younger guests.
The HUUS Gstaad concept incorporates various elements: great design, spectacular food and generosity with many activities included in the room price, beautiful but casual atmosphere not requiring the formal attire of other Gstaad hotels, great facilities for children including free babysitting during meals and free ski rentals and classes for young children and a wonderful pool, spa and gym. Marwan and Günter added an 80-metre terrace and completely redesigned the lobby to create an iconic bar and lounge area. Importantly, Marwan and Günter hired Giuseppe Colella, a remarkable top chef, to oversee their food and beverage operations.
HUUS Gstaad guests have a ‘love at first sight’ experience. This continues with their stay as they experience exceptional value. Just three years old, last winter season, saw over 70% of guests returning to stay.
The HUUS Gstaad experience is boosted by a remarkable location overlooking the Bernese Alps, close to many activities like skiing and hiking, a five-minute drive from the centre of Gstaad with its world-class shopping as well as its sports and cultural experiences: ATP Tennis Tournament, Polo Tournament, Beach Volleyball Tournament, the Mulheim Music Festival and much more.
Günter and Marwan are avid mountaineers and environmentalists with a deep attachment to the Gstaad-Saanen region. Their vision for HUUS Gstaad was to highlight the natural beauty of the region and the opportunities and activities it offers to its guests. Their concept for HUUS Gstaad includes a variety of outdoor activities free of charge for including free guided ski tours, guided hiking tours and electric bikes.
Marwan and Günter are still writing the story of HUUS Gstaad, each year adding to the customer experience. When they started this journey, there were many unknowns, but today, they both profess pride and love for the hotel they’ve created, both committed to continuously improving the experience of their guests at HUUS Gstaad.
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