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Mrs Karolewski, as a journalist, what prompted you to switch to the hotel business as a department manager?

I've always had a great affinity for gastronomy. As an 18-year-old trainee at "bz Basel", I was already writing about the culinary arts. Food journalism has always been my thing, I was never interested in politics and business topics. I financed my journalism studies with jobs in cafés, restaurants and catering agencies. So I'm familiar with all aspects of the catering industry.

How did you get involved in the prestigious Château de Raymontpierre project?

My partner Timon Wolf, a graduate of the Lausanne Hotel Management School, and I were able to gain experience and insights into the most diverse areas of the culinary and catering industry during our careers in Copenhagen, Paris and Tuscany. After working at Villa Lena, an agriturismo in Tuscany, for six months, we dreamed of one day running such a business ourselves. The fact that it worked out a little later, and not in the distant future as we had imagined, was pure coincidence.

Are you telling me?

A friend of Timon's from university knew about the Château de Raymontpierre project and told him about it. We immediately realised that this was the object of our dreams. We had nothing to lose, sent off an application straight away - and were actually hired.

Opening a new hotel is a big deal for a young couple like you.

That's true, but it was also an incredible opportunity. We are infinitely grateful that we were able to contribute our ideas right from the start. We have already put a lot of love and passion into the castle.

What is your philosophy?

The Château de Raymontpierre with its 14 rooms is not intended to be a hotel, but an agriturismo. The focus is clearly on sustainability. The château has been gently renovated using moon wood from the surrounding forest. We draw water from our own spring. The neighbouring farm is equipped with solar panels for the electricity supply. We strive for high quality food made from local produce. Meat comes from the neighbouring farm, vegetables from our own garden. We also practise a circular economy to reduce our waste.

Which target group of guests are you addressing?

You can book us as a private hideaway for events, celebrations, seminars or incentives. In the summer months we also welcome individual guests. Young people in particular are increasingly focussing on high-quality food and time out in nature. But more mature people who love culinary delights and tranquillity and enjoy hiking will also feel at home with us. We are also planning various retreats and culinary events with renowned star chefs such as Andreas Caminada, Tanja Grandits, Silvio Germann and Pascal Steffen. Cuisine plays an important role for us.

The focus is clearly on sustainability

Sydney Karolewski and her partner, Timon Wolf

What characterises good cuisine for you?

When the first bite brings a smile to my face.

Why are you a good hostess?

I love pampering guests and making sure they feel at home with us. As a good observer, I have learnt a lot from my previous jobs and know what it takes and what makes a good service.

You recently started living in a small village near the castle. As a city dweller, how do you cope with country life?

Very good! For me, the Jura is the Tuscany of Switzerland. Being here feels like coming home. Living in harmony with nature is simply wonderful. Nevertheless, we have kept our flat in Basel. During the winter months, when we are closed, we will enjoy city life.

Not worried that working with your partner could damage your relationship?

No, it's not the first time we've worked together. But we will definitely make sure we have at least one day off a week together and spend it away from the château. But for now, we're just looking forward to finally opening the doors of Château de Raymontpierre on 1 June and getting started.