Since 1906, 4 Generations


A more than a century long history


Early 1882, the opening of the S.Gotthard railway tunnel, brought a great flow of tourists and a remarkable increase of hotel activity in Lugano.

In 1905, the well-known hoteliers from Lucerne Anton Disler and Albert Riedweg, owners of the hotels Rütli and Cécile in Lucerne, decided to open a branch in the south of the Alps.

They bought the three-floor-building, located at the end of Via Nassa, once headquarter of the diocesan seminary, between the church “Chiesa degli Angioli” and the bishop’s residence at that time.

After a full renovation of the building in 1906, the owners opened the five storey hotel “International-au-Lac”, with 80 bedrooms furnished with porcelain jugs, a restaurant, a library with reading-lounge and a garden on two terraces.

Twenty-three years later, the wedded pair Otto Schmid and Alice Disler, daughter of the founder, took the lead of the hotel “International-au-Lac”. Although she was left a widow in 1953, she kept on managing the hotel for 60 years, until spring 1990 when she passed away.

In 1957 the third generation joined the business: son Giulio Schmid (1933-2016). After studying at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne and working at some of the most prestigious hotels in London and St Moritz, he managed the hotel with the invaluable help of his wife Béatrice Schmid-Mollinet (1943-2014).

Their marriage led to the birth of Alessandra (1970, married name Besomi), who joined the business in 1994, and Roberto (1975), who, after graduating from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, began his career with Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts until 2004, when he decided to return to Lugano to help his parents and, a few years later, take over management of the hotel.

The hotel is constantly renewed: in the sixties, all bedrooms were equipped with bathrooms.

In 1991, after the extension of the pedestrian area and because of the lack of parking space in Lugano, a garage with 36 indoor lots was built behind the building exclusively for customers.

This important investment definitively improved the offered facilities. The dining-room was remodeled and the garden was adorned with a modern swimming pool, in order to offer to the customers a green oasis of quietness and amusement in the middle of the city.

In 1999, air conditioning was installed in many bedrooms and the “Blues Bar” was built in the hall, so called for its collection of photos autographed by artists, who stayed in the hotel.

In 2001, the main entrance and the reception area together with the elevator were completely renewed.

In spring 2003, in order to improve the offered services, the modern meeting room “Granito” was built and also carpets, parquet, wall-papers and curtains of the bedrooms were replaced year after year.

Thanks to the help and support of the 4th generation of the daughter Alessandra and the son Roberto, who decided both to follow the work of their predecessors, the hotel “International-au-Lac” could keep up with the guests’ demands and requirements. For this reason, the hotel International au lac is considered one of the most renowned of the city of Lugano, accommodating guests from all over the world.

Hotel International au Lac, Lugano
Fam. Schmid, propr. dir.

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