History – 100 years Privata

My great-grandparents Nuot Bezzola and Madalena Bezzola-Barblan opened the Privata Hotel as the “Pensiun Privata” in 1921, and our family has owned and run the hotel ever since.

The history of the house itself goes back much further to 1630. For 260 years until 1889, it was a farm house. Today’s Stüvetta used to be the living room, and the family used our current first-floor suite as a bedroom. Today’s sitting room with the fireplace was the winter kitchen. The ancient vaults in the cellar are still clearly visible and the closets and trunks from this period contribute to a feeling of serenity and strength.

When the Privata was opened, my other great-grandfather Samuele Giovanoli was a farmer and one of the first ski instructors in the Engadine and lived in the house called “La Motta” in the Fex Valley. In his old age, he took up painting, and after his death he became well-known as the “Paradise Painter of the Fex Valley” and as one of the most important Swiss folk artists of the 20th century.

Some of his paintings, which have been shown at various exhibitions, hang in our restaurant and in the hotel corridors.

At first, the Privata was only open in summer, with the first official winter season beginning in December 1926. My great aunt Annigna Bezzola and my grandparents Paula Giovanoli-Bezzola and Arno Giovanoli took over the Privata with both a summer and winter season in 1935.

Starting in the 1950s, winter sports became increasingly popular. In 1953, Sils’ first ski lift Vanchera was set up, in 1963/64, the Corvatsch cable car opened in Surlej, as did the Furtschellas cable car in Sils in 1973/74. The first Engadine Cross-Country Ski Marathon took place in 1969. At the end of the 1960s, my father Dumeng Giovanoli celebrated his greatest sports successes with five World Cup wins, an overall number 1 ranking in slalom for the season and silver and bronze medals at the Alpine World Ski Championships.

Sils also continued to attract those searching for untouched nature and serenity as well as intellectuals and artists. Marc Chagall, who was our guest repeatedly in 1960 and 1961, painted such pictures as “Window with Bouquet“ and “The Window of Sils-Maria“. (Our family does not own these paintings.)

In 1973, my parents Dumeng and Ursula Giovanoli assumed management of the Privata and continued to update the building, investing large sums in the comfort of the guest rooms. Attention was always devoted to local craftsmanship traditions. For example, sgraffito house inscriptions typical for the Engadine. The sgraffito technique was also used to add a decorative touch to the façades and living areas. In 1956, the prominent artist, Giuliano Pedretti, realized the sgraffiti in the Stüva Bella. In 1998, he also added decorations to our enlarged restaurant. Later, singer-artist Paulin Nuotclà added sgraffiti to some of our guest rooms.

My parents also focused on developing fine dining and promoted regional menus. Our chefs continue to use many of the recipes created by my father Dumeng Giovanoli.

The artistic side of our family continues with my brother Gian Andri. His impressive photographs decorate the hotel and often show new and unexpected perspectives of the Engadine.

In 2008, I took over the Privata from my parents in the fourth generation, and I now manage the hotel with the help of my ambitious team. Our goal is to continue to refine the many special traditions and varied influences which have shaped the hotel over four centuries while preserving the special spirit of the hotel.

That the Pensiun Privata, known as Privata Hotel for a few years now, is such a special place in which nature, sports, art and culture come together in such a unique way is also due to our guests who have determined the hotel’s particular atmosphere for nearly one-hundred years.

Together with our friends of long-standing who have helped make the Privata what it is today, I am looking forward to celebrating a special one-hundred-year anniversary in 2021: 100 years Privata.

Corina Giovanoli

History
My great-grandparents Nuot Bezzola and Madalena Bezzola-Barblan opened the Privata Hotel as the “Pensiun Privata” in 1921, and our family has owned and run the hotel ever since.
The history of the house itself goes back much further to 1630. For 260 years until 1889, it was a farm house. Today’s Stüvetta used to be the living room, and the family used our current first-floor suite as a bedroom. Today’s sitting room with the fireplace was the winter kitchen. The ancient vaults in the cellar are still clearly visible and the closets and trunks from this period contribute to a feeling of serenity and strength.