The high Alpine luxury resort St. Moritz is 1,800 metres (5,910 ft) above sea level, a place I recently visited to enjoy luxury hotel facilities, as well as winter sports including skiing not to mention the gastronomic wonders of the region.
On the flight there with Swiss International Air Lines AG, I will not forget my first glimpse of the snow covered mountains I spotted, and the thrill of seeing them for the first time. On the train ride from Zürich Airport, I could not keep my eyes away from the stunningly large lakes and the opportunity to see the snow covered mountains. I have never been to Switzerland, but fell in love with it straight away.
The journey to St. Moritz was very smooth indeed, with no delays, as the transport system in the country is remarkably efficient and organised in my opinion. Although most of my train journey to St. Moritz was in the dark, it was exciting to see the snow outside, and when I arrived there the drop in temperature was noticeable. Having said that, the quality of the air was remarkable and wonderfully fresh. An evening meal in the historic Kulm Country Club, in the grounds of the Kulm Hotel, was very welcome indeed after a day of travelling.
The Kulm Hotel My welcome to St. Moritz was a remarkable one, with a Kulm Hotel taxi taking me from the train station to the hotel where I checked in and taken up to my room. As I walked into my room, most of the ceiling and walls were covered with local wood, which were visually stunning and boasted very fine craftsmanship, and emanated a very pleasant smell in the at all times. The room was the same size of my flat, possibly a bit bigger, so there was certainly no shortage of space.
By way of background, it is worth noting that the Kulm Hotel was the first hotel to be built in St. Moritz and opened in 1856. It was the stage for the first electric light in Switzerland and also hosted the 1928 and 1948 Olympic Winter Games in its grounds. Today, the hotel boasts 172 rooms and suites with stunning views of Lake St. Moritz and the formidable slopes of the Corviglia / Piz Nair mountain range. There are also five restaurants, an expensive spa and six conference rooms plus the 9-hole Kulm Golf Course, three tennis courts and a natural ice rink.
My hotel room featured an impressive array of lighting, and the incredibly tall windows really struck me, not to mention the many comforts the room offered. An area to relax in and wind down on a sofa with a coffee table was offered, as well as coffee
making facilities and sparkling or still bottled water. The room also has the most comfortable and well made bed you have ever slept in, with beautifully soft and clean cotton sheets. There were an interesting assortment of pillows available to order, and I was intrigued by the heated cherry scented pillow, so I ordered this and it was delivered to my room very promptly. It felt marvellous on my neck and helped me to truly relax and get to sleep.
I cannot fault my hotel room in anyway. The size of the wardrobe was very generous indeed, and I was very easily able to hang my suit up. The bathroom has two sinks in it, and a mirror covering one of the entire walls on the side of the bath. An impressive array of Asprey shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner were on offer not to mention a very fine collection of high quality flannels and towels.
Waking up during the first morning there, I felt enormously privileged to enjoy a spectacular mountain view from my hotel room window. There was even a balcony with a table and chairs, so I was able to sit down there and enjoy the remarkable view of the snow covered and sun topped mountain ahead of me and the town of St. Moritz as well.
At the Kulm Hotel, the sumptuous breakfast buffet on offer at Le Grand Restaurant was fit for a king, with cooked breakfast items, cereals, yoghurts and fruit juices on offer, not to mention real coffee.
I was fortunate one day to have a professional spa treatment on a lower floor of the Kulm Hotel, overlooking the breathtaking mountains. The massage was totally relaxing and stress reliving for me and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to completely unwind.
The effect of the Kulm Hotel’s second to none facilities and the beauty of the surrounding area made me feel immensely refreshed and relaxed during my entire stay. The sheer wonder and beauty of the area will stay with me for all of my life. I would thoroughly recommend a visit to this region of Switzerland to anybody who wants to get away from the fast pace of life, and to basically enjoy a stress free holiday.
Skiing on Corviglia St. Moritz is the largest winter sports region in Switzerland, indeed winter tourism was born in the region in 1864, and the country’s first ski school was opened there in 1929. The town has also hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships many times and the region has four main peaks and 350 kilometres (93 miles) pistes and over 220 kilometres (136 miles) of cross-country ski trails, not to mention 350 kilometres (93 miles) of winter walking paths. It is no wonder that St. Moritz is one of the most varied winter sports regions in Switzerland and perhaps the most inspiring.
On the first morning of my visit, the skiing on Corviglia was a marvellous new experience for me, which started off with me being kitted out at the ski shop in the Kulm Hotel. The shop was superbly stocked and it was certainly an enjoyable challenge to get the hired ski boots on my feet! The boots were not easy to walk in and were very heavy, so whilst that was physically very challenging, I nevertheless relished the opportunity to take part in something I had never done previously.
A journey up in the ski lift brought me and one other member of the party to a beginner’s slope, overlooking stunning mountain scenes. I was given a skiing lesson by a professional instructor, who I must say totally put me at my ease. The instructions given on how to ski were very clear indeed, and what stuck in my brain was the wide ‘pizza shape’ one had to make when ‘braking’. The instructor said that I did superbly for somebody that hasn’t done skiing before, so this pleased me greatly.
Restaurants in the region The morning skiing on Corviglia was followed by a superb five-course lunch at the legendary Marmite, one of the best mountain restaurants in Switzerland, renowned for its truffle pizza. I must say that the truffle pizza was second to none and I could not have wished for a better view when eating it.
There are around 300 restaurants in the region, of which 30 have been awarded a total of 453 GaultMillau points and 8 Michelin stars between them. It struck me that there are an amazing collection of restaurants there are in the region, which were expensive in my eyes, but the quality of the food and the service provided reminds me of the adage that ‘you get what you pay for’.
