Davos has been frequently associated with the “Magic Mountain” for almost 100 years. The phrase “Magic Mountain” is in fact often used as a synonym for the spot. But what and where is the magic mountain?
The most important fact first: “The Magic Mountain” is the title of a novel and masterpiece by Thomas Mann. Thomas Mann gained inspiration for his tale during his own stay in Davos. His wife Katia was ill with catarrh on the apex of the lungs, and travelled to a recuperation spa at the woodland sanitorium in Davos. This afforded Thomas Mann extensive first-hand information on life in the sanitorium. As a result of his impressions and armed with the letters that his wife wrote to him from the sanitorium, he embarked on writing his novel, which he worked on between 1913 and 1915, before finishing in 1924 after a break lasting a number of years.
The work “the magic mountain”: Hans Castorp, the main character in Thomas Mann’s novel “The Magic Mountain”, visits his cousin, who is recuperating in a Davos sanitorium with the aid of the mountain air. Castorp – fascinated by life in the sanitorium – defines the image of the sanitorium guests anew. For Castorp, life in the sanitorium becomes the mass of all things…the “magic mountain”. Five years after the novel was published, Thomas Mann received the Nobel Prize for Literature in Sweden, rendering his entire works immortal.
On the Schatzalp, where readers of Thomas Mann’s best-selling novel will find the magic mountain, the ambience, the attitude to life amidst pure art nouveau architecture, remains as it was almost 100 years ago. The architecture of the sanitorium remains unchanged. The terraces, where guests of the sanitorium rested and recuperated, serve today as sunbathing spots for the hotel guests. And anyone who has been on the Schatzalp will know: Here, enthroned above Davos, the area is truly magical – today as it was yesterday. Even though it was pretty foggy out there, when we got to visit the Schatzalp, it was still magical.
For lovers of Historic Hotels
Voted Historic Hotel of Switzerland in 2008. Opened in 1900 as a luxury sanatorium, the architecture has been preserved in its original form. The Schatzalp unlocks magnificent nature and cultural experiences, with the kitchen and the cellar offering up sensual treats. For ten years, Kaiser Wilhelm II leased three rooms that have been preserved in the Art Nouveau / Belle Époque style, and Thomas Mann mentioned the hotel in his novel “Zauberberg”.
Located 300m above Davos, the Schatzalp is a place for anybody who needs peace and quiet, who values nature or who wants to experience history. This historic hotel and its Alpine surroundings shape each other. The original funicular railway, built at the same time as the hotel, is still used to bring guests to the hotel. The Schatzalp Hotel was conceived as a luxury sanatorium and built by the architect’s firm Pfleghard & Haefeli. It opened in 1900 as a prime location for an international circle of tuberculosis patients who could afford the rather exclusive care. The core principle of therapy in those days was optimal exposure to sunlight, which is why the hotel faces south. Its more than 100 meter long façade resembles a line of terraces, sheltered from the wind: Here, on the legendary yellow Davos deck chairs, the patients rested wrapped in blankets for days on end, basking in the sun and the fresh mountain air. Progress in medicine led to the sanatorium being closed in the 1950’s. But as early as 1954 the Schatzalp was reopened as a hotel with 92 rooms, after careful restoration. Much of the original building has remained, including the original 1900 lift facility. The interior captivates the eye with its spacious Art Nouveau common rooms and the many original fittings in the partially restored historic bathrooms. Other quality additions – such as some of the period furniture – date back to the hotel’s 1954 transformation.
photo credits: V’s World