SWISS HISTORIC HOTEL DU PILLON
In the absence of documents from the period (only an invoice log dated from 30.08.1927 to24.07.1928 ), here's what we've been able to gather:
It was built around 1873 / 1875, there were 3 hotels like this one:
- the 1st was built in 1856: the Grand Hôtel des Diablerets, which gave its name to the village.it burned down in 1956 and was rebuilt in the now unfashionable style of the sixties, and converted intoapartments in 2006.
- the 2 nd , the Hotel Victoria, was destroyed and rebuilt in the sixties style under the name Eurotel Victoria.
- and the 3 rd , Hotel du Pillon, the last of this era's style. It was built on the old road leading to the Col duPillon, hence the name Hotel du Pillon, where stagecoaches used to stop,
"The hotel could accommodate around 50 guests and enjoyed its heyday around 1900. Literary andmusical evenings were held here, and small theatrical plays were staged. It was bought by the ClubRambert around 1948, and from then on was known as : La Gentiane".(except from the book Ormont Dessus, la vallée des Ormonts, page 285).
It was owned until its closure in 1942 by Madame Célina Piguet-Perrochon due to World War 2,when tourism in the Swiss mountains, especially by the English, came to a halt.
It was purchased on December 28, 1948 by Club Rambert under the name of Association La Gentiane,Maison de vacances Unionistes, to host families for summer and winter holidays.
From 1948 to around 1962,it was used in winter as the Internat Ménager des Alpes Vaudoises, well-bred local girls came here to learn how to be good wives.It was also used by the army in 1985.
From around 1968 to 1988, in summer and sometimes winter, the Bauquier family from Nimes rented itto Club Rambert to take groups of Nimes residents on vacation.
Purchased on October 10, 1990 by the Val d'Or company under the name La Gentiane - Les Bovets, S.A. itwas leased among others, to the Red Cross to accommodate refugees.
Following the bankruptcy of Val d'Or, which was unable to complete its hotel projects, the 3 old nearby chalets which were part of the original Hotel du Pillon property were sold off successively in 1993 and 1997.
Bought back on December 3, 1998 by Mr. André Michel, who began light renovations and reopened it as a B&B under the name of Angel House, later reverting to its name of La Gentiane.
Purchased on May 14, 2007 on a loving impulse by Francis Barlier, who decided to revive this magnificent building, which has been in a state of flux ever since it was closed down due to the war in 1942. Since that date, it has had no maintenance whatsoever, and was in such a deplorable state that it was almost destroyed.
The hotel reverted to its original name, Hotel du Pillon.
In 2007, during its renovation in the style of yesteryear, it was refurnished with antique furnishings but modern comforts. Today, the Hotel du Pillon is gradually regaining its former glory, much to the delight ofthe village of Les Diablerets and its new guests and customers.
The aim is to turn it into a charming little hotel where you can enjoy a nostalgic past.In 2009, it was selected as one of the Typically Swiss Hotels and made the launch page of the 24H Vaud et Régions on 24 February 2009. It has appearsin reports on press and television, notably Le Temps, weekend of 31 July 2010.Gastrosuisse chose it for its 2013 catalogue cover.In 2011, the renovation work was largely completed and the Hotel du Pillon was accepted into the Relais du Silence group and awarded 3 stars by Hôtellerie Suisse.In the course of our historical research, we found old postcards of the Hotel du Pillon and testimonials from the period. The curator of the Musée des Ormonts, Marie-Claude Busset, is alsodoing some research.Older than the Gstaad Palace, it too was built high above the village for its panoramic view.To create bathrooms in each room, we needed 3 old rooms to make 2 with private bathrooms.Following this restoration, which enabled the hotel to become a 3 - star-hotel, the number of rooms wasreduced from 36 to 14 guest rooms and a large seminar room was installed on the 3rd floor.With 3 stars, the minimum standard for inclusion in the selection of Swiss Historic Hotels of Hôtellerie Suisse, the Hotel du Pillon was admitted in 2012.Following these renovation works, and the administrative enquiry in 2011, the cantonal authoritiesrequired compliance with the new fire standards, in the absence of agreement between the parties.In October 2021 it was closed by mistake by the Police du Commerce.It took 6 months to reopen after time needed for a new enquiry.A dubious misunderstanding on the part of the Vaud administration had almost led to its demise.
- 1864, cadastral survey: the hotel did not exist yet.
- 1868: arrival of the carriage road to Les Diablerets
- 1865 -1872 (?): construction of the "Hirondelles" summer boarding house by Jean-Nicolas Félix Schneiter
- 1872 (Nov-Dec): fire at the Les Hirondelles guesthouse
- 1873-74-75? : the building is rebuilt as the Hôtel du Pillon
- 1897: the hotel is put up for sale
- 1917, 16 March: purchase of the hotel by Mrs Perrrochon-Denéréaz for 65,000 francs
- 1945: bought by the Club Rambert, which changed the name of the hotel to "La Gentiane".