It was in the 1850s that François Couttet, high mountain guide, started accommodating clients in his own house. The house offered a unique cosy and friendly experience that was very appreciated by the tourists, especially the British ones.
The positive feedback received from the clients prompted François Couttet to build a hostel. Therefore, the Hotel-Pension Couttet was inaugurated in 1867 and its immediate success inspired Mr Couttet to build le Grand Hotel Couttet, which was inaugurated 10 or 15 years later.
The hotel met its glory days between 1920-1935. As expected, the wars affected the hotel, which led to its closure in 1946.
Later, the buildings were used as a preventorium (a hospital where tuberculosis patients were treated). The preventorium closed in 1970.
The rejuvenation of the Couttet hotel
Nowadays, the buildings, which had not been used for many decades, belong to the municipality of Chamonix.
On October 22nd, the city council of Chamonix has decided to turn the old buildings into a five-star hotel.
Paris Inn Group is the name of the company which should be responsible for the rehabilitation and operation of the "Hôtel du Couttet" for the next 50 years.
The company will rehabilitate the three buildings and will also build an annexe to house the spa.
The municipality of Chamonix will remain the owner of the Couttet buildings and is expected to collect 25 millions of euros in royalties at the end of the concession period.
However, unanimity regarding the project was not secured. The opposition counsellors argue that there are already enough five-stars hotels in Chamonix and that the new hotel will bring rich tourists from afar and thus will increase the carbon footprint.