Samedan gained political importance in the 15th and 16th centuries, through political rivalry with Zuoz; but it was only in the 19th century, after frictions had been eased, that the village became capital of the Upper Engadin. Several inhabitants played a significant role in Graubünden and Swiss history, including the Samedan branches of the von Salis and von Planta families, whose wealth and power is still reflected in the magnificent patrician houses that they built in the historic village centre. The Badrutt family of hotelkeepers, who went on to build Badrutt's Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, also came from here. Today, Samedan plays a central role as a transport hub, with its own airport. Yet this lively, picturesque village with its impressive Engadin houses still maintains its picture-postcard charm, without appearing tacky. The inhabitants (and two museums) ensure that Engadin culture retains a living role in present-day life. The latest attraction in Samedan is the first “vertical” mineral baths and spa in Switzerland, in which visitors bathe their way through a labyrinth of baths and steam rooms, climbing three storeys en route.