Living the high life in mountain retreat
Fed up with functional places to stay when you head for the slopes? went for a little luxury...
IF, like me, the thought of a skiing holiday conjures up images of sore feet, aching muscles and the unrelenting cold, then how does a hotel with a personal ski butler, ski-in living room and luxury spa sound?
I was given the opportunity to stay in the luxurious Chedi Andermatt, a hotel nestled in the foot of the Swiss Alps, which rather wonderfully boasts all these things and much, much more.
The hotel itself is absolutely beautiful, a mixture of alpine chic, roaring log fires and opulent luxury, making it the perfect ski destination for both seasoned ski bunnies and those who plan to spend as much time relaxing as they do on the slopes.
There are two mountains within easy reach of the hotel, Natschen, by a short train ride, or Gemstock, via a cable car.
Both are very popular with the Swiss and more suitable for the more experienced skier, with the nearby Furka Passa famously used as a backdrop for an iconic scene in the James Bond movie Goldfinger.
And while our ski instructors were very enthusiastic and kind, it’s not really designed for the English novice – but this is where the hotel comes in.
It’s owned by GHM, an Asian hotel chain, which explains the Asian twist on the usually traditional Alpine ski resort décor.
At one end of the hotel there’s an enormous walk-in cheese cellar, a wine and cigar lounge, and at the other an entire restaurant dedicated to Japanese sushi and sashimi.
When we arrived we were treated to a Japanese, Mediterranean and Swiss twist on afternoon tea before being introduced to our ski butler, Eric, who was responsible for fitting and warming our boots and organising our equipment each morning.
The hotel has its own kit and while there is an additional hire charge, it is no more expensive than going to an independent ski hire shop.
The ski lounge, located about a 30 second walk from the train station, was perfect, with roaring log fires, huge comfortable sofas and an endless supply of peach schnapps.
The day we arrived, the chef was preparing roasted chestnuts and hot schnapps in the heated outdoor area – enough to tempt even the ‘neshest’ among us back outside.
As you would expect, every facet of the hotel rooms are perfection, with luxurious Aqua Di Parma toiletries in the shower and a huge cashmere throw for those who wish to brave the balcony in the freezing temperatures.
But my favourite part was definitely the bed – perhaps the most comfortable I have ever slept in.
And it seems I wasn’t the only one to think that, as each room comes with its own iPad which allows you to control everything without stepping out from under the covers.
The lights, blinds and TV, to the living flame fire which roars into life at the touch of a button – or should I say the swish of a finger?
And if one room isn’t enough, the hotel’s Furka Suite is a fantastic offering, with all the benefits of the hotel plus its own kitchen, spa, steam room, Jacuzzi and sauna.
The entire hotel is laid out for those who intend to spend as much time in the spa as they do on the slopes. It has its own access from the first floor which means you don’t have to traipse through the hotel lobby in your dressing gown.
The spa consists of a myriad treatment rooms, thermal spa and hydrapool, which was much hotter than the swimming pool and perfect to soak your aching muscles after a day on the slopes.
After a few days’ skiing I was also treated to a 60minute ‘Alpine massage’ which is one of the best I have ever had, concentrating on my aching muscles and warming my chilled bones in a beautiful treatment room with its own roaring log fire.
Andermatt itself is about an hour from Zurich and at the moment is very much geared to the locals.
But this is a good thing, the mountainside eateries are refreshingly good value and the town centre restaurants are full of Swiss charm.
The delicious fondue served up at Gasthaus Ochsen is definitely worth a try, with the staff at Pinte Musik Bar also extremely welcoming for those after some après ski.
There are plans afoot to turn the whole town into a ski resort, with more five star hotels in the pipeline and more lifts and beginner runs expected soon. So whether you prefer to wait for the resort to grow, or if you are already packing your bags, the hotel I’m sure, will continue to take your breath away.
●● Above, the lounge at the Chedi Andermatt. Below, Andermatt town