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1980s

Hotels and Tourism

For four years, from 1979 to 1983 the international boarding school and the hotel and tourism school ran in tandem.

Then in 1983, the doors closed to secondary school children, and the school’s sole focus became hotels and tourism. There were approximately 170 students.

On a Sunday evening in April 1985, a huge fire destroyed the main building. All 180 students and resident staff members were safely evacuated, and de-camped to the Hotel Mirabeau in Montana for two years whilst the campus was being rebuilt.

Despite considerable destruction to the property and its contents, the School only lost one day of classes as arrangements were immediately made to house students and teaching facilities in three hotels in Montana. Construction of new buildings began in May 1986.

In 1987, the school re-opened its doors. The new building was designed to accommodate more students and with greater purposed-built facilities for vocational training.  The school made an agreement with the Swiss Hoteliers Association (which lasted till 2005) enabling them to officially offer the SHA diploma, and Les Roches was put firmly on the hospitality education map.

How does a school of 1200+ integrate into a village of 350 inhabitants?

It’s not straightforward. But when the school was virtually destroyed in 1985, the brothers decided to rebuild it, specifically as a professional school.  The villagers were consulted.  The only thing they asked was that the new building should correspond to the old building.  The Clivaz brothers agreed and Les Roches that stands today is a faithful (though much improved) version of the old building.

Today, villagers of Bluche are invited to Les Roches Cultural Nights, where they can experience international cuisine and cultural celebrations.  The school collaborates closely with civil authorities such as the town council and the police, and ensures all students understand how to live in Switzerland and respect Swiss laws and the way of life.

The importance of accreditation

Even in the 1980s, the issue of accreditation was very important to Les Roches. The management knew it would never be enough to rely on the power of the Swiss brand to attract students, but that accreditation would be needed from reputable institutions, such as NEASC (see below) which also accredits Ivy League universities in the USA.

Les Roches accreditation path:

1986 SHA accreditation

1991 New England Association of Colleges and Universities (Technical and Vocational Council)

2005 New England Association of Colleges and Universities (Commission on Institutions of Higher Education)

Historical Timeline

1983

Les Roches Logo until 1986

Transition to Les Roches Hotel and Tourism School is completed; school acquires new logo

1985

  • Fire destroys the campus, and the entire school moves temporarily to hotels in Crans
  • Grand Prize Triumph of Excellence 1985 awarded to Les Roches from the Committee of European Excellence
  • Les Roches gains recognition from the State of Valais as a certified education institute

1986

School is approved by the Swiss Hotel Association under the name of: Swiss Hotel Association Hotel Management School Les Roches

1987

School re-opens

Next Decade : The 1990s

In the 1990s, Les Roches hotel management school consolidated its position as one of the world’s top hotel management schools and grew steadily year on year to reach around 500 students by 1999.