mountains
mountains

The hotel is located at the highest point in the village of Surlej, just 5 kilometres from St. Moritz. As a result, the hotel offers ski-in ski-out to the slopes

With a spectacular view of the Engadine Valley, and located right by one of the region’s best ski and hiking mountains, Nira Alpina is a hip hotel to inspire the soul – and palate

The Nira Alpina is not actually in St Moritz, and is all the better for it. It’s in a location that is far more dramatically connected with the landscapes of the Engadine valley, ten minutes’ drive away, in the village of Surlej.
The village is by a deep blue lake of the same name, and the hotel itself is connected to the lift station for Corvatsch, the area’s most challenging mountain. You avoid St Moritz town centre, which is not as pretty as it should be, while enjoying easy access to everything.
table

Nira Alpina offers views of untouched natural scenery and is suitable for both summer and winter adventures

We arrived there one sunny summer evening and immediately were whisked to the rooftop bar, at sunset. Sunsets at sea get a lot of love, but this mountain sunset was quite astonishing in a completely different way. The Nira Alpina is high on the valley’s eastern edge, just below the forest that coats the slope as it rises up towards the peaks.
As the sun lowered over the opposite side of the valley we had an astonishing array of colour, from rose snow on the peaks, to green-blues of the valley air, thick with forest resins but devoid of the sunshine that still lit the rocks above. The valley below became green black while the sky above the peaks was a still a brilliant late afternoon blue.
spa

The spa of the hotel offers a relaxation room with coloured mood lighting, a steam room, a sauna, a vast whirlpool, and five large treatment rooms

After a couple of Aperols it was an easy slide along the same long, light and airy floor, past the bar, to the restaurant, similarly filled with light and view. Here at Shanti, the cuisine is brilliantly and refreshingly global, from the Shanti salad, Swiss with a Southeast Asian touch, through tuna sashimi and an excellently presented hummus platter, to a very Swiss carrot and ginger soup, a very Thai (and absolutely vivid) Tom Yam Gang, various absolutely delicious varieties of dim sum, and mains varying from a schnitzel Cordon Bleu to miso cod with glass noodles and a dramatic Thai red curry.
As the Nira Alpina is a place you will likely stay several days in, the excellent execution of the different dishes meant you could eat a different cuisine every night without going out – and you wouldn’t wish to go out as the view is utterly memorable.
,mountains
Our room had doors opening directly out onto the hotel’s lawn, with a vast view in either direction down the Engadine valley. Walk onto the lawn, turn left, and you quickly reach the path that leads up through the forest on the Corvatsch mountain; from our door we could have walked up to the pass at the Fuorcola Surlej hut, high above the treelined, down the glacial Roseg valley on the other side, and then climb up the glaciers to ascend the snow-encrusted 4000 metre giant Piz Bernina, in crampons, without passing another building.
Feeling rather less adventurous, we instead walked down to Lake Silvaplana, the centre of watersports in the area, for a kitesurfing lesson, and around the lake and through the forests.
Then it was back to our room, sitting outside on the grass, and watching another memorable sunset as the mountain moon and stars (you’re that bit closer to them at an altitude of 1800 metres) came out of the aquamarine sky; before another beautiful dinner.
mountains

In the summer the hotel offers multiple outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and watersports.

Nira Alpina also has its own patisserie, where we spent the mornings choosing from a variety of buns and pastries, and a yoga class in a suite with a vast mountain view.
The Zen of the yoga class was appropriate: this is a luxury Alpine hotel that feels like a forest retreat on an island, for the sense of sheer balance and calm it creates. We visited in summer; in winter, with its connection to the Corvatsch lift station, the Nira is apparently quite a party spot in the early evening, but the views, cuisine, and uplifting nature of the place would not change. And for summer and winter sports, the connection up the mountain could not be more convenient.
chalet

During the winter guests have a wide selection of winter activities, including ice skating, winter hiking, sledding, bobsledding, horse riding, hang gliding, sky diving and Nordic walking.

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bedroom with view of safari

LUX recommends our top hotels to check into this year. Compiled by Olivia Cavigioli

Glenmorangie House, Ross, Scotland
For a retreat into the Scottish Highlands, whisky distiller’s Glenmorangie House is the place to go. The brand just recently celebrated 180 years of craftsmanship, their single malt distilled and encompassed by the idyll of the Highlands, ‘Glenmorangie’ translating to ‘Valley of Tranquility’ in Gaelic.

