We went off-piste this summer during a trip to St.Moritz, the original birthplace of Alpine winter tourism (1864). St. Moritz doesn’t simply hibernate during the summer months, instead, the original winter wonderland and the cradle of Alpine tourism transforms into something equally as spectacular.
The luxury alpine resort town in Switzerland’s Engadin Valley is home to many treasures you can enjoy. With an aquamarine lake at its centre sparkling in 300 days of sunshine, and wrapped in woodlands aloof with mountains both perfect for cycling and hiking.
Set amongst this spectacular backdrop stands Badrutts Palace Hotel, equally as alluring as the destination itself, Bardrutts green tiled roof and red towers couldn’t be missed upon arrival at St. Moritz station. The substantial build sprawls down almost all the hillside it rests upon, stretching as far as the lake below it. The afternoon we arrived at Queen Elizabeth’s previously owned Rolls Royce. This was to be the start of a truly plush stay we wouldn’t forget.
With neighbours like Gucci and Bottega Veneta, it’s truly no wonder why St. Moritz is synonymous with luxury. Staff flank the entrance with smiles and charm whilst quickly attending to your needs, perhaps to ensure you don’t scratch a supercar parked outside with a rogue case set on a downhill descent.
Walking through the entrance of Badrutts Palace, you could easily have mistaken it as the threshold to a Disney Palace. The lobby is busy lest your eyes would leave you to believe less. Everything ticks along swiftly, like a well-made wristwatch. Not to be mistaken as rushed, as the vibe is very relaxed and welcoming.
On the way to our room, we glimpse the main hall – not that you could miss it. Huge windows reveal our first peek of the beautiful lake below, little did we know that same lake would be seen from our room also. It’s worth noting that Caspar Badrutt who built the hotel in 1896 really didn’t skimp on a thing. There’s even seating in the elevators, perhaps the laziest lifts in all the lands.
When we arrived at our room, and after stumbling over our bottom lips; we stood in awe of what we found. The rooms are decorated elegantly, inoffensive neutrals and are very spacious. Our balcony revealed the lake in all its grandeur with mountains and valleys visible in the distance. With 157 guestrooms, select one with a view – it is most definitely worth the upgrade. The adjoining bathroom is encased in marble and bathrooms equipped with rainfall showers and standalone baths, if you can tear yourself away from the view that is.
Once we managed to drag ourselves from the balcony, we explored the palace-like interiors of the grand hall. Towering windows like the large picture window which also overlooks the lake, as well as large chandeliers and intricately carved wooden panels which dress the rooms’ walls. At one end of the hall is a cigar room and bar and the other is the main dining room.
The hotel has a huge range of restaurants – eight during the winter, though fewer in summer. The main lobby – Le Grand Hall – serves teas and drinks, while the formidable Le Restaurant Breakfast has floor-to-ceiling views across the lake, and towering crystal chandeliers. Breakfast really is worth waking for, eggs anyway are made to order and there’s a huge array of fresh fruit, pastries and meats. A mantra for being able to please all extends to breakfast too. With many nationalities opting to stay at Badrutt’s Palace hotel, you can have a traditional breakfast no matter how far from home you are.
In the evening we ate in Chesa Veglia which is an old farmhouse dating from 1736, a few minutes walk away, and worth the short uphill climb. Authentically Swiss, you also are not short of variety either as the site includes two additional restaurants and bars: The Pizzeria Heuboden for original Italian pizza and pasta, the Grill Chadafö for elegant dining with classic French cuisine. The Patrizier Stuben where we dined was fantastic, offering everything from raclette to Vitello tonnato. Not to be missed is the freshest trout and veal, even if rolling you down the hill home is the only choice.
In the lower levels of the hotel, you’ll find the wellness centre, Palace Wellness, blasted out of rock in the hotel’s basement. The space is less traditional than the rest of the hotel’s decor, ultra-modern in fact. Wonderfully manicured lawns can be seen from a large glass-fronted swimming pool which connects to an outdoor heated pool, equipped with a bar too. There is also a jacuzzi, aromatherapy room, sauna and nice rooms too. A fully equipped gym is also available and connecting studio space for tai chi, yoga and pilates.
Illustrious guests include everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to an elephant. All of which have enjoyed Badrutt’s Palace and its legendary service that accommodates all tastes remembers all preferences and embraces all requests, however, elaborate.
What to expect this winter
2019 marks 100 years since esteemed British film director Alfred Hitchcock began his career. To celebrate, Badrutt’s Palace, where Hitchcock honeymooned and gained inspiration for several of his hit films, is launching a dedicated ‘Holiday like Hitchcock’ package this December. This rare experience for avid film lovers will include a 3-night-stay in the Hitchcock Suite (room 501), an indulgent Hitchcock-inspired gourmet safari menu and a historian-led Rolls Royce tour of Hitchcock’s most frequented St. Moritz spots.
Celebrated British chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton will be opening his first Swiss restaurant in the King’s Club, King’s Social House, a perfect addition to the hotels existing dining scene.