Combining old-world refinement and 21st century glam, iconic St. Moritz destination Badrutt’s Palace Hotel makes for the ultimate Alpine escape.
In a picturesque lakeside setting in the heart of St. Moritz, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel has charmed A-list travelers for generations.
Whoever said getting there is half the fun may well have had St. Moritz in mind. To reach this postcard-perfect Swiss Alpine village tucked in the Engadin Valley at 6,000 feet, we board a train in Zurich and set off on a three-and-a-half-hour voyage so breathtaking it crosses over a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The train climbs and winds; the sun-dappled hillside outside Zurich gives way to snow-covered evergreens, sheer cliffs and vertiginous peaks; and we glide across dozens of bridges and through kilometers-long tunnels, the views growing more magnificent with each hairpin turn. How could St. Moritz itself live up to this?
The answer is three words: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. An iconic St. Moritz locale since 1896, the stately, turreted property is still owned by the same family, and its reputation as the poshest destination in a village brimming with posh destinations precedes it. So, of course, we are greeted at the train station by a uniformed driver, who escorts us to a gleaming Rolls-Royce and chauffeurs us a few blocks uphill to the hotel (standard practice for guests arriving via train). And, of course, the hotel’s setting is as breathtaking as our train journey: Perched above the glassy waters of Lake St. Moritz and surrounded by chic boutiques on the famed Via Serlas (Gucci, Dior, ski outfitter Ogier and countless others), this place is fabulosity personified—and an ideal oasis for its jet-setting clientele of international A-listers.
In-room dining is a tempting option.
For the hotel’s guests (many of whom have been visiting Badrutt’s for generations), St. Moritz’s winter season is all about world-class skiing at nearby Corviglia, and the hotel caters to those schussers’ every need. An expansive gourmet breakfast spread served in the elegant Le Restaurant dining room makes for the most civilized of pre-ski fueling, not to mention primo people-watching. After a day on the slopes— or perhaps snowkiting, tobogganing or Skijöring, in which you’re pulled on a ski or snowboard by a galloping horse across the lake—you can soothe sore muscles with a spa treatment, time in the steam rooms or saunas, or a dip in the indoor or heated outdoor pool, both with stunning Alpine views. Or just retreat to your elegant accommodations: Each of the hotel’s 155 rooms and suites beckons with classic contemporary furnishings, many with private balconies featuring showstopping views of the lake and mountains.
Posh surroundings in the St. Moritz Suite
But it’s after dark that the Palace truly comes to life. The hotel hosts 10 restaurants each winter season, including exquisite Japanese/Peruvian cuisine and equally delicious people-watching at La Coupole-Matsuhisa in Badrutt’s glammed-up former indoor tennis hall; candlelight and traditional cuisine—including a delectable tableside-prepared stroganoff that will make you rethink your notion of the dish—at uberromantic Le Relais; and, in the hayloft of a stunning 1658 farmhouse a stroll from the hotel, Pizzeria Heuboden at Chesa Veglia, whose brick oven turned out one of the best pizzas this Chicagoan has ever had. After dinner, you can continue the party at Chesa Veglia’s cozy upstairs Bar Carigiet, or return to the hotel for a martini and cigar in sophisticated surroundings at the clubby Renaissance Bar. For true night owls, there’s King’s Social House, Badrutt’s subterranean nightclub (the oldest in Switzerland), which thumps with an international crowd dancing to music spun by international DJs till the wee hours.
Paradiso St. Moritz beckons with mountainside lounging, bites and DJs.
From that electric nightlife scene to the world-class skiing, incredible dining and luxe spa amenities on offer, it’s no wonder Badrutt’s Palace continues to draw the most discerning of travelers. That said, it’s the impeccable service—which we witness on full display during every meal and with every cheerful greeting and warm conversation—that keeps those visitors coming back year after year, says managing director Richard Leuenberger.
Even the swimming pool has inspiring views.
“Our staff know the [returning] guests personally, know which room they prefer to stay in, which cigar they enjoy most in the evening and which food their dog prefers. Our employees exude genuine passion—and the guest feels this, making their stay an unforgettable and unique experience.” One thing is sure, we think to ourselves as we board the train taking us back to Zurich: This place most definitely lives up to the journey.
Gorgeous lake and mountain views from the St. Moritz Suite
New for this season: Acclaimed Danish chef Eric Kragh Vildgaard—known for his two Michelin-star restaurant Jordnær—is set to lend Badrutt’s Palace his culinary expertise in a two-month residency at the prestigious hotel. From Dec. 1 to Feb. 4, foodies will have the opportunity to taste tempting creations from the chef, who is renowned for his seafood-driven gastronomy and innovative culinary presentations. This collaboration will mark the first time the distinguished chef’s cuisine has been made available for tasting outside Denmark for an extended period. Eric and his wife, Tina, bring together environment-conscious fine dining practices and exceptional culinary skills and promise to offer exceptional dining experiences that blend the richness of Danish cuisine with a Swiss alpine flair.
Photography by: TOP PHOTO BY FABIEN GATTLEN/ALL COURTESY OF BADRUTT ’S PALACE HOTEL