One of the excursions I took part in was to the Kulm Hotel’s sister property, the Grand Hotel Kronenhof, which has been welcoming guests since 1848 and is today an outstanding example of 19th century Alpine hotel design. It is located in Pontresina, six miles away from St. Moritz. I enjoyed a formal dinner in the stunning Grand Restaurant, under the Neo-Baroque arches, indeed it is here that I enjoyed a five course meal that included deer. I also was given a tour of the hotel, which was upgraded in 2007 with 28 new guest rooms and a stunning spa complex covering more than 2000 metres.
Every meal I had during the visit was served with bread and butter, including the meal remarkable cheese fondue at the Chesa al Parc. One of my favourite meals during the stay was at the Kulm Hotel’s ‘The Pizzeria’, a typical Italian trattoria and
the spaghetti Bolognese I had there was prepared, cooked and served to utter perfection. The cold coffee with ice cream in it after was cool and refreshing, and very welcome indeed after a satisfying meal.
Afternoon skijoring Afternoon skijoring on the first day of my visit to the region was very exciting, and started after a short journey out of St. Moritz, again this was a totally new experience for me but. I had got used to wearing skis in the morning, but this time a wild horse pulled me along a track of snow. The lady on the horse had a rope, which split into two, so a handle could be accommodated for me to hold on to.
The feeling of fresh air and sun on my face, whilst being pulled along by a horse is one I will never forget, and felt very exhilarating indeed. It was truly a joyous experience, and tremendous fun – even when I fell over (and very quickly let go of the rope when this happened).
Afternoon husky mushing The next day, the press party I was a part of returned to the same spot to be greeted by a large group of husky dogs. The opportunity here was to have a four of them pulling one person on a sled, which importantly had brakes on! There were three simple commands I was instructed to give to the obedient huskies, which were ‘okay’ (to go), ‘easy’ (to slow down) and ‘woah’ to stop! I was also able to brake using my feet, so knowing how to stop was definitely a comfort to me!
The dogs were very energetic to begin with on the sled ride, some of which was on a frozen lake. Thankfully I did not fall off, but there was one time when the sled went at quite an angle to the right and I thought that I might! Later into the journey, the dogs got tired and slowed down somewhat. I am not a dog person, but I must say these particular breeds totally won me over in their impressive efforts.
Muottas Mutragl sledding Sledding down Muottas Mutragl was much harder than I thought. The steep lift to the top of the mountain was the easy part as we ascended from an altitude of 1,738 metres to 2456 metres (5,702 – 8,058 ft) above sea level.
Once we got to the top, we were on and overlooking many snow covered mountains. It felt remarkable to be there and to briefly enjoy the magnificent views of the mountains and the surrounding area. You have to be there to capture the wonder and the awe of it. I believe it has for many years been a source of inspiration for poets, writers and artists and of sheer delight for guests. The sled track itself was excellent, but very icy higher up, so it was not easy to stop when pushing ones feet firmly to the ground!
Rhaetian Railway’s Albula and Bermina line The train journey on the Rhaetian Railway’s Albula and Bermina line from St. Moritz to Zürich was remarkable, as it all took place in daylight, so I was able to enjoy the many picturesque UNESCO protected sites not to mention the viaducts and tunnels though the many mountains.
The experience of the whole trip was a remarkable one, and I have nothing bad to say about it. My whole
experience of visiting Switzerland was marvellous, and I certainly found a very warm welcome from all the people I came into contact with, when carrying out the aforementioned activities. For those who want to escape the stresses of this world, look no further than St. Moritz. Whilst you can take part in energetic activities, you have ample opportunity to rest and relax. You can truly get away from it all here.
Further sources of information Kulm Hotel St. Moritz Rates at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, which is open next winter season from 3 December 2017 to 2 April 2018, start from CHF 675 for two people sharing a double room on a half-board basis; book online at www.kulm.com.
Switzerland Tourism For more information on Switzerland visit www. MySwitzerland.com or call their Switzerland Travel Centre on the International freephone 00800 100 200 30 or e-mail, for information [email protected] myswitzerland.com; for packages, trains and air tickets [email protected]
Swiss International Air Lines UK & Ireland to Zurich: SWISS offers up to 119 weekly flights from London City, Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh (seasonal) and Dublin to Zurich. All-inclusive fares start from £67 one-way*, including all airport taxes, one piece hold luggage and hand luggage, plus meal and drink. SWISS are also happy to transport your first set of ski or snowboard equipment and boots free of charge in addition to your standard free baggage allowance.
For more information visit swiss.com or call 0345 601 0956
UK & Ireland to Switzerland: SWISS offers more than 180 weekly flights from London City, Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh (seasonal) and Dublin to either Zurich or Geneva.
All-inclusive fares start from £54 one-way*, including all airport taxes, one piece hold luggage and hand luggage, plus meal and drink. SWISS are also happy to transport your first set of ski or snowboard equipment and boots free of charge in addition to your standard free baggage allowance.
For more information visit swiss.com or call 0345 601 0956
Swiss Travel System By road, rail and waterway throughout Switzerland: The Swiss Travel System provides a dedicated range of travel passes and tickets exclusively for visitors from abroad. The Swiss Transfer Ticket covers a round-trip between the airport/Swiss border and your destination. Prices are £116 in second class and £188 in first class.
For the ultimate Swiss rail specialist call Switzerland Travel Centre on 00800 100 200 30 or visit www. swisstravelsystem.co.uk