Situated along the coastline on the Easter Ross Peninsula, the house is a a stone’s throw away from the distillery so guests are immersed in the whisky making process and the land from which it is crafted. Designer Russel Sage brought the brand’s protected Tarlogie Springs to the Tasting Room, and the barley fields to the guilded Morning Room, curating the hotel with the Glenmorangie story in mind.

The brand hosts an exclusive weekend, ‘A Tale of Tokyo Experience’, in collaboration with drink connoisseurs Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley, where guests can experience the mythologies of two whiskey making cultures. Celebrating Glenmorangie’s new whiskey, marrying Japanese processes and flavours with the classic Highland drink, the weekend offers a cocktail masterclass and Kintsugi cup-making, a touring of the distillery, and unique dining experiences by design of Head Chef John Wilson, as guests will partake in both a Scottish Highland diner and A Tale of Tokyo inspired tasting menu.

22nd-24th March 2024, at £950 per room for a two-night stay in a Standard Room or Cottage.

colourful living room

Find out more: glenmorangie.com

 

The Lana, Dubai – Dorchester Collection

rooftop pool with view of dubai

The Lana Dubai Rooftop

For a culinary whirlwind, Dorchester Collection’s first Middle East location, The Lana Dubai, is one to watch. Set to open in February 2024, the hotel is something of a gastronomical meeting of the minds in the countless dining experiences. Celebrated chefs Martín Berasategui, Jean Imbert and Angelo Musa create four distinct concepts out of the eight restaurants The Lana hosts. Accoladed with twelve Michelin stars, Martín Berasategui develops Jara, a love letter to Basque cuisine and the first of its kind in Dubai.

For modern Mediterranean cooking and cocktails, guests can flock to Riviera by Jean Imbert, who has also created High Society, an after hours lounge located on the rooftop of the hotel. Angelo Musa’s Bonbon Café will bring French patisserie with his own avant-garde approach to The Lana.

Designed by Foster + Partners, the hotel is bound in bright vistas, positioned along the Dubai Canal, a vantage point from which guests can revel in the city’s famed sunsets. The Lana’s spa, and 225 rooms and suites, with interiors designed by Gilles & Boissier, brings together the contemporary and traditional, in Dubai’s trademark style.

The Hotel is now open as of February 1st, now taking bookings. Rates start from £735 per night.

hotel resort in Dubai

Find out more: dorchestercollection.com/dubai/the-lana

 

ROAR Africa’s ‘Greatest Safari on Earth’

beautiful landscape

ROAR Africa’s ‘Greatest Safari on Earth’, is  a pilgrimage through some of Africa’s most iconic destinations, as ten guests can become intrepid travellers over twelve days, going from Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, to Kenya’s Great Migration and ending ceremoniously in Rwanda.

The African odyssey will bring guests to the most splendent views amidst natural phenomenons, such as Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, upriver from which guests will reside at the Matetsi, where they can immerse themselves in 55,000 hectares of protected wilderness.

Along the Okavango Delta in Botswana, guests will have the  opportunity to see Africa’s ‘Big Five’; lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. Guests will stay at the Xigera property, described as a ‘living gallery’, showcasing design inspired by the Delta, and works by the continent’s most celebrated creatives. After a few days in the Mara North Conservancy in Kenya, where guests will have experienced the breadth of wildlife from walking safaris to a hot air ballon ride along the Mara river, the trip ends with guests coming into intimate contact with the world’s last wild mountain gorillas at Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

Two trips will be taking flight in 2024 aboard the ‘beyond first class’ Emirates A319 Executive Private Jet, with carbon credits matched to emissions.

August 10-22 2024 and August 25 – September 6 2024 are the two trip dates. Limited to 10 guests each and $148,000 per person.

bedroom with view of safari

Find out more: roarafrica.com/emirates-gsoe

 

Suvretta House, St. Moritz

snowy landscape with hotel

The Suvreta Hotel

Nestled in the valley of the Upper Engadine, St. Moritz, Suvretta House offers storybook winter-scapes and a plethora of Alpine activities to its guests. The resort sits in a natural park two kilometres west of St. Moritz, untarnished by the bustle of winter tourism, promising luxurious refuge in the snowcapped Engadine, with a private ski lift providing direct access to the slopes for guests who wish to embrace the winter sport season.

