Andrea & Gigi Kracht in The Luxury of peace and quiet

Zurich wakes up, it’s a spring day. The sides of the lake are calm, the canopy of the trees sways, a morning breeze ruffles them. An elegant car drives into the hotel courtyard. Like every day, Andrea, who lives just out of town, reaches his workplace. He parks, gets out of the car and straightens up his well-cut blue jacket. A gardener greets him with a smile. It’s 8 o’clock on the dot. Andrea takes a deep breath and looks at what stands before his eyes: the grand door, the portico, the elegant windows, the striped curtains and the balconies in bloom. He feels a wise, conscious sense of gratitude. This place is his home, his life, his family.
This is the hotel Baur Au Lac, a mythical, unique, precious chest of memories and innovation. This hotel belongs to him and to all the people who have visited it and will continue to do so.
The hotel, built in 1844 by his ancestors, near the lake and with a view of the Alps, has always been run by Andrea’s family, of which he represents the 6th generation. Just like those who once spent their holidays here –the emperors and princesses, the unforgettable Sissi, musicians, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, Alfred Nobel, who had his idea of creating his famous prize here, encouraged by the charismatic pacifist Baroness Bertha Von Suttner, and well-known artists– today art collectors, heads of state, designers, international film and music stars, members of royal families now stay here. A pleasant dizziness overcomes him. Responsibility blends in with happiness. Little has changed, but at the same time everything has, Andrea thinks. He has had the courage to renovate the entire building, to face the future. To avoid turning it into a museum. The luxurious and refined atmosphere has remained the same. And he likes this. If his daughter should ever want to take his place, continuing the family tradition, she too will have to play a game of balance with time: to mantain the highest quality, preserve this place and accompany it into modernity. Like an age-old tree, that has firm roots and fresh shoots. Inside the hall there is a unique scent, for the guests of the hotel it’s like a favourite tune.
It means: “Here you are, welcome”. A personal note reflected in the beauty of the furniture, in the magnificence of the bouquets that flood the bright halls. It’s the same fragrance that lingers in the rooms, in the bathrooms, when the clients prepare for their moments of complete privacy, plunging into aromatic bubbles. A moment later, his mind is already thinking about what has to be done: with Swiss planning indeed, he knows that keeping up the standards of perfection, discretion and uniqueness of the Baur implies a continual effort, such as the one of his staff: young apprentices that absorb their masters’ experience, a starred chef that brilliantly guides his brigade de cuisine, waiters, maîtres, gardeners, trainers and florists and many more. The Baur microcosm is synchronized to give what his family has always wanted to transmit: the experience of a unique lifestyle to greet their guests.
For Andrea, who is also the Chairman of the Leading Hotels of the World, the best prize is his clientele.
The phone rings, it’s his wife. They have been together for more than 27 years. “Have you asked to have pictures of the ginko biloba taken? I would like some photos of it for the new catalogue of the hotel. I’d like everyone to know about it, it has such a magic history…” Andrea agrees with this suggestion, and asks for a coffee in the hotel’s private park. Here, an old tree grows peaceful and regal, a ginko biloba, whose seed, tradition says, came directly from the garden of Japanese emperor. It was brought here in 1880. Gigi, an art curator, loves to enjoy a few moments of quiet under the giant canopy of this rare specimen. And she always laughs saying: “The circumference of its trunk? Not even if you measure the waistline of 10 Botero women could you equal it!”. Gigi’s enthusiasm always makes him happy. Moreover, it was her who introduced contemporary art to the Baur, spreading artwork by Louise Bourgeoise, George Condo, Robert Indiana in the park and mixing it with century-old plants and bushes in bloom. And every year she organizes Art in The Park, during Art Basel. Because, as the Leipzig Illustrated Newspaper wrote in 1854, talking about the beauties of this unparalleled hotel: “Art must live together with nature”.

The Travelling Box

When the iconic magic box meets the place, captured from hotel guests shots to let discover the details of the hotel destinations.

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