A Car Fairy Tale at the Gstaad Palace Hotel
In summer it stands beautifully, prominently, in front of the main entrance, polished to a mirror finish every day. Even though it’s getting on a bit, it’s still got ‘it’ – this Rolls Royce Silver Wraith, born 1952.
Today the hotel’s flagship motor car can look back on many great memories. It has played its part in the movies and has chauffeured around royalty and eminent political figures. But it landed at the hotel by a fortuitous circumstance.
BE 22207 originally belonged to a wealthy trader from Egypt who loved beautiful cars but loved the Gstaad Palace above all else. He was often to be seen spending time at the elegant Palace, nestled in the Swiss mountains, with the ‘Swiss-Rolls’ at his beckoning. In 1955, he got to talking with Mr. Ernst Scherz (grandfather of today’s owner, Andrea Scherz) and asked him point-blank if he could barter the car for his board and lodging. Ernst Scherz was not averse to the offer: consequently the Wraith remained in Gstaad – and subsequently has played host to many amazing couplings.
In 1975 it played a not insignificant part in the Hollywood blockbuster: The Return of the Pink Panther. It ferried Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis around while she was covertly writing her memoirs at the Palace. And stars such as Elton John, Isabelle Adjani or John Travolta love to see the car awaiting them on their arrival in Gstaad.
Only one person today can sit at the wheel of this stunning vehicle: Manolo, the valet and man for all seasons, who has been working at the hotel for over 45 years. He, and only he, has the ‘licence to drive’!
The Gstaad Palace Challenge – for fans of classic cars
They’re guests at the Palace every autumn: an invitation-only gathering of 30 beautiful veteran, vintage, and hot sports cars from decades gone by. They take part in an adventurous, pleasurable rally all over the mountains. That’s the ‘Gstaad Palace Challenge’. Andrea Scherz, its host and passionate vintage fan, always joins in — not with her Rolls-Royce Phantom though, but with a rather racy Alfa Romeo instead.
Displayed courtesy of Royal Hotel A. G. Winter & Gstaad Palace from Tuesday 7th May to Monday 13th May. Further information is available from: library table (ground floor rotunda); display cabinet (first floor rotunda)