Bathed in the history and culture of the region, guests can expect elaborate horse-drawn sleighs reminiscent of Schlitteda custom, where young couples would go on rides together. Other attractions include opera and culinary festivals, horse races on the frozen St. Moritz lake, and overwhelming views to accompany a Savoyard lunch from the Suvretta House mountain restaurant ‘Trutz’.

You’d however be remiss to not take advantage of the 350km of ski runs available to guests, along with 220 km of cross country skiing trails, through sunlit valley floors or the illuminated night courses. The resort has even adopted curling, with its own unique Curling Guest Club and natural ice-curling field. Guests can also follow in the footsteps of former world champions who have skated on the Suvretta House ice rink, returning to the elegance and respite of the Alpine castle.

Winter season runs from 8th December 2023 to 1st April 2024. Rooms start at CHF 630. 

hotel living space

Find out more: suvrettahouse.ch

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A lit up hotel at night in front of mountains covered in snow
A lit up hotel at night in front of mountains covered in snow

Badrutt’s Palace Hotel was first opened in St Moritz in 1896 by Caspar Badrutt

There’s a fairytale palace high in the Alps where everyone is a Royal – or feels like one

Hotel trends come and go. Some may remember the white cube rooms of the 1990s, the lobby-bar obsessions of the 2000s, the hotel-as-club revival of the 2010s, and the genericization of hotel bars into David Collins Blue Bar clones at some stage in between.

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Yet the greatest hotels, like the greatest luxury brands, remain effortlessly eternal while never seeming old fashioned, or not to anyone except the most craven and uninformed observer, in any case.

Two grey chairs and a table facing a window overlooking mountains and trees

Views from the Tower Penthouse Apartment

We were collected from St Moritz station by Badrutt’s Palace in a 1960s Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. The two minute ride to the hotel was effortlessly majestic. It suited a palace hotel so entwined with royalty that the Shah of Iran, in his famously vainglorious attempt to recreate Darius the Great’s Persian empire at Persepolis in 1973, flew the Badrutt’s staff out to run the occasion. Nobody else would suffice for the King of Kings.

Breakfast at Badrutt’s is in some ways the encapsulation of the place. In many luxury Alpine hotels, you have a homely, nutty buffet. Here, you sweep down the stairs, past a harpist, into a vast grand dining room. The buffet stretches the length of the room on one side, with picture windows facing the lake and mountains on the other. People dress up for breakfast here, even though it’s not a requirement. The buffet itself starts with an intricacy of cut fruits, segues through a vast array of hot European foods, a forest’s worth of different seeds and berries, and finishes at the far end with “hausgemacht” miso soup, bao, and dim sum. Among all the other guests, it’s quite easy to spot the regulars and long-termers, looking like a Hollywood portrayal of European aristocracy.

A terrace with chairs covered in fur blankets looking over snow covered mountains

The terrace from the Tower Penthouse Apartment looking over St Moritz’s mountains

Our rooms at Badrutt’s were outliers: the Tower Penthouse occupies the whole of the iconic top part of the hotel, and is effectively a three floor private residence, with a huge living area, private terraces, kitchen and dining room, and more bathrooms and bedrooms than we could count. The master bedroom was by itself at the top of a spiral staircase, with views across St Moritz and the lake and mountains.

St Moritz has an appeal as broad as the Palace: in winter you can ski, cross country ski, walk or simply socialise (assuming you know the right people, darling); in summer you have some of Europe’s best hiking to hand, as well as a variety of mountain sports.

A lounge overlooking a large window with mountains covered in snow outside it

Le Grand Hall

Generations of European aristos, meanwhile, have learned how to dive, belly flop or jump from the top of the rock garden that has been built into one end of the huge indoor pool; swimming lengths in the pool involves a constant view of the next gen wealthy adapting their jumping techniques; meanwhile the outdoor spa pool has full drinks and food service, so you can sip your aperol while gazing at the mountains and having a water massage.

A living room with a long dining room table and chairs and cream couches with a black coffee table in the middle

The Tower Penthouse Apartment drawing and dining room

But while the hardware of the hotel has an eternal class, the software – the people hosting you – are even classier. This is where luxury hoteliers go to learn how to be luxury hoteliers. One efficient young chap serving at breakfast, who we vaguely recognised from our last stay four years previously, effortlessly remembered our coffee orders from last time and brought Tabasco sauce to the table unheeded, again a memory of the last stay.

