Spotlight on the Luxury Ski Resorts in Switzerland
Switzerland is inextricably linked to skiing and everything alpine, so it’s not surprising that it is one of the world’s most popular winter destinations. The Swiss Alps exude a wholesome, healthy and fun charisma where visitors know they can expect the very best quality. Whether it’s premier skiing, luxury ski chalet rentals or top-tier restaurants, Switzerland delivers. We’re turning the spotlight on the top selection of luxury ski resorts in Switzerland.
Gstaad is a playground for the rich and famous, who enjoy the array of cultural activities and opportunities for socializing in high-class circles. Popular events include everything from SommetsMusicaux de Gstaad to the Hublot Winter Polo Gold Cup. Away from hobnobbing, the international jet set enjoy the surrounding Gstaad Mountain Rides snowsports area and so can you! It has an enormous variety of runs so every level of skier will find something to suit their abilities. The ski slopes near to the town center are excellent for beginners and intermediates.
Gstaad has a fairy tale setting in the Saanen valley complete with a picturesque castle that presides over the village. The resort is completely pedestrianized and adheres to strict rules to preserve its alpine charm and restrict development. Consequently, the area is beautifully unspoilt, but still contains numerous luxury boutiques, art galleries, and museums. Those in the know head to the Gstaad Palace Hotel for drinks and dine at the Michelin-starred Sommet Restaurant at the Alpina Hotel. Luxury accommodation is abundant, but Chalet Amala really shines as a super-cool yet laid-back chalet that is ideal for large groups of friends or family to share. The 7-bedroom property is full of fluffy throws and bespoke comfort and there is a wonderful outdoor terrace where you can enjoy breakfast each morning looking out onto the mountains.
Zermatt is the place to come for upmarket fun and it has plenty to do on and off the slopes for all ages. Zermatt is a nice compromise between purpose built resorts and authentic alpine villages. The car-free resort feels more like a village than you might expect and all the accommodation is tastefully designed so it doesn’t blot the skyline. Visitors are lured to Zermatt by the promise of stunning vistas, which include the picture postcard view of the legendary Matterhorn – its triangular shape acting as an inspiration to the design of Toblerone.
The resort has more than 250 km ski and snowboard runs and some of those are Italian trails that can be reached from Zermatt’s lift stations. Although most runs are geared toward intermediates and experts, a number of easy and scenic runs do exist. Zermatt is the perfect Swiss destination for foodies since it has the highest density of gourmet restaurants in the world. The restaurants are not limited to the town, and Zermatt boasts some mouth-watering regional cuisines at its many mountain restaurants such as Findlerhof, Chez Vrony, The Paradies and Adler. Back in town, you can stroll through the streets that are lined with interesting boutiques and more gourmet restaurants like After Seven and the Michelin-starred Ristorante Capri on the top floor of the Petit Cervin Hotel.
Although the views from Zermatt’s mountain restaurants are spectacular, you could experience this from your own luxury chalet rental if you make the right choice. The talented and popular architect, Heinz Julen, designed one of the finest buildings in the resort. Originally intended as his very own party pad, the Heinz Julen Penthouse clings to the rocks above the resort and offers some of the best views of the surrounding mountains through huge picture windows. The whole interior is infused with natural light, but when the sun goes down, guests can party with a state-of-the-art music system and an under-lit coffee table that can be raised to the ceiling.
St Moritz is undoubtedly one of the most glamorous resorts in the world, if not the most glamorous. The international jet set has flocked there ever since the 1920s when it hosted its first Winter Olympics. St Moritz is set in a remote valley on the shores of a pretty lake. Framed by a backdrop of soaring glacial peaks, the area embodies stereotypical alpine charm, but with a big dose of sophistication. The resort itself isn’t the central attraction, but the views from the resort are some of the most picturesque in the Alps. The mountains to the Southeast – such as the majestic Piz Bernina (4,049m) – form the border with Italy. Befitting its sports championship heritage, St Moritz has an abundance of physical activities for visitors to enjoy. This spectacular setting plays host to all manner of sports on ice: horseracing, greyhound racing, and cricket, besides the standard skating and ice hockey.
Chalet rentals in St Moritz are among the most luxurious in the world. Chalet Chesetta, for example, is an ideal choice for families. The highly esteemed style magazine Harper’s Bazaar said the seven-bedroom chalet offers “the perfect escape for all the family.” Chalet Chesetta is located a few minutes drive from St Moritz in the village of Silvaplana, which has long been a celebrity hideout and has featured in several James Bond movies. Among the amazing five-star features, the chalet has a Bose home cinema, a gym, a sauna and a playroom, making it perfect for all ages.
A well-heeled crowd of discerning skiers have made Verbier their winter destination of choice on an annual basis. Many of these visitors are expert skiers who get a thrill from conquering the resort’s challenging terrain and a number of professional skiers also call Verbier home. It is one of the best off-piste resorts in the world and hosts spectator events such as XtremeVerbier (the finals of the Freeride World Tour). It’s the largest resort of the 4 Vallées ski region, with over 400km of runs, including a formidable collection of glaciers and deep powder bowls. The views from this corner of the Alps are equally impressive, reaching as far as the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. The gondolas can take you up to 2,700m, and the top lift on Mont Fort reaches a heady 3,330m, making this one of the most snow-sure places to ski in Europe.
Verbier has some of the most luxurious ski chalets to rent in Switzerland, not least, the stunning nine bedroom chalet, The Lodge. Sir Richard Branson owns the property and has made sure everything is state-of-the-art from furniture and fixtures to decor. Even its gym comes with a plasma TV, DVD, and music system. When you get tired of luxuriating in your swanky chalet, you can check out the Coco Club – the first VIP club in the Alps aimed at celebrities and billionaires. It’s signature cocktail, the “Coco Chalet” is the world’s most expensive cocktail with a price tag as high as Verbier’s mountains.