Black and white image of man with a crow on his shoulder
Sir Alfred Hitchcock; Alamy

In honour of Hitchcock

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Hitchcock’s The Birds, Badrutt’s Palace is offering movie fans the chance to follow in the director’s footsteps this summer

Badrutt’s Palace has attracted many famous and glamorous guests over its history, but perhaps none was more influenced by the legendary St. Moritz hotel and its dazzling Alpine setting than the great filmmaker Sir Alfred Hitchcock, who wrote his cinematic masterpiece The Birds while staying here. Sixty years on from the release of the film in 1963, Badrutt’s Palace is offering film fans a special break during summer 2023 in his honour.

The Birds is loosely based on the novella of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, and focuses on unexplained and violent bird attacks on the people of a coastal town in California, US. The movie helped to cement Hitchcock’s reputation as the ‘Master of Suspense’, with audiences drawn by the innovative techniques he employed to build tension, from camera angles to ensuring that spectators knew more than the characters.

Man in suit with a bird on his head and two on his arms
Hitchcock in a promotional shot for The Birds, 1963, which he directed

Holidays to remember

Hitchcock had a strong bond with Badrutt’s Palace, first visiting it in 1924 when he was working as a young assistant director on The Prude’s Fall. The five-star family-run hotel and the town of St. Moritz made a huge impression on him, and he came back two years later for his honeymoon with his new bride Alma Reville, staying in Suite 501 at Badrutt’s Palace. He returned to the same room a further 36 times, spending Christmases, birthdays and anniversaries here with his wife and daughter Patricia.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the release of The Birds, movie fans have the chance to enjoy a very special Hitchcock-inspired break at Badrutt’s Palace this summer 2023, staying in the exclusive Alfred Hitchcock Suite (or Suite 501), where he penned The Birds. From the windows of the suite, it is said that the regular sightings of alpine choughs flying over St. Moritz spurred him to adapt Daphne du Maurier’s story for the screen.

Guests who book this special package will arrive at the hotel in Hitchcock’s accustomed style – a chauffeur-driven 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom, formerly owned by the British royal family. After checking into their suite, they will be invited to pay homage to the director with a bottle of champagne, two vintage cigars from the 1960s and two Hitch-Cocktails in the hotel’s legendary Renaissance Bar, where the director himself once enjoyed them. Diehard fans can also enjoy a bottle of 1947 Chateau Ausone from Saint-Emilion or a similar wine rarity (subject to availability), just as Hitchcock would have done when he stayed at the five-star establishment.

Black and white photo of man with cigar and his wife
Hitchcock with his wife Alma Reville in 1956; Alamy

Enchanted by the location

It is easy to appreciate why the filmmaker was so dazzled by the magic and grandeur of Badrutt’s Palace. Hitchcock loved strolling through the marble floored Le Grand Hall lobby, known as ‘the catwalk of St. Moritz’, where other Hollywood star guests of the time included Gregory Peck, Marlene Dietrich and Audrey Hepburn. A renowned gourmand, the director was also partial to the hotel’s gourmet cuisine and the large wine cellar, which he liked to explore.

His sociable nature also drew him to the many legendary parties held at the hotel, particularly the annual New Year’s Eve Gala. He also famously attended the 60th birthday bash for Marlene Dietrich, star of Hitchcock’s 1950 thriller Stage Fright, held at Badrutt’s Palace on 27 December 1961.

During his many visits, the Hitchcocks formed a strong relationship with the hotel’s owners Anikò and Hansjürg Badrutt, enjoying many lunches and dinners in their company. “He liked the exceptional service and quickly became a good friend of the Badrutt family,” explains Richard Leuenberger, Managing Director at Badrutt’s Palace.

View of a lake and mountains from hotel terrace
The stunning scenery from Badrutt’s Palace, which Hitchcock so admired

A view to inspire

During his visits to St. Moritz, Hitchcock admitted to having no interest in skiing, skating or sledging (although he did enjoy his winter walks), having famously once remarked: “I am a devotee of winter sports from a distance.” He also once told an interviewer: “I just like sitting in my hotel room and looking at the snow.”

But the hotel and magical surroundings inspired him in other ways. As well as writing The Birds during one of his stays, the hotel also influenced his 1934 spy thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much, which was partly set in St. Moritz.

It is easy to imagine Hitchcock sitting at his desk in front of the large windows of Suite 501, looking out onto the mountains and writing The Birds. As he once told Bunte Illustrierte, the German illustrated weekly: “Nearly every villain stubbornly sticks to his methods. I am also stubborn – in my recreation. I returned to Badrutt’s Palace regularly for 36 years, and every time to the same room. I love the view from the balcony.”

The exclusive ‘The Birds – Alfred Hitchcock Suite Package’ is available during the 2023 summer season and can be booked here.

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