Read more: Francis Sultana: The life of a leader in design

Does he have an astonishing memory or was he just very well briefed? It doesn’t really matter – and what is remarkable in this era of high staff turnover is that the staff at Badrutt’s are always there and always remember.

A terrace overlooking a lake and green mountains

Views of the lake in summer time from the Tower Penthouse Apartment

In that, they feel like they are your personal staff; unlike many hotels, it’s a place you feel like you could move into and live in, because, despite its grandeur and array of offerings – as well as the restaurants inside the hotel, Badrutt’s also owns the wonderful and iconic Chesa Veglia pizzeria across the road – each guest somehow feels like the staff are just there for them. Quite a remarkable achievement.

Rates: From £1500 per night (approx. €1725/$1850) for double room.

During the winter months, the Tower Penthouse Suite starts at £13,580 per night (approx. €15,550/$16,625) 

Book your stay: badruttspalace.com/reservations

Darius Sanai

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A yellow hotel with a lake and mountains behind it
A yellow hotel with a lake and mountains behind it

Summer at the Kulm Hotel, St Moritz

The hotel that invented the winter holiday also offers an escape from over-sultry summers – as well as some of the most thoughtful luxury in the world

As summers get warmer, summertime in the mountains becomes ever more attractive. At the end of July, sitting on a balcony with warm sunshine by day and cool air descending from glaciers by night seems a positively refreshing prospect – particularly if it is combined with some of the greatest hospitality the world can offer.

A man holding a mirror on a dry mountain with a town in the dsisance

Rocky mountains and a camera magna photograph of the scene at St Moritz by photographer Daniel Meuli

The Kulm Hotel, St Moritz, was the original luxury hotel in the Alps. From your balcony, you can see over the whole town, the lake and a 270-degree view around the mountains beyond.

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Downstairs, you are in a subtly modernised grand dame of an hotel – the kind of place where a new generation understands and pays homage to the class and style of generations gone by.

beige and ref furniture in a living room

Modern-classic elegance in the Corvatsch Suite

If you want a break high up in the forest, you are here already – the resort is surrounded by hundreds of miles of woodland and meadow. If you want to feel you are amid the heart of the jet set, you are also in the right place, as you can stroll across to the Kulm Country Club, a restaurant and members’ club serving some of the greatest food in Switzerland.

red chairs by a window overlooking a lake and mountain covered in trees

A glorious view from a nook in the lobby

There is a large indoor pool, an open-air pool, spa with everything from steam room to saltwater grotto, and gardens with that mesmerising view.

Read more: Jean-Baptiste Jouffray on the future of the world’s oceans

An outdoor pool with steam coming out of it surrounded by grass

A breath of fresh air at the outdoor wellness pool

The Kulm may be more famous as the original and greatest of all Alpine ski hotels in winter, but for sunshine, purity of air, cuisine and some very classy encounters, summer is the time to come.

Find out more: kulm.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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woman walking in the snow
woman walking in the snow

Get set to hit the slopes in new-season sustainable style. Compiled by Candice Tucker

A black puffer ski suit

This sleek, high-performance Prada ski suit is made from a two-layer technical nylon with goose down and proprietary graphene padding, which comes with high thermoregulation capacity. It all makes for the perfect combination of fashion and function on the slopes.

prada.com

A pleated khaki neck cover wit a zip

Bogner‘s bust front is the essential item for your ski bag. With its hi-tech materials, this weightless, head-turning piece will keep you warm for those all-important hot- chocolate breaks. Sometimes you just need that extra layer.

bogner.com

A wooly grey and cream coat

This Lindley cotton-blend knitted coat by Isabel Marant is snug and cosy but effortlessly stylish – just the thing for walking around the village in Zermatt after a long day of skiing, or enjoying a pizza with friends at Chesa Veglia in St Moritz.

isabelmarant.com

A black and green turtle neck jumper

A strong contender for the turtleneck of the season comes from the iconic Moncler Grenoble collection. This wool and cashmere knit is ideal to wear for strolling around an alpine village, enjoying fondue in the chalet or to shrug on under your suit for some ski action.

moncler.com

 

wooden skis

Rossignol has launched Essentials, a recycled and recyclable ski range. While conventional skis have an average recyclability rate of just 10 per cent, over three-quarters of these ski materials can be recycled. So you can be both eco aware and performance conscious, too.

