Reto Gurtner




Defying the Norm

Reto Gurtner loves to challenge people’s concept of what is possible, which is not easy when you come from the tradition-minded Swiss Alps. Always on the cutting edge of culture and an early adapter in business—he started Switzerland’s first travel website and opened that country’s first Internet café—Gurtner loves to challenge the norms of the hospitality industry. A classic example is his rocksresort in Laax, Switzerland, one of the most original and innovative mixed-used hotel/condo complexes in the world. Here, your room key card is embedded with a radio transmitter so that it doubles as your ski lift ticket, while predictable Swiss chalet balconies are nowhere to be found. “When you have a balcony, you tend to stay home more,” he notes. “I want people socializing and communicating.” The following comment about his against-the-grain look and approach at rocksresort perfectly sums up all of Reto Gurtner’s business successes, which also include a hospitality venture that specifically targeted young people with functional, affordable, and ecological accommodations: “At first, everyone thought I was crazy. A lot of the people were against it. But when it was done, they all changed their minds. The reaction has been really great.”

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