Thanks to its illustrious guests from the British royal family, Klosters is renowned around the world as a holiday destination. What is almost forgotten: The American High Society from film, music, theatre and literature came and went from here as far back as the 1950s. So much so, that the village gained the title "Hollywood on the Rocks".
What is it that makes holiday destinations stylish, cosmopolitan, elegant? And who is responsible for the fascinating atmosphere that surrounds holiday classics such as Klosters, Monte Carlo and St. Tropez? The answer is simple: The guests. They are the life and soul of every holiday destination. And they are responsible for the unique atmosphere that has radiated from Klosters since the early 1950s.
At that time, the successful American screenwriter Peter Viertel was commissioned by a Swiss film producer with writing a screenplay and quickly moved to accommodation in Davos - far from the lures of the big city and a good 60 years before the local director Marc Forster attracted the attention of Hollywood.
Irwin Shaw with the singer and actress Juliette Gréco in the restaurant at Hotel Chesa Grischuna
Peter Viertel and Irwin Shaw
To pass the time, Viertel learned to ski and in doing so discovered Klosters, which had previously been chosen as a holiday destination by the renowned war photographer Robert Capa . This soon grew into a great love of the resort, which he developed together with his friend and writer Irwin Shaw ("The Young Lions", "Rich Man, Poor Man") into "Hollywood on the Rocks".
Extract from the guest book of Hotel Chesa Grischuna with a dedication from Gene Kelly.
Hollywood as a guest of Klosters
Its reputation drew famous stars such as Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Yul Brynner, Lauren Bacall, Greta Garbo. Gene Kelly, who danced on the tables in the hotel bar of the legendary Hotel Chesa Grischuna. Rex Harrison, who discussed his musical notes for "My Fair Lady" with the hotel pianist. And Deborah Kerr, who married Peter Viertel in 1960 in Klosters. They all came, the stars of the American culture scene.
Brits and Americans characterised the holiday resort
During the time of "Hollywood on the Rocks", many British and American guests moved to Klosters, and made their second home here. They characterised the style and atmosphere of the holiday village for decades, and their children are still doing it to this day. A visit to the Chesa Bar or the Dancing Casa Antica during the winter season are enough to be gripped by this magical ambience. However, ideally you should only dance on the tables if you possess the talent of Gene Kelly...
A contemporary insight into these exciting times in Klosters is provided by the guest book of Hotel Chesa Grischuna
. Many stars of the time eternalised their pleasure at their time spent in Klosters in the book. The Grisons style of the hotel continues to radiate with charm from the 1950s - a jewel that is also a member of the "Swiss Historic Hotels".
Peter Viertel, who has since passed away, described his "Hollywood-on-the-Rocks" time in his autobiography "Dangerous Friends". The New York Times acclaimed the book in 1992 with the following words:
"Remarkably well connected and a formidable bon vivant in his own right, Mr. Viertel has tales to tell about anything from Ava Gardner's kidney stones to a Parisian bartender who counted Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald among his patrons. But the calibre of these anecdotes has as wide a range as Mr. Viertel's nomadic travels in the 1950s, which took him to Cuba with Ernest Hemingway, to Ireland and Africa with John Huston, to Spain with the renowned bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin and Orson Welles, and to Klosters, Switzerland, with all the luminaries who earned that ski resort the nickname Hollywood on the Rocks."
The book is available from stockists in English and German.
"I'm Singing in the rain", Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly's legendary performance - in preparation for the next visit to the Chesa bar.