Almost sixty years of passion… Three stories of devotion…
A SHARED DREAM
The adventure of a visionary couple dreaming of making their project come true…
The story of Hotel La Perla began in the early 1960s in Sant’Antonino, a village on the left bank of the Ticino, partly on the Magadino plain, reclaimed around 1930, and partly on the slopes of the mountain range that crosses the valley.
The actual birth of the municipality – located on the slopes of the so-called “Motto del sole”, precisely because it hides the sun for a month or more in winter – took place between 1820 and 1825, even though this municipality has roots that go back to Roman times.
An important date in the history of Hotel La Perla is 1962, when Guido Bassi decided to marry Brigitte and build their own house where they opened a restaurant at the same time. Until then, Guido lived in his father’s house (right next to the present hotel), where his mother Delfina ran the “Grotto Cappella”: a very modest and unpretentious country inn, intended as a supplementary business to the farm, where Guido devoted a few years after graduating from the Langenthal agricultural school.
In 1963, the “La Perla Restaurant with Accommodation” finally opened its doors. A visionary decision, because in a few years the municipality would have strong population growth, leading to a tripling of the number of inhabitants within almost four decades.
And even then, the accommodation capacity anticipated this development to meet the needs of an ever-growing clientele. The restaurant had room for 75 people, the dining room for 45 like the terrace; there were 20 rooms with 32 beds, the bathrooms were on the floor.
It was an instant success, although in the first month of opening the kitchen was not ready and the hotel’s customers were rerouted to the Grotto Cappella. With Guido’s grandmother in the kitchen, the menu always consisted of minestrone as first course and breaded schnitzel or bratwurst as second course.
Back then, instead of the menu, they changed the customers! Customers who, over the years and on different occasions, remembered with great pleasure the delicacies tasted at the Grotto: “We are among those who ate at the Grotto Cappella, everything was so good and real!” Obviously, the needs were not those of today, even if those seeds of quality and authenticity, for half a century continue to find fertile ground in the Bassi family’s gastronomic philosophy.
This is proof that the beginning was truly enviable. When there was no motorway – which today has made the passage along the old Via delle Genti much faster, but also more anonymous – and all the traffic passed in front of the hotel, queues formed not only on the road but also in front of the restaurant, waiting to be served.
The years passed quickly and the needs of an increasingly attentive clientele for the services offered also changed. In 1968, a swimming pool was added to the hotel, an unusual decision for the time, but it proved to be the right one, so that it is still one of the hotel’s assets today
One of the Bassi family’s characteristics has always been to anticipate market trends; a crucial aspect to be able to respond adequately to the needs of the customers and to face with professionalism the challenges of an increasingly fierce competition.
The expansion project has been approved and the future is already in sight…
For this reason, the Bassi family also participated in the growth of the community, starting in 1974 with the construction of a new 140 m² banquet hall, a 100 m² kitchen and 8 new rooms; all according to the most modern criteria and quality standards desired and sought after by guests.
Over the years, the road connection between Locarno and Bellinzona becomes more and more important: unfortunately, traffic increases and noise starts to become a problem for the peace and quiet of the guests.
In this case too, the Bassi family acts promptly and in January 1991 all the rooms are remodelled and made more comfortable with the installation of soundproof windows, air conditioning, showers and bathrooms. After two months of intensive and well-organised work, the hotel was reopened and immediately received a high level of appreciation from the customers.
The responsibility hands over to the new generation, the future is guaranteed!
1994 a significant turning point for the future of Hotel La Perla: the son Marco (vegetable farmer) and his wife Kathrin (hotel assistant), decide to continue running the business.
A decision that consolidates the family tradition and that will bring further beautiful and considerable certainties over the years. Persistence, willingness, dedication to their work and the desire to make guests feel at home are other pearls added to the diadem of quality that has always distinguished the Bassi family. But they are also the factors for a further increase in demand.
Only two years later – the year was 1996 – the residence of Guido and Brigitte, who had meanwhile moved into a beautiful house near the hotel, was converted into 5 new rooms. The following year they gave the management to their son and his wife, while still helping them full time for a few years.
To keep up with the times, the restaurant and dining room were redesigned in 2000 and the bar was built. To increase comfort, a lift and wi-fi internet access were installed, while a new structure was added to the swimming pool, which not only eliminates street noise but also accommodates a covered area for aperitifs or a lounge for clients with the appropriate facilities and a shower.
With the satisfaction of seeing their “creation” growing up in the careful and competent hands of Marco and Kathrin, Guido and Brigitte decided in 2001 to enjoy their well-deserved retirement, but always ready to give advice where needed.
But the innovations to keep up with the times do not end here. In 2005, a laptop was installed in every room, available free of charge to use the internet.
Three years later, in 2008, the banquet hall was redesigned with a more modern interior style. At the same time, the terrace became a veranda and the hotel’s new logo and website were created.
From December 2010 to the end of February 2011, the hotel was closed to renovate the entire restaurant, the smaller banquet hall, the entrances and the reception in record time. In addition, the building was raised by one floor and now has an additional 13 rooms. The exterior is modern, beautiful and attractive – the bright yellow has turned into a bright red!
But what makes Marco and Kathrin most proud and fills them with joy is that the tradition continues.
Since 2011, the third generation of the Bassi family has contributed to the management of Hotel La Perla: Sabrina is responsible for the reception, Nadia and Gianni for the restaurant.
At the end of 2014, it was decided to replace the old “Grotto Cappella” (Bassi Father’s House) in front of the hotel with a new building. In April 2015, the new residence La Perla was thus inaugurated, built on 4 floors, with 6 flats and 10 fully equipped one-room flats.
These meet the demand of many people who stay in Ticino for only a few months. Of course, all the services of the hotel are available to the tenants of the residence: Cleaning, swimming pool, restaurant, etc.
The hotel’s swimming pool, despite having been renovated in 2010, had fallen into old age. So in spring 2017, work began on a new, more up to date facility.
A few months later, the beautiful stainless steel Infinity Pool with loungers, whirlpool corner and waterfall jet were opened.
Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we want to move with the times. That is why we are again renovating 20 of the 41 rooms in the hotel.
From spring 2021, we will offer modern and comfortable rooms with minibar and safe. In this way, we are sure that we can meet the needs of our loyal guests in the best possible way.