Emil Durrer and his vision of his own hotel
Emil Durrer was born in Kerns in Mühlematt on 24 January 1873. His godfather and uncle was the legendary hotel entrepreneur and railway builder Franz Josef Bucher-Durrer, from whom Emil inherited his great passion for the hotel trade.
Emil trained as a carpenter and worked for his godfather in the hotel trade on the Bürgenstock. Later on he worked for the company Bucher-Durrer abroad - for example in Genoa. During the periods spent abroad he gained vital experience in the construction, maintenance and operation of hotels.
Pleasure and relaxation
Everything turned out well, however, and Hotel Honegg opened in 1906 with 72 beds. The guests were collected at the mountain-top station of the Bürgenstock cable car by horse and carriage, later in the hotel limousine. Guests travelling by car from Ennetbürgen took the narrow road up to Honegg. Hotel guests came from all over the world and stayed for three to four weeks, in some cases the whole summer. They were looked after by between 15 and 18 hotel staff.
Emil also built the connecting route from Hotel Honegg to the new trail, the Felsenweg. To the great pleasure of the guests, the popular summer hotel had its own tennis course as well as range of other game facilities. At that time, boules, croquet and billiards were an integral part of a perfect vacation. The hotel was supplied with agricultural products such as milk and cheese by the surrounding farms of Honegg.
Ice cubes the size of tree trunks
Operations had not been entirely discontinued at Hotel Honegg, however. On cold days, ice was prepared for cooling purposes. Ice production was carried out on the hotel forecourt. For this purpose, tree trunks were laid out on the ground in a parallel formation, approximately 20 cm apart. At low temperatures, water was sprayed between the trunks which then froze. The ice blocks that formed were stored in the cellar, and the ice could be used throughout the entire summer season.
Family business over three generations
In 1923, Emil Durrer-Traxler had an accident while renovating the facade of Hotel Honegg. He fell while standing on the scaffolding to do painting work and on 3 October 1923 he died as a result of injuries sustained. His wife Louise Durrer-Traxler continued to run the hotel after his death. She had completed professional training and was an experienced hôtelière.
Later, Louise handed over management of the hotel to her son Karl Durrer-Züger. Hotel Honegg was a typical family business and most of the siblings were involved in working there: Anna and Karl in the office, Maria, Elisabeth and Theres in service. Karl took care of hotel maintenance, too. He was also in charge of the old-age pension and disability insurance department in Kerns. The hotel staff were from the surrounding area, mainly from the owner family’s local community of Kerns. Later on the grandchildren helped during the holidays, too.
Honegg in a bright new look
In 1977 the family business of Hotel Honegg was sold to Frey AG Mattgrat. However, plans to build a health centre failed due to a lack of funding. Later the hotel was used as film set.
Since 2007 the hotel has been in private ownership and was re-opened in May 2011 after renovation work lasting several years.