The rapid Reuss river has always been an obstacle that was virtually impossible to conquer on the way over the Gotthard Pass. The first bridge in the Schöllenen gorge was built in around 1200. Legend has it that the bridge was built by the devil. However, because the locals failed to do what they had promised in return, the devil is said to have thrown a massive stone at the bridge, which he missed. The stone, weighing an incredible 220 tons, can be found today near Göschenen.
Thanks to the road over the Gotthard pass and stagecoaches, Andermatt became a traffic hub between the cantons of Uri and Ticino in the nineteenth century. In 1872, the Hotel Bellevue opened and was to ring in the age of Andermatt being an Alpine tourist destination. Over the following ten years, people could breathe in the healthy mountain air here and enjoy the luxury. But this idyll was to be short-lived. With the opening of the Gotthard railway tunnel in 1882, the village was bypassed, which put an end to tourism. However, this interlude was brief and Andermatt became a garrison town in 1885 when the infrastructure for the High Command of the Swiss Army was put in place in the event of war. Its status as a national defence centre was to shape the area around Andermatt for the following 100 years.
Andermatt was one of the first Alpine regions in Switzerland to have a ski lift built – in 1937. The lift travelled from Nätschen up to the Stöckli. When Bernhard Russi from Andermatt won Olympic gold in Sapporo in 1972, Andermatt became a skiing region that was known throughout the world. The development of the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun will open up new dimensions for fans of winter sports.
The idea of creating an extensive reservoir in the Urseren valley for the production of energy was a major threat for the region. The locals successfully protested twice (in 1920 and 1946) against this major project. The scale of this kind of flooding is massive; today this would mean that the entire valley from Andermatt to Realp would be completely covered in water. The reservoir in Marmorera shows just what the Gotthard region has managed to escape.
Andermatt achieved world fame as a location in the probably most famous James Bond film "Goldfinger" starring Sean Connery. The scene lasts three minutes: James Bond stops at a petrol station in his Aston Martin to pick up Bond girl Tania Mallet and then drives over the Oberalp pass. The inconspicuous petrol station is still there today and many a motorist stops here to experience the feeling of being James Bond for a second.
After the closing of the Gotthard fortress, there were great deliberations about what to do with the area in and around Andermatt. Egyptian entrepreneur Samih Sawiris came on board as a consultant, which was a stroke of luck. His experience in the development of sustainable all-year tourist destinations got the ball rolling. After first drafts and concrete plans, the necessary changes to the zoning plan were approved wholeheartedly by the local council in 2007.
The vision became reality and on 31 August 2010 celebrations took place as the cornerstone of The Chedi Andermatt five-star deluxe hotel was laid. The first villa and various apartment buildings followed. On 6 December 2013, The Chedi Andermatt was opened in a resounding celebration.
The Chedi Andermatt brings refined and unique Asian flavours to Switzerland's highest-altitude Japanese restaurant.