A country synonymous with every level of skiing affords dramatic mountain ranges, world-class hotels and luxurious chalets in iconic resorts such as St Moritz, Gstaad, Zetrmat. It has always been popular with the glamorous and illustrious.
With the exhilarating Cresta toboggan run, bobsleighing, important February jewellery auctions, Michelin-starred restaurants and no fewer than four palace hotels (of which Badrutt’s Palace and the Kulm hold top positions), St Moritz is widely considered a king among resorts.
Many regular devotees arrive for the holiday season and return several times in February and March. A number fly privately into Samedan airport. Some rent chalets while others opt for favourite suites in grande dame hotels. This coming season, aside from the regulars, those who cannot go to Courchevel are competing for the top accommodation.
Demand for St Moritz among dedicated skiers is followed by that for Zermatt and Verbier. While Verbier offers excellent and challenging skiing, and tends to be popular with the Brits, it lacks world-class hotels but makes up for this with some impressive chalets. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have the history or amenities of St Moritz, with neither as wide a choice of restaurants or luxury boutiques.
Zermatt has charm, with its horse-drawn carriages as a means of transport in a village where cars are prohibited. It also lies in the shadow of the magnificent Matterhorn, yet its skiing, while challenging and exhilarating, is arguably not as extensive as that on the variety of slopes and mountain ranges of St Moritz’s Upper Engadine Valley. It does have world-class hotels, albeit not as ritzy as those of St Moritz, as well as some fine chalets.
Snowfall in Gstaad, a lower level altitude resort, can vary and is often lacking over the holiday season. When it is snow-covered it is arguably the prettiest and most soigné of resorts. It attracts a combination of old money and the glitzy nouveau riche jetset-types who congregate either up at the iconic Palace Hotel, for parties and dinners in Le Grill, or down in the village at the more intimate Olden.
Gstaad attracts as many après-skiers as those dedicated to the sport. It also has some fine boutiques and mountain restaurants. Unlike the larger town of St Moritz this is an authentic farming village that has become a chic fashionable resort as a result of those who came here and made it famous. People such as Gunter Sachs and Brigitte Bardot, Roger Moore, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Valentino… and more.
Whichever resort you choose it’s all about where you stay, where you dine and party and who you turn to for wellbeing, shopping and beauty. ‘We know where’ – it’s our strapline.
And for the upcoming season, whether you are looking for items to wear or to give as gifts, either for days on the slopes or evenings of high glamour, Nota Bene shortlists some favourite pieces. Contact us for details.