A magical weekend at the “Grande Dame” of St. Moritz, Badrutt’s Palace hotel. Set in the heart of the Engadin region, 1,856m above sea level, It is one of the prettiest Swiss villages. A jewel of a winter sports resort with over 350km of ski slopes. Home to the famous “Cresta run”, it plays host every year to the “World Cup Polo on snow ” and “White Turf weekend” horse racing on ice.
Having always had St.Moritz on my bucket list after a ski season spent in Saas Fee many years ago! The more glamourous ski resorts of Gstaad and St. Moritz have somehow managed to elude me. These are the ski resorts that are destinations and playgrounds for the rich and famous and legendary in their own right. A seasonnaire at heart – for me it is all about the skiing and the snow, although I’m not averse to a little pampering once in a while and staying at the five star Badrutt’s Palace certainly is a taste of a different world.
This legendary “Grande Dame” is in a class of its own, leading the field in luxury hotels it has played host to European Royal Families since opening its doors in 1896, followed by Hollywood Royalty and today it still plays host to the great and the good of the glitterati. The staff are impeccably mannered and extremely welcoming with generations of the same families working here, they are clearly very passionate about Badrutt’s Palace hotel and it shows.
I was of course beyond excited to be leaving a rather dull and overcast City airport for Zurich early Friday morning, transported at the other end by an efficient Swiss train service, which naturally ran like clock work. Within 20 minutes of landing we were on our way to Zurich railway and connecting trains to Chur and on through the UNESCO World Heritage site of beautiful snowy landscape and an awe inspiring winter wonderland before arriving in St.Moritz. We were met at the station by a fleet of Badrutt’s Palace porters with impressive Rolls Royce cars, which whisked us up to the hotel in style.. filmstar moi! Oh alright then…
For our very first evening we were invited by the Head Chef of the hotel’s “Le Restaurant” kitchens to dine at the Chef’s table, a first for me and an absolute delight. Each course was matched to a wine and we were treated to an extensive menu of:
– Cooked Egg whites with Imperial caviar and truffles
– Steamed Scallops and foie gras wrapped in Savoy cabbage with brioche bread
– Pumpkin Cream Soup and Caraway purple potato flower and leek
– Two styles of Venison filet seared with a truffle sauce and braised Veal cheeks in red wine sauce with black truffle shavings
For dessert we had a special surprise in the Patisserie Kitchen with Head Patisserie Chef Stefan Gerber and his team whom created a spectacular fireworks and music display to present every dessert imaginable.
It certainly gave us a good sugar rush to head to the famous “King’s nightclub” dance floor and attempt some cool moves at the ‘ClubHaus’ 80’s evening. “King’s Club” is situated within the basement of the hotel which proved handy in L.K. Bennett killer heels! This was no ordinary dance floor as the hotel PR informed me its claim to fame is being the richest dance floor in Europe with at least every other guest apparently a billionaire… how could I go wrong?
Next morning we were up early to enjoy breakfast in “Le Restaurant” including a harpist to play some music to us while we ate. Definitely a new one on me, but relaxing all the same as we looked out across the lake before the morning’s ski activities with our Swiss ski instructor’s, John and Aurelia.
A little apprehension had sunk in as we climbed the mountian after a few too many bad moves at “King’s” but once on the slopes, we all started to find our ski legs again, before heading up to the highest pinnacle on the mountain range and indulging in some delicious cheese fondue and fantastic Swiss white wine. Yes Swiss wine! surprisingly delicious and perfect for the cheese fondue.. who knew?
Après-ski in St.Moritz is of course a very stylish affair, so post a few red runs and wobbly mogul attempts after lunch, we took ourselves off for a Gluhwein and hot vodka or two, (can you see our common theme here?) hoping to mingle with some of the young, the rich and the beautiful people…
Post après ski we donned our most glamourous outfits to visit the underground cellars of Badrutt’s Palace, where they hold guests cases of vintage wine and cases and cases of the finest Champagne in preparation for the winter season. Guests can also reserve a table in the romantic wine cellar on request for dinner during the winter and summer. After a Kir Royale we headed back upstairs to dine in the classical setting of “Le Restaurant” set with beautiful chandeliers and stunning views across the lake. We indulged ourselves once more with foie gras, lobster and Crepes Suzette on this very classic French haute cuisine menu, I could feel my waistline expanding with every delicious mouthful.
Badrutt’s Palace hotel is open in the winter season from the beginning of December to the end of March and reopens for the summer season from the end of June. There are 157 rooms and 37 luxury suites, guests can arrive into St.Moritz by car, train or even private jet if they wish to.
A full programme of season highlights in St.Moritz and at Badrutt’s Palace can be found on the website: http://www.badruttspalace.com/en/stay/rooms it’s a great destination to savour, experience and enjoy a most luxuriously opulent lifestyle, at least for a lovely weekend!
We travelled from London City airport with Swiss airlines 1hr 50 and the Swiss rail service from Zurich airport to St Moritz – 3hr 30 transfer time into resort.