The early history of the Hotel du Golf

This is a memo written in October 7th, 1980. Tom Bloomer sent it to the base leadership team in Lausanne, Switzerland, after a conversation with the former owner of the Hotel, Mme André.

I thought you might like to know that in a conversation we had with Mme André a couple of days following M. Blanc’s death, she shared with us quite a bit about the early history of the hotel.

Some of these stories should perhaps be discounted a bit as particularly the personality details may not be 100% true. Also, Mme André’s memory for details is not what it used to be.

In any case, the hotel was built in 19O3 by a sausage butcher who had an inheritance from his mother. Apparently he was a man who was rather rude to his guests and it did not work out very well. After about 30 years the bank, Credit Foncier Vaudois, took over the hotel because he could not make the payments on the mortgage. This was in 1933-34 and the value of the hotel at that time was estimated at SFr. 80,000.

At this time they also completely redid the hotel. It was then that the running water was installed and Mme André said that everything was very well done. It ceased being a rustic type place and became more of an upscale type establishment.

Madame André arrived in 1934 to be the manager of the hotel. At that time she was Mme Cottier and she and her husband took over the place. In 1935 they built the garage. In this pre war period there were quite a number of distinguished visitors, some of whom still return here to visit the place and to see Mme André.

Back then the French franc was strong against the Swiss one, so there were Parisians, Americans and all kinds of guests. Many apparently came because the golf course nearby was one of the first ones in this part of Europe where you could play without having to be a member.

In 1948 the annex was rebuilt; it had been a chicken house and a laundry, but at this time the apartment and rooms were put in.

In 1957 Mme André bought the hotel with a mortgage from the Credit Foncier Vaudois, however she sold it just three years later in 1960 to Gaston & Trudy Hubert for 400,000 Swiss Francs. The Hubert’s redid it at this time, installing the indoor toilets. The rooms which are now toilets on the first and second floors used to be housing rooms. We rented the hotel from Mme Hubert in 1969, on condition that we take in the hotel guests who had already booked. Then we bought it from her a couple years later.

Mme André was in charge of the hotel for 36 years and lived in Room 1, which is at present the bathroom on the first floor to the left. She said, “A general always needs to be with his troops!” and I imagine she ran a pretty tight organization. Here is the list she gave me of the hotel staff as it existed in the 1930’s: 1 farmer, 1 secretary, I barman, 2 waiters, 1 chef, I assistant chef, and chamber maids hired from the area. She paid the princely wage of 5O centimes per hour to the maids (mostly farmer’s wives) and had the reputation of being able to get her money’s worth (however, we must remember of course the Swiss Franc was worth a lot more then than now, so it is difficult to compare these figures with those we know today).

Where we used to have the printing machine, and what is now our pantry now, used to be the ice storage place of the hotel. They would keep the ice down there during the summer because it was the coolest place, being under the stairs on the north side. Also, Mme André has complimented us on how the place has looked and said that many of her former clients when returning to see her have mentioned that the building looks really nice.

One American was there when both of his dogs died, and she gave him permission to bury them between the two linden trees in front of the main building. When he heard that we had bought the property, he immediately called her to make sure that their burial place wasn’t going to be disturbed.

When the plumbing system was upgraded a few years ago, trenches were dug through the front lawn and a thick layer of charcoal was plainly visible. So there used to be a large wooden building on the present site, which makes sense because it is on the corner of two very old roads. There is no record in the cantonal archives of what this building was.

Whatever was there before, I believe it was a place of unanswered prayers . . . because that would be the reason that the Lord sent Loren and Darlene to that spot to start out first YWAM training center.

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