In the nineteenth century, Switzerland developed an important tourist industry. Guests enjoyed Alpine air and spas at hotels in remote areas that were not serviced by the Swiss Post Office. Some of these hotels offered a service to guests of carrying their mail to the nearest official post office for a fee paid by the purchase of a specially printed stamp. The first hotel stamp was issued by Rigi Kaltbad in 1864, followed by hotels at Rigi Scheideck, Belalp, Kurort Stoos, Maderanerthal and Rigi Kulm.
Last usage in Switzerland
These services became unnecessary as the Swiss railway was extended and a normal postal service introduced. After 20 September 1883, all remaining services were prohibited by the Swiss government.
Use in other countries
Hotels in several other countries have issued stamps including in Austria, Hungary, Egypt (Shepherd's Hotel, Cairo), Japan (The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo), Romania and Singapore (Raffles Hotel). In Hungary stamps were issued at Carpathian resorts for Kurhaus auf der Hohen Rinne between 1895 and 1926, Magura in 1903 and 1911, and Bistra in 1909 to 1912. These resorts were part of Rumania after World War One. In Austria stamps were issued for Kesselfall-Alpenhaus and Moserboden between 1927 and 1938 and Katschberghohe in 1933-38. Stamps were also issued at a hotel in the Kulmi Mountain region of Liechtenstein.
Hotel stamps are regarded as local or cinderella stamps.
- Sutton, R.J. The Stamp Collector's Encyclopaedia, Stanley Paul, London, 1966 edition, p.145.
- "Swiss Hotel Stamps" in The Swiss Philatelist, No.11, 1954, p.3. Download link.
- Patrick, Douglas & Mary, The Hodder Stamp Dictionary, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1973, p.112.
- "Hotel Kulmi Mountain Porterage" in The Cinderella Philatelist, Vol.49, No.2, April 2009, p.69.
- Kottelat, Marcel. Studie über die schweizerische Hotelpost 1864-1900. Bern: Zumstein & Cie/Inhaber Hertsch & Co., 1995. ISBN 3-909278-09-4
- Leemann, Hans. Die schweizerische Hotelpost. Basel: Sandoz A.G., 1960. Also published in French and English.
- Leutwyler, Hans. Die schweizerische Hotelpost und der Hôtel-Telegraphen- und Telephondienst im 19. Jahrhundert. Bern: H. Leutwyler, 1962.
Hungary and Romania
- Dragoteanu, Mircea. Hotel Posts of Transylvania. Cluj-Napoca: The Author, 2010 398p.
- Dragoteanu, Mircea. Istoria postelor locale transilvane: Paltinis (Hohe Rinne), Bistra, Magura. Cluj-Napoca: The Author, 1998 ISBN 9739298591, 192p.
- Ettre, Leslie S. Hotel Post of the Siebenburgischer Karpathenverein Hohe Rinne and Bistra. Norwalk, CT: Society for Hungarian Philately, 1977, 32p.
- Williams, L.N. and M. Hotel posts of Hungary & Roumania: being a handbook & catalogue of the private local stamps of Hohe Rinne, Magura, and Bistra. London: L.N. Williams, 1962.