The ICOMOS Award

ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, in partnership with GastroSuisse, hotelleriesuisse and Switzerland Tourism, bestowed an award on "Hotel International au Lac" in Lugano, Ticino. Hotel International au Lac in Lugano was recognised "for the conservation and presentation of its hotel archive and for its corporate philosophy as a century-old family-run business".

The establishments that receive these awards are as different as the people who run them. Though there is something that the businesses and the people behind the scenes always have in common: the enormous passion and care with which they maintain and run their venerable hotel or restaurant. This is by no means a given.

The ICOMOS prize

ICOMOS stands for "International Council on Monuments and Sites". ICOMOS is the only global professional organisation to involve all vocations related to the preservation of cultural heritage, including monument conservationists, archaeologists, restorers, conservators and architects. ICOMOS works with UNESCO and serves as its expert commission offering advice on the inscription of new properties on the World Heritage List. ICOMOS promotes the protection, professional restoration and conservation of monuments and sites – based on the International Charter for the Protection and Management of the Archaeological Heritage adopted by ICOMOS. Among its many tasks, ICOMOS is responsible for cataloguing and fundamental scientific research, specialist trades, as well as sharing experiences and ideas. The national group, ICOMOS Switzerland, was founded in 1966 and now has around 200 members.

The award for historic hotels and restaurants was launched in Lucerne and – with GastroSuisse as an additional partner – was presented for the first time the next year, in 1997.

Principles for the ICOMOS award

The most important principle behind our award is, quite simply: "The award shall be presented to hotel or restaurant owners who maintain and run their buildings in accordance with the principles of historic preservation". The jury – comprising representatives from ICOMOS as well as professional organisations and with bonus support from three experts (hotelier, architect, historian) – evaluates the entire building complex including all individual buildings, the surroundings and the interior. One important evaluation criterion is the way in which historic aspects are incorporated into the company's philosophy and used in its marketing. The winner is announced once a year in September for the following year.

Extract from a speech by Peter Omachen, President of the ICOMOS jury, September 2016