This striking hotel was built in 1907 in less than a year - an incredible achievement considering the resources and know-how needed at the time to construct a building with 4 storeys in stone and 2 storeys out of wood.
Mr Franz Stüttgen recognized the potential of the up-and-coming region and adapted himself to the Bern-dominated society. As the French language was a sign of refinement at that time, he named the hotel he opened in June 1908 "Belvédère & Beau-Rivage" - both of which refer to the breathtaking location overlooking Spiez Bay.
In 1912, Mr. Stüttgen was forced to sell the hotel due to lack of funds and withdrew completely from the hospitality industry. The Dorer-Baumer family purchased it in 1912 and remained owners of the property for 35 years. After the outbreak of the Second World War, however, tourism came to a complete standstill. The Dorer-Baumer family was able to survive more or less until the end of the war, but pressure from the banks did not let up. The creditors sought a solution and found it in the form of the Association of Swiss Butchers, which bought the Belvédère in 1947.
The infamous "Spirit of Spiez" is assigned its most important mission and helps the German national team achieve a miracle in Bern by winning the 1954 World Cup. Many books have been written about this story, some of which are available for viewing at the hotel. Even today the Belvédère is still a place of pilgrimage for football enthusiasts, and various teams actively seek the support of the Spirit - a tireless source of energy in many ways.
After a 25 years without any major investments, the Belvédère had lost is shine. Successful management by Mr & Mrs Urben, as well as the guests' expectations called for a significant expansion of the hotel. An extension was started in 1963 and the existing rooms gradually fitted with private bathrooms. The addition was completed in 1964 and a professional butcher school was established on the lower two floors. In the same year, the large terrace was roofed over, creating the space for the restaurant today.
A great era comes to an end - Mr & Mrs Urben retire and leave the Belvédère in 1976, following 28 years of dedication and incredible achievement. They have contributed greatly to the reputation of the house. From 1976 to 1980, the hotel is leased to the hotelier Mr Näpflin from Central Switzerland. From 1980 to 1987, a Mr. Rupp takes over and enjoys a respectable success. Unfortunately, no new tenant is found in 1987 and the Association of Swiss Butchers hired a young couple to run the business. Between 1993 and 1997 the establishment is completely reorganised and all efforts undertaken to keep it running - without great success. Eventually in 1993, the new Association of Swiss Master Butchers professional school open its doors, and continues on as the ABZ today.
Resurrection to new prominence - In 1997, the Belvédère fortunately finds its saviour in Mr. Walter Hauenstein. The most necessary investments are made in the winter of 1997/98 and the illustrious re-opening in 1998 makes the experts sit up and take notice. The external director who Mr. Walter Hauenstein appoints is always able to count on his goodwill to make the necessary investments. Unfortunately, the generous benefactor dies in March 2005 and is not able to see his beloved Belvédère in its present splendour. He is and was the saviour of this house - without his commitment it would probably no longer be a hotel today!
The renovation begins on 31 October 2011 with the demolition of the entire attic, and the first and second floors. All pipes are renewed from the ground floor up and the lift shaft dismantled and enlarged. The construction of the new third and fourth floors and the mansard roof starts in no time. At the end of February the long awaited building permit for the extension of the wellness area is granted. The challenge is immediately taken up and the conversion work begins.
Mr. Markus Schneider leaves the Belvédère after 18 years to take up a new challenge. Since then, Mr. Bruno Affentranger and Mr. David Romanato have brought the company together as co-directors. Since 2019, all Hauenstein Hotels - and thus also the Belvédère Strandhotel & Restaurant - are officially members of the ETOA (European tourism association).
Another large-scale renovation of the Belvédère Strandhotel began in September 2019. A terraced extension was added in two phases (winters 2019 and 2020). The aging seminar wing was renovated and enlarged - with the five floors now housing an additional 24 hotel rooms, 380m² of seminar space and 34 garage parking spots. The new bar faces the water and the castle, and a small terrace overlooking Spiez Bay and the vineyard was created by shortening the top floor of the annex. Furthermore, the relaxation and sauna areas in the spa were expanded to create new treatment zones and the kitchen was moved from the basement to the ground floor near the restaurant. Hauenstein Immobilien AG was responsible for the reconstruction of the hotel which they acquired in 1979 and has developed the business successfully ever since.
Franz Stüttgen, the Dorer-Baumer family as well as Mr and Mrs Urben and all others who contributed tirelessly to the Belvédère would be proud to see the hotel in its present form. Everyone supported the project in their own way - the Spiezer and Bernese Oberlander can be proud of the Belvédère!