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The story of Leo Trippi
1857 - 1882Leo Trippi was born into the world of hospitality in 1882 in Samedan, a tiny village close to St.Moritz. He grew up being surrounded by a family of hoteliers and pioneers of tourism in the St.Moritz region.
Out of three siblings, Leo Trippi was always predestined to take over the management of the family hotel in Pontresina, which was founded by his father in 1857 and was run by his mother Hortensia during extremely challenging years. First, he needed to complete his education to fully equip him for this career path. In the absence of a reputable hotelier school in Switzerland or an MBA course in tourism management, Leo Trippi left Switzerland to study economy and commerce in Leipzig, Germany. Appreciating the value of speaking international languages, Leo studied French and English in Neuchâtel, Germany and England.
1907In early 1900, Leo Trippi met and fell in love with Betty Stoppany. In 1904, Leo and Betty returned home to the Engadine valley. The young couple wanted to start a family, but Leo’s parents were concerned that their family hotel in Pontresina, which at the time only opened in summer, would not generate sufficient income to support two families. Accordingly, the couple decided to move to Frankfurt, Germany and to work in a small hotel. However, being unhappy in Frankfurt, Leo moved to Italy to be the secretary of the Grand Hotel Villa Politi in Sicily.
In 1906, Leo got married to Betty and soon thereafter his daughter, also named Betty, was born. The young couple continued to live in Sicily. In 1907, through hard work and good fortune, Leo Trippi was offered the opportunity to acquire the Grand Hôtel des Temples in Sicily, Italy. With hotels in their blood, the relatives in Switzerland helped as best they could to fund this strategic investment.
1913By 1913, the Leo Trippi dynasty grew to four hotels, three in Pontresina, Switzerland and the Grand Hôtel in Sicily, Italy. The Grand Hôtel des Temples soon gained a reputation for its luxury and, more importantly, its atmosphere of a home away from home. Leo rejoiced in accommodating guests from the best families in Europe. Prince Leopold of Bayern, the Prince and Princess of Siam, Prince Heinrich von Hohenzollern; all returned to the Grand Hôtel, time after time, as Leo Trippi was living his passion of being the best possible hotelier.
1914 - 1919In August 1914, soon after the start of World War I, Leo Trippi and his family moved back to Switzerland, as he had to perform his military service. The future of the Grand Hôtel was uncertain and Leo had to leave this prized property with the hope of returning to Sicily one day. To make matters worse, tourism in Pontresina came to a complete standstill overnight. Suddenly, Leo Trippi, his family and their recently prosperous hotel business, were on the verge of bankruptcy. However, through strong will and sheer determination, the family managed to reopen their hotels shortly after the end of the war in 1918.
Leo Trippi, his wife, daughters and three year old son returned to Sicily. Leo Trippi reopened the Grand Hôtel des Temples in 1919 with immediate success due to its international clientele. However, the hotels in Pontresina continued to struggle due to their dependence on German clientele, which was at an all time low as a result of the post-war depression and deflation in Germany.
During the next few years, the tourism industry in Switzerland improved and by 1922 the Leo Trippi family managed to put the worst of their financial difficulties behind them.
1926 - 1945In 1926, Leo Trippi took over the management of the family hotels in Pontresina. He spent the summers in Pontresina and the winters in Sicily. By this time, Leo Trippi’s Grand Hôtel, was a famous and world class hotel. “Marketed” through word of mouth, it became the honeymoon destination of the Prince of Paris and Princess of France. Not surprisingly, in 1932, the Swiss federal president Giuseppe Motta, stayed with Leo Trippi during his travels in Sicily.
Leo Trippi’s flourishing hotel business was brought to a halt in 1939 by the start of World War II. As a result of the War, Leo Trippi, like most of the hoteliers in Switzerland, lost all of his properties to the banks. Despite every effort, a second prolonged period of no income and worldwide deflation did not come to pass for Leo Trippi and his familty’s hotel business.
The Grand Hôtel was occupied by Italian, German and eventually American troops during World War II. The hotels in Pontresina were sold to Schweizerische Volksbank (now Credit Suisse), operated by different hoteliers from Pontresina and eventually bought by the Club Med in 1977.
In 1943, Leo Trippi became Switzerland’s military attaché in Rome, Italy, in acknowledgement of the impact he made in Italian society during his years as owner of the Grand Hôtel.
When World War II was over, the Hotel des temples reopened between 1945 and 1950 as a shelter for homeless instead of a touristic accommodation. The hotel in Sicily was not lost to a bank as the hotel properties in Switzerland. For the lack of a right successor, the Grand Hotel des Temples was sold in 1954 by his daughter to the regional Government of Sicily.
1952 - presentLeo Trippi died in 1952 in Zürich, leaving behind the legacy of one of the great hoteliers of his time...
… and after more than half a century, a descendant of the Family Trippi has rediscovered this legacy by founding Leo Trippi Sàrl.
Leo Trippi Sàrl, which carries the Trippi family emblem as part of its logo, is today continuing the long standing tradition of serving international travellers with the most exclusive and luxurious retreats, destinations and holiday experiences.