rossignol.com

black leather helmet with yellow visor

As Fusalp knows, safe doesn’t have to mean boring, and the brand has a reputation for chic, high-quality skiwear. Available in black and white, this helmet, with its leather band across the top, will match any ski suit and ensure you stay secure while looking the part.

fusalp.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX

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bentley car driving amid mountains
bentley car driving amid mountains

The new Bentley Bentayga Hybrid is a lighter-feel luxury SUV that’s a wonderful mix of refinement and muscle

In the third part of our supercar review series, LUX gets behind the wheel of the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid

If you need an example of how the attributes of heritage luxury car brands have to change in the new world of sustainability and electrification, look no further than Bentley. This is a company that has been making cars that are primarily distinguished by their immensely powerful and vocal petrol engines for more than 100 years. Taking the petrol engines out of Bentleys would be like taking the leather out of a Chesterfield.

This latest model we drove is not electrically powered, but it’s a halfway point. The company’s luxury SUV is typically distinguished by its massive 12-cylinder engine (although there are models available with a V8). Here we have a hybrid version, with a six-cylinder petrol engine accompanied by an electric motor.

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Does it work? That depends: if you’re listening for that V12 ‘whoof’, and expecting the distinctive power characteristics – speed and responsiveness to increase in tandem – you may be disappointed at first. In fact, the sound is the most notable characteristic of this car, as going from a Bentley V12 to this is rather like going from wild to farmed beluga. Still good, but not what you’re used to. But, given that in a few short years no engine will make any sound at all apart from a faint hum, this is really a moot point.

Bentley beige car interior

One other characteristic a traditionalist will welcome is the lighter feel: there is less engine in the nose of the car. It feels quite alive around corners on country lanes on the way to one’s architect-redesigned Oxfordshire manor house.

Black car dashboard

That is the kind of lifestyle this car is aimed at and it does an excellent job. The interior feels like sitting in a well-appointed bank vault with windows onto which the outside world is projected. Unlike some very powerful SUVs, it doesn’t feel like it wants to race every car from the traffic lights. It’s not exactly serene – it’s a Bentley after all – but it’s a wonderful mix of refinement and muscle. If you’re an enthusiastic driver, you won’t complain about the relatively agile handling, excellent roadholding and responsiveness at speed. You may wish for a little more feedback and involvement, though, as this car is set up more at the luxury end of things.

Read more: Why You Should Get Your New Car Ceramic Coated

Your passengers will enjoy the crafted feel of the interior, which really does feel a cut above almost any rival. It may not feel as passionate as the SUV offerings from Lamborghini or the Mercedes G 63, but it aims to do a slightly different job, rather more grown-up. It is also a car you could get in to drive from the Cotswolds to ski in St Moritz in one day, and arrive refreshed and ready for the slopes. And the fuel savings from the new electric-petrol engine will pay for a couple of drinks at Pavarotti’s.

LUX rating: 17.5/20

Find out more: bentleymotors.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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A palace surrounded by green grass, a river and mountains
A palace surrounded by green grass, a river and mountains

Exterior view of the 19th-century Grand Hotel Kronenhof in the Swiss Alps

In a high valley near St Moritz, the Kronenhof in Pontresina combines Swiss culture with a Mediterranean mountain vibe. Who needs Portofino?

One of the drawbacks of being in the mountains is that you are at the bottom of a valley, in the shade, when all around you is bathed in sun. This is not a problem that the Kronenhof, in Pontresina, will ever have. The village of Pontresina is located on a south- facing shelf, above the bottom of the valley that connects St Moritz, in Switzerland, with the Bernina Pass over to Italy.

The entrance of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof

The Kronenhof, in prime position on this shelf, feels like it is floating above the forest coating the valley floor (and dropping into a precipitous gorge, if you look closely enough). And from the lawns outside its swimming pool area in summer, you can see the Alps lined up, facing you, glowing gold-green in the sun.

A whirlpool by a window with a forest outside

The whirlpool inside the hotel’s spa

It’s a strange and wonderful feeling, being here in summer. On the one hand, you are 1,800m (about 6,000ft) up in the mountains; the air is very precise, very pure, and will leave normal people puffing if they try to run.

A whirlpool by a window with a forest outside

The whirlpool inside the hotel’s spa

But on the other hand, this is the southern side of the Alps, contiguous with northern Italy and the South of France.

