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Tribute to Irma Sarasin

The Sarasin family contributed significantly to the economic and social prosperity of the Poschiavo valley.
Between 1905 and 1953, Alfred Sarasin Dr.h.c.—descendent of the Sarasin family of private bankers from Basel, founder of the hydroelectric company Forze Motrici Brusio (FMB), sponsor of the Bernina railway and champion of the transformation of the Baths of Le Prese into Hotel Le Prese—defended not only the interests of Forze Motrici Brusio but also those of the Hotel, serving as a member of the Management Board of FMB and later as chairman.

His successor and grandson Alfred E. Sarasin took over management of the hotel between 1954 and 1992 in his capacity as board member of FMB and later chairman and, like his grandfather before him, contributed to the hotel’s prosperity. Alfred spent many happy days at the prestigious hotel together with his family, to whom he passed down a passion for the Poschiavo valley, Lake Poschiavo and Hotel Le Prese.

In 2011, the Hotel’s history is further intertwined with that of the wealthy family of bankers from Basel. Having spent memorable days at Hotel Le Prese with her late husband Alfred E. Sarasin junior (who had died in 2005), Irma Sarasin-Imfeld decided to buy the Hotel from Banca Intesa, returning it symbolically to the valley. Hers was a gesture of great generosity towards the Poschiavo valley as a whole, which had long suffered from the loss of a symbolic place of great historical and economic value.
Hers was a gesture of great generosity towards the Poschiavo valley as a whole, which had long suffered from the loss of a symbolic place of great historical and economic value.

Today, thanks to the passion and enterprise of Irma Sarasin, the elegant and imposing Hotel Le Prese has been returned to its former splendour more than a century after it first became a favourite destination of prominent Swiss and foreign holiday-makers and a discreet luxury retreat in which to revitalise body and mind. It has reopened in May 2013 its doors to both its former guests, offering the warm and welcoming atmosphere that they were accustomed to, and to new guests, who are guaranteed a memorable stay at a hotel that combines old-fashioned charm with modern comforts.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Ms. Sarasin for having given Hotel Le Prese a new lease of life, returning to the Poschiavo valley an important part of the valley’s history.

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