Hotel Federale Lugano

A short history of the hotel

The name of the hotel

The establishment that is now the Hotel Federale was built between 1880 and 1890, and was originally known by the name “Albergo Milano.” In 1918 the hotel was purchased by Mr. Arturo Maspoli, a native of Mendrisio, and renamed to the name we know today. The management was entrusted to a third-party manager.

From Humble Beginnings: Hotel’s Early Years

In 1923 the management was taken over by their son Arturo Maspoli with his wife Maria Galliker. The Maspoli-Galliker couple were always concerned with the welfare of their guests, and in several stages the hotel was modernized. First running water was introduced in all rooms, then the dining room and reception were renovated and adapted to the times. As early as the 1920s, several garages for cars were built.
Subsequent economic downturns, as well as World War II, did curb the flow of tourists, but the hotel overcame these obstacles adroitly.
Fate then dealt Mrs. Maspoli-Galliker a harsh shock: shortly before the start of World War II her husband Arthur died. With the help of her mother – Mrs. Babette Galliker-Dosch – they overcame the difficult duties of running the hotel and at the same time were able to expand the business. The hotel was expanded and where the west terrace used to be, several new rooms were created.
Thanks to a Swiss guest tourism the war years were overcome relatively smoothly.

Arturo Junior and a New Era

In 1945 Maria Maspoli-Galliker’s son, Arturo Junior, took over the management of the hotel and with him a new era began. He immediately understood the needs of postwar mass tourism, especially during the summer, and acted accordingly.
In 1950 the building was raised by 1 floor, and in 1969 private bathrooms were installed in some rooms.

In 1970 the Maspoli family was again struck by fate: Arturo Junior died prematurely like his father. However, despite her advanced age, mother Maria held on. Later, she made a decision that proved to be very successful.

Revamped and Renovated: A Hotel’s Modernization Journey

The management of the hotel was turned over to her nephew Rudolf Galliker-Hinrichs, who was successfully running a restaurant in Zurich. Rudolf Galliker had solid knowledge of the Swiss and foreign hotel industry, and with his wife, also of the trade, they were able to take over the hotel and continue renovations in the years to follow.
There were numerous renovations and innovations: all rooms were equipped with private bathrooms, radio and cable television, direct-dial telephone from the room, and the restaurant became air-conditioned.

The modern Era

Lugano transforms into a real city, becoming increasingly commercial and industrial, with the service sector holding economic control. Tourism is also changing, no longer just for vacations but also for professional, social, trade fair and commercial activities. Rudolf Galliker adapts to the new requirements and does his best to modernize and make the hotel more and more attractive.
He raises his children and educates them so that they become valuable allies in the management of the hotel. Major renovations took place between 1988 and 1990, including the creation of a new dining room with an open kitchen and the installation of double-glazed windows, new carpeting, and new furniture.

But transformations do not stop there. An underground garage and new heating systems, kitchens, and refrigeration rooms were built between 1995 and 2003. Every room was equipped with fire doors and a computer system was introduced to manage reservations and billing. Fifty percent of the rooms, bar/salon, meeting room, and laundry room were renovated.


Small renovations and some new bathrooms in the south wing rooms.


24 rooms were completely restructured. 8 small single rooms became 4 twin rooms; the balcony at the end of the corridor was “given” to new superior rooms, and all cables and water and heating pipes were replaced.


In the restaurant we changed all windows and doors with high energy saving models. The carpet in the restaurant was taken off, and a new wooden floor was re-introduced.


Rooms renovated in 1997 have undergone the next renovation and are equipped with air-conditioning. Starting mid-April 2016, the garage has two charging stations for electric and hybrid cars.


Complete renovation of the ground floor, new heating and cooling unit, and important step toward drastic reduction of CO2 output and general reduction of energy consumption.


Continued soft renovation of guest rooms. The south wing is now entirely with parquet or laminate flooring.

During all these years of the hotel, it has always been our priority to try to keep pace with the times in relation to hardware, and at the same time try to stay as traditional as possible on the software side, remaining a truly family business.
We hope you enjoy your stay in Lugano.