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The mountains to the north hold back the wet northern European weather and this is one of the sunniest parts of the continent, meaning you can sunbathe most days during the summer, while gazing up the valley, opposite, at the glaciers of the Bernina mountain range.

a bedroom

The luxury Bellaval suite, offering the most spectacular views in the hotel

If it does rain, just step inside. The pool, possibly the best in Switzerland, has a glasshouse view of the scenery, as well as a very therapeutic series of vitality pools and spa, above.

A bar with wooden walls and ceilings and red velvet chairs

The Kronenhof Bar

Upstairs, the newly refurbished bar has brought a little urban chic to this mountain outpost, but, above all, this is a classic Alpine luxury retreat. The bars and clubs of St Moritz might be just a 10-minute drive away, round the forest, but you come to the Kronenhof, with its contemporary-chic bedrooms and light and views, to be in the centre of the high Alps, and also away from everywhere.

Read more: See The Light: Cascais, Portugal

Hike up the mountain and to the Segantini Hut with its views across half of Switzerland, visit the Alp Languard panoramic restaurant for a lunch of local roesti and meats, and be back for an apero in the bar. And then there’s the 200-year- old Kronenstübli restaurant with 16 Gault Millau points…

Find out more: kronenhof.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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mountains and an alpine lodge on the grass
mountains and an alpine lodge on the grass

Photograph of the Zermatt valley by Sheherazade Photography

The yacht’s being refurbished, you’ve done Ibiza too many times, the Hamptons are too cliquey and Bodrum is so 2021. So where to head this summer? Allow LUX to offer you some recommendations from one of our absolute favourite summer destinations (and no, this is not paid-for content): Switzerland

Switzerland in summer: panoramic views, (mostly) blue skylines, clean air, no crowds, teeming wildlife, one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, some of the best hotels in the world, and activities from kitesurfing and kayakking to glacier skiing and wine tasting. What more could you want? Perhaps, just a little guidance through the options, to get the very best out of your Helvetian experience.

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1.Zermatt
Zermatt is, in effect, the epicentre of the Alps, in a valley surrounded by more than 30 of the highest peaks in Europe, which glow white with permanent snow even on a hot summer’s day. And it’s usually warm and sunny here: the resort is on the border with Italy and if you take a telescope to the top of its highest peak, Monte Rosa, you can see the spire of Milan cathedral.

Every type of mountain activity is available, including summer skiing at the top of a Swarovski crystal-encrusted cable car. It is also a paradise for mountain dining, with more fine dining spots than St Tropez, better views, and fewer crowds. Try the Findlerhof for its beautiful local farmers’ meat and cheese platter, and epic Matterhorn views; and Restaurant Zum See for an idyllic gourmet experience in a meadow at the foot of the peaks. In the village, we had a highly memorable meal at the restaurant in the hotel Omnia, all pared-back boutique chic and astonishingly vibrant flavours.

A bathroom with a view of the Matterhorn

The view from a bathroom at The Cervo Hotel

Stay at: The Cervo is Zermatt’s eco-resort, and its owner, Daniel Lauber, is a passionate and thoughtful sustainability pioneer. One of the most thoughtful sustainable hospitality experiences, from the biodegradable slippers to the renewable energy heating system – tough, at 1600m altitude. The food, all sourced locally, is both hearty and magnificent and the staff have risen impeccably to the challenge of finding excellent wines and cocktail ingredients with a local remit.

2.Badrutt’s Palace, St Moritz

A brown grand hotel exterior with a garden in front of it

Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St Moritz

Badrutt’s is St Moritz, or so you will probably think after staying there. The hotel dominates the valley and lake like a citadel. The service became legendary even before the former Shah of Iran flew its staff out to serve a banquet marking 2500 years of the Persian Empire at the palace of, near Shiraz, in 1972. It’s the kind of hotel where the staff know what you’re thinking, before you do.

Read more: A Tasting At One Of The World’s Great Champagne Houses

The facilities make it, effectively, a holiday in one property: huge indoor pool with picture window, lawns and gardens (in the middle of St Moritz!), fine dining in a formal banquet hall which makes you feel like Audrey Hepburn (whoever you are), and across the road, its own pizzeria at Chesa Veglia – in reality a top social spot in its own right. And the views across to the mountains are inspiring.

3.Gstaad Palace

A large palace style hotel with a pool in front of it

The piscine at Gstaad Palace

The Palace is a hotel that will whisk you into the jazz era even by thinking about it. This is a place where generations of European aristocrats have visited to stay and dine at; or to play tennis on its impeccable clay courts, or dance at its Greengo nightclub (in summer, it incorporates the indoor pool as a bar and terrace). It’s a perfect base for walking tours, or for strolls around Gstaad’s chi-chi high street, or just to exist in and take the air and dream of eternal youth.

