26 May 2017, text: Linda Zampieri, photo: Marc-Dave Maier
The sun is shining in a clear, blue sky. There is still snow from the last snowfall at the end of April on the Churfirsten. On this Tuesday, 16 May 2017, there is quite a hustle and bustle in Berghotel Schönhalden: a lot of paragliders are on the go and several hikers and mountain bikers have also ventured up here. The phone rings every now and then and announces the arrival of another cableway. Only a bit of charred wood beside the play area hints at the turbulent time the Flury family experienced. “I could see from a long way away that the entire roof was in flames,” Reto Flury remembers two years after the horrible fire in April 2015. At the time, it quickly became clear that the hotel could not be saved.
Heavy equipment levelled the burnt-out ruins to the ground . Now, two years later, the Berghotel Schönhalden on Flumser Kleinberg has opened again. “It turned out even better than we thought,” Reto Flury raves at his new favourite spot with a view of the peaks of the Churfirsten. There is a total of 14 rooms in the hotel – 13 double rooms and 1 family room. All of them have televisions and Wi-Fi. “The last month was pretty tough,” Reto Flury reminisces. “The workmen hardly left the building.” Apart from a couple of details, however, the hotel is finished and ready for guests. “Above all, we still need to decorate the rooms and hang up some pictures. But there was simply no time for that,” Priska Flury adds.
In the middle of May, the reopening was celebrated with an official aperitif for the authorities for the first time. There will also be an opening celebration for the general public mid-June. “In retrospect, the disaster also had some positive effects. Now we were able to make everything we wanted for a long time a reality – like a bar,” Reto Flury says happily. It is clear that the two of them have “arrived”. During the two-year construction period, the Flurys lived down in the valley. Priska Flury worked as a saleswoman in a petrol station and Reto Flury as a cook. “It wasn’t an easy time, but of course we managed somehow,” Priska Flury recounts. “But we are relieved to finally be back up here. We never want to live down there again.”
Markus Lazzeri, damage expert at Helvetia’s head office in St. Gallen, assisted the Flury family from the day of the fire to the reopening. “Something like a friendship developed during that time,” says Reto Flury. “We are really thankful to Helvetia. Without their generous financial support, we would not be where we are today.” Markus Lazzeri is also pleased: “From start to finish everything really went off without a hitch and without major complications.”
Now, after the initial excitement, Reto and Priska Flury have to get their bearings in everyday life. The many hikers and bikers who have stopped by today seem completely satisfied, at any rate. And that’s no wonder with this view!
Markus Lazzeri is a damage expert at Helvetia’s head office in St. Gallen. He helped the Flury family deal with insurance questions until their new building was built.