Steigenberger, Davos, The Most Fortified Hotel In The World Ready To Welcome World’s Most Powerful Leaders and Billionaires For World Economic Forum
Driving through the snow-filled mountains just past the village of Klosters, you can see the snipers on the rooftops, while Austrian and Swiss air force helicopters patrol the skies over this small city in Switzerland.
The town of Davos is located 4,900 feet up in the mountains, offering some of the most impressive alpine vistas, but during one week in January, the views change dramatically with fortified forest dugouts and army tanks dotting the landscape. Last year the Swiss government sent 5,000 army personnel to secure the area during the annual gathering of the world’s elite.
With only two entrances into Davos, roads are tightly controlled with police, military, and private security firms, and the reason for the heavy security is the fact that the world’s most powerful leaders and billionaires will be attending the annual World Economic Forum from January 21-24. Helicopters and limos will be the prime modes of transportation for attendees to arrive into the city from Zurich, (not sure what Greta Thunberg will think about that.)
Forget being a tourist during this time of the year, when all rooms are booked, and any remaining rooms in the outskirts are charging over 500% higher rates. The city is basically closed to the outside world. But the locals are not complaining, they make the majority of their income from one week, and the hotels like the Steigenberger will sell 16,805 canapés, over 1,600 bottles of champagne, and thousands of bottles of red and white wine on a daily basis.
And where is the center of all the activity during the Forum? It is the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère, the most heavily fortified hotel in the world during this period of time. The hotel prides itself on traditionally hosting the world’s elite from Bill Clinton, Prince William, Bill Gates, Brad Pitt, Bono, Matt Damon, and Angelina Jolie as visitors.
The 96 rooms and 30 suites will be filled by the who’s who of business, but they can forget using many of the facilities of the hotel. Everything has been converted into meeting rooms, including the health and beauty spa, and the swimming pool is drained to provide extra space.
The hotel first opened in 1875, after starting out as a chic boutique hotel with only 30 rooms, and last month China’s Huazhu Group acquired the Steigenberger Hotels as it seeks to extend its global reach. Huazhu bought Deutsche Hospitality from Egyptian entrepreneur Hamed El Chiaty, who purchased the group from the Steigenberger family in 2009.