4.The Alpina Gstaad

A palace and a garden

The Alpina Gstaad

Two luxury hotels in one place? Mais oui; the Palace and the Alpina are like Meursault and Margaux, we couldn’t live without either of them. The Alpina has contemporary style and vibrancy within the envelope of Alpine glamour (unlike some new luxury hotels in the Alps, it’s not pretending to be in Brooklyn), an outdoor pool with heart-melting views over the mountains, an equally gorgeous indoor pool and spa, and one of our favourite Japanese restaurants outside Japan.

5.Dinner at the Nira Alpina

a wooden restaurant with a panoramic view of the mountains

Nira Alpina Stars Restaurant

The Nira Alpina is a hotel and restaurant resort on the edge of the high Engadine valley, between Lake Sils, inspiration for poets and artists, and buzzy St Moritz. Its rooftop restaurant, Stars, has a dramatic view across the valley and lakes where daytime kitesurfing gives way to reflections of the moon by night, and over to the jagged mountains on the other side. It’s at the foot of the Corvatsch mountain, which makes for energetic hiking in summer; at the end of a long walk down from the Fuorcola Surlej pass, we love indulging in a glass of Franciacorta here, followed by a bottle of vibrant Chardonnay from the nearby Bündner Herrschaft wine region, accompanied by its delicate, locally-sourced mountain food, big on herbs and vegetables from the nearby high valleys. We haven’t stayed at the hotel, but the restaurant is an experience in itself.

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grand swiss hotel
grand swiss hotel

The Badrutt’s Palace hotel’s grand frontage and its iconic tower.

High in St Moritz, the grandest hotel in the Alps has just been revitalised. There’s nowhere better to take the summer air with your entourage than Badrutt’s

What could be better than the Helen Badrutt Suite at Badrutt’s Palace? Yes, we know there are some pretty swanky hotel suites out there. The Abu Dhabi suite at the St Regis in the namesake emirate has its own spiral staircase and cinema. The Presidential Suite at the Mandarin Oriental in Pudong, Shanghai, has floor-to-ceiling windows over the city and its own wine cellar and roof garden. Stay at Seven South at the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman and as well as 11 bedrooms, you get a free painting to take home.

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But still. Enter the Helen Badrutt and you don’t feel like you have arrived, or paid what it takes, so much as having been granted entry to a very exclusive club, in one of the world’s most desirable pinpoint locations. Badrutt’s Palace is the acme of palace hotels in St Moritz, the world’s most exclusive mountain resort. It’s the fact that it has been so for more than a century, despite its location 1,800m up in the Swiss Alps, that provides a clue to the exclusivity: this is where blue bloods, royals, pretenders and their circle have played for more than 100 years.

luxurious hotel drawing room

The drawing room of the Helen Badrutt Suite

When the Shah of Iran decided to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire with the grandest dinner in the history of the world in Persepolis in 1971 (an act of indulgence that ultimately contributed to his downfall in the Islamic Revolution), he flew in the staff from Badrutt’s Palace. And staying in the Helen Badrutt, you are the crème de la crème of the hotel’s guests (or perhaps the Shahanshah).

Read more: Speaking with America’s new art icon Rashid Johnson

It might be the living room, with its grand décor, bottomless drinks cabinet refilled with spirits in decanters (no tacky miniatures here), Persian carpets and chandelier; or the balcony terrace looking out over Lake St Moritz and the mountain beyond, big enough to host a party for 20 people (we did); or the silent-quiet bedroom or marble bathroom; or that it can interconnect privately to form an entire wing of ten bedrooms.

outdoor swimming pool

The Badrutt’s Palace pool overlooking Lake St Moritz

Maybe it’s the butler service, which, unlike some more thrusting hotels, is almost entirely seen and not heard, Jeeves-style (we don’t know about you, but we don’t need butlers knocking on our door and asking what to do; they should know already, as they do at Badrutt’s).

