Phone booth for mobile calls

Is there a suitable place for the use of cell phones? The Hotel Waldhaus Sils in the Upper Engadine, once a popular meeting place for famous personalities such as Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Theodor Adorno and Elke Heidenreich, has found an interesting solution. Instead of allowing guests to use their cell phones everywhere, the grand hotel’s old telephone booths have been converted into special places where cell phones can be used.

Die alte Telefonkabine im Waldhaus ist heute Handy-Rückzugsort zum Wohle aller Gäste, die die Salons und vielen anderen Plätze im Haus zum Lesen, Spielen, Reden oder Denken nutzen möchten. Angenehme Zeiten, als das Telefon in einer eigenen Kabine verortet war und nicht in jedermanns Hosentasche / © Foto: Georg Berg
The old telephone booth in the Waldhaus is now a cell phone retreat for the benefit of all guests who want to use the lounges and many other places in the hotel to read, play, talk or think. Pleasant times when the telephone was located in its own booth and not in everyone’s pocket / © Photo: Georg Berg

Hotelier Urs Kienberger is of the opinion that cell phone use should not take place everywhere, but in a designated place. The luxury hotel offers plenty of space and each room has a specific function. The large windows, the decorated ceilings and the quiet murmur of conversations are thought-provoking. The Hotel Waldhaus Sils is not a place where you should just let life pass by as if it didn’t exist. In most of the rooms, people are allowed to interact, play or even argue in public.

Urs Kienberger erklärt die Besonderheiten des Traditionshotels Waldhaus Sils / © Foto: Georg Berg
Urs Kienberger explains the special features of the traditional Hotel Waldhaus Sils / © Photo: Georg Berg

Urs Kienberger wants to give guests the feeling that they are always in the right place at the Waldhaus. “You can read, use the computer, but a single person talking into the void on their cell phone distracts us too much and destroys the atmosphere.” For this reason, the now redundant telephone booths have been converted into cell phone booths.

Die Bibliothek: Wer mag wohl an diesen Tischen schon gelesen oder geschrieben haben? Elke Heidenreich kam in diesem Raum der Gedanke: Wie groß ist die Welt und wie still ist es hier“. Überhaupt das Thema Stille. Martin Mosebach schreibt „Das Weltende könnte stattfinden, und man würde davon im Walhaus erst eine Woche später erfahren, durch eine unaufgeregte Information des Portiers“ / © Foto: Georg Berg
The library: who might have been reading or writing at these tables? Elke Heidenreich had the thought in this room: “How big is the world and how quiet is it here?” / © Photo: Georg Berg

The hotel’s library also exudes a sense of calm where you can study or simply write postcards undisturbed. As a guest, you sense during your stay that it is more than just nostalgia when the various places and things retain their own meaning. When the pneumatic piano in front of the dining room plays a Nocturne by Frédéric Chopin, as it did a hundred years ago, you can forget all the playlists you usually surround yourself with.

Das pneumatische Klavier Welte Mignon im Traditionshotel Waldhaus Sils ist voll funktionsfähig. Ein Schrank voller perforierter Notenrollen bietet eine große Musikauswahl / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Welte Mignon pneumatic piano in the traditional Hotel Waldhaus Sils is fully functional / © Photo: Georg Berg
Das pneumatische Klavier Welte Mignon im Traditionshotel Waldhaus Sils ist voll funktionsfähig. Ein Schrank voller perforierter Notenrollen bietet eine große Musikauswahl / © Foto: Georg Berg
The cabinet full of perforated music rolls offers a large selection of music / © Photo: Georg Berg

Nietzsche’s prophecies and timeless wisdom

As early as the end of the 19th century, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spent his summers between 1880 and 1888 in Sils Maria, a community in the Swiss Alps that captivated him irrevocably. Even then, he predicted modern chaos: the will to power, the weakness of truth and the inversion of values.

Eine Auswahl an Zeitungen hängt an ihren Spannern in der Bibliothek des Traditionshotels Waldhaus Sils / © Foto: Georg Berg
How much longer will we be able to hear the rustling of newsprint? / © Photo: Georg Berg

It is not only with its special use of telephone booths and the deliberate creation of places for certain activities that the Hotel Waldhaus Sils pursues an interesting concept. It reminds us that sometimes it is important to consciously distance ourselves from modern technology and appreciate the beauty of simple things.

Experience simplicity on Robinson Crusoe Day

Robinson Crusoe Day, celebrated every year on February 1, encourages us to explore and appreciate life without modern technology in every place. Inspired by the protagonist of Daniel Defoe’s novel, this day is a chance to reflect on what it is like to live without modern technology.

Detailed report on the Waldhaus Sils in the Engadin

The hotel did not charge for half board during the research stay

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