In any case, staying in the Helen Badrutt bestows upon the visitor a sense of history, transforming the humble paying guest into a multi-suffixed European aristocrat with seats in each major city of the Holy Roman Empire and a foundation in a castled town in Westphalia from where a tweed-suited team of faithful retainers disburse philanthropic goodness to worthy institutions around the world. Or so it feels, anyway.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf on Georgia O’Keeffe’s enduring influence

And even if that nuance escapes you, there is the rest of this glorious destination to enjoy. The Palace driver (there is a Rolls-Royce, of course) will whisk you to the foot of the Languard chairlift in nearby Pontresina, for example, from where you waft upwards through a magical larch forest where unknown creatures seemingly create tiny gardens in tree stumps; and from the top of which there is a view to the end of the Roseg valley where mountains live in permanent winter.

hotel suite drawing room

A newly refreshed St Moritz Suite

Or if you prefer to stay in St Moritz, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chopard, et al, are metres, or in some cases centimetres, from the Palace. And if you prefer to stay in the
hotel itself, there’s the swimming pool with its celebrated rock garden to dive from (a kind of mini Alpine Acapulco) and spa, tennis courts, adventure playground and kids’ club.

And the best thing? Well, even old money needs refreshing sometime, and during lockdown the Palace has had more than 40 of its rooms and suites redecorated – the official word is “refreshed” – by New York design studio Champalimaud, which has brought fresh blues and whites and a kind of Alpine light to the rooms. Which means that even if you’re not old-guard enough, there’s a place for you.

Book your stay: badruttspalace.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 Issue.

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Design exhibition with contemporary furnishings
Design exhibition with contemporary furnishings

Italian design studio Draga & Aurel’s ‘Mimetic Dialogues’ took inspiration from the Alpine setting of St. Moritz

Earlier this month, the invitation-only design fair NOMAD returned to St. Moritz for its third edition, showcasing collectible objects and furniture in the grand setting of Chesa Planta mansion. Rebecca Anne Proctor shares her highlights from the fair

Giustini/Stagetti Rome

Roberto Giustini and Stefano Stagetti’s gallery favoured a minimalist aesthetic to showcase pieces from Italian design masters such as Gio Ponti, Franco Albini and Gino Sarfatti alongside a selection of international contemporary designers. Andrea Anastasio‘s collection of glazed ceramic ‘blossoming’ white vases, Giacomo Moor‘s ash and olive wood desk, and Paolo Tilche‘s wicker chair were amongst our favourites.

Design exhibition display with minimalist display

Giustini/Stagetti Rome at Nomad St. Moritz

The Masters by Au Départ + Mazzoleni

Founded in 1934 as one of four original Parisian luxury trunk makers, Au Départ was reborn in 2019 with a fresh collection of products designed for the contemporary globetrotter. The NOMAD exhibition showcased the company’s collaboration with Mazzoleni art gallery, displaying a new line of bags alongside exclusive carpets by Illulian Design Studio that have shaped Au Départ’s physical environments since its launch. On the walls, were striking works by Italian post-war artists such as Agostino Bonalumi, Alberto Burri, Enrico Castellani and Lucio Fontana.

Design display with contemporary objects and furnishings

Draga & Aurel’s display featured resin-topped furnishings

Mimetic Dialogues by Draga & Aurel

Multi-disciplinary Italian design studio Draga & Aurel’s presented a unique display of sculpture pieces made especially for Nomad and inspired by the Alpine setting. We loved the glassy resin-topped stools and benches set on industrial cement bases.

Grand drawing room with plush furnishings

Volumnia at Nomad St. Moritz

Volumnia

Gallerist Enrica de Micheli‘s newly opened art and design platform Volumnia presented a selection of renowned Italian design objects including a rare coffee table and lamp by Max Ingrand for Fontana Arte, Lady armchairs by Marco Zanuso for Arflex and a sofa by Federico Munari, alongside contemporary pieces such as a Mongolian fur carpet by Pier Francesco Cravel and Marcello Bonvini, and a chandelier by Simone Crestani and Davide Groppi.

Luxurious interiors of a drawing room with contemporary furnishings

Mercado Moderno at Nomad St. Moritz

Mercado Moderno

Rio de Janeiro-based Mercado Moderno presented voluptuous and earthy interiors from the likes of the Mameluca Studio, Gisela Simas, Gustavo Bittencourt and Inês Schertel. The most striking piece on display was the Cafofo Shelf by Mameluca Studio, which was custom-made for the exhibition space. Inspired by Brazilian natural diversity, the shelf offers an alluring multi-level assembly in various woods.

Find out more: nomad-circle.com

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Reading time: 2 min