Insider’s Guide to St. Moritz
I’m one of the reservations team here at Ski Independence and we’re lucky to be able to visit the resorts and properties we offer to ensure we have first-hand knowledge and experience to pass on to our clients. I visited St Moritz in April 2014 and thought I’d write a little insider’s guide to let you know what I thought about the resort and the two different ski areas.
It’s a relatively short and easy journey from the UK. We flew into Zurich with Swiss Airlines and took the train, Swiss Rail, to St Moritz. Anyone used to the Swiss rail network will know they run efficient, clean and comfortable trains with a choice of first and standard class carriages. For many Swiss ski resorts, taking the train is the fastest and easiest way to travel.
St Moritz has two main areas – Corviglia and Corvatsch and I visited them both. Here’s what I found out:
Corviglia & The Kempinski Grand Hotel desBains
We were picked up from the station by our hotel, the Kempinski, and the superb service started there. The doormen already knew our names, carried our bags everywhere, and stowed our skis and snowboards in the onsite ski shop/storage area. Clients staying at the Kempinski can rent skis and book lessons on site, making the process very easy, and the Kempinski have their own ski instructors as do most of the hotels in the resort. We met with the Sales Director of the hotel and he gave us a tour. The Kempinski feels very grand and ‘old money’ and will appeal to guests looking for old school style and sophistication.
Eating at the Kempinski
The Kempinski has 4 restaurants, Enoteca, Ca d’Oro, Sra Bua and Les Saisons. Les Saisons restaurant is the same room where everyone has breakfast in the morning, and Sra Bua is a new Asian restaurant located as part of Les Saisons space. Enoteca is quite intimate and stylish, and Ca d’Oro is proper traditional Michelin star restaurant with prices to match (about £350 pp for the tasting menu).
The breakfast buffet was without doubt the best I’ve ever had. Everything is either home-made or impeccably sourced and there’s even champagne and caviar station to help kick start those tired ski legs.
The Kempinski Spa
The Kempinski spa is extraordinary, there is a large swimming pool, relaxation area and spa with treatment rooms with the main feature being the sauna and steam rooms. This is a nude zone (you have been warned), but everyone does it. There are at least 6 different saunas, all with a different theme: crystal, herb, citrus etc… In addition, there’s a Locatarium, which I’d never heard of, but is a bit like a steam room with a freezing plunge waterfall to brace your pore. There is also a really good ‘ladies only’ area, for those who don’t want to mix naked with lots of men. In the ladies area, there’s a sauna, steam room, foot baths, and locatarium.
The Kempinski is built on top of a natural spring, and the local water is allegedly good for your general health. The spring comes directly into the hotel and you can see the water coming out of the ground, full of iron and really good for you (apparently). For people that want a first class spa, or who aren’t going to ski, this is the place to be.
Rooms at the Kempinski
I stayed in a Deluxe Room which was large and had its own sitting area. The rooms are very traditional and luxurious but don’t expect state of the art touches like iPod docks. Most rooms have balconies and the bathrooms are amazing. The bed in my room was huge and exceptionally comfortable. We were also shown a selection of suites which were outstanding.
The hotel caters for children and has a 2 floor kid’s nursery area which is supervised so parents can enjoy some time to ski or relax. They don’t take babies, but baby sitters can be organized for a fee.
The Kempinski is ski-in/ski-out and located in St Moritz Bad which is just out of the main centre (St Moritz Dorf) which is a short walk or shuttle away.
Corviglia Ski Area
Corviglia ski area is fantastic, with has lots of great off piste, which gets skied out more slowly than resorts which attract a younger and more adventurous crowd. There’s a lot of good high altitude slopes, long wide runs, but it is definitely not a beginner’s mountain with a large number of runs being either red or black. There were lots of places to have a drink or eat on the mountain and of the two, this was our favourite ski area.
Corvatsch & Nira Alpina Hotel
The Nira Alpina really impressed me and was a completely different style of hotel to the Kempinski. It is very modern but with a proper mountain feel. The views from the hotel are amazing and a huge selling point. The Nira Alpina is connected to the lift station by a tunnel; you can ski to the door. The hotel has a lot more modern touches and really impressed me; it’s perfect couples or guests that don’t need a lot of nightlife, because it has everything else.
Nira Alpina Restaurants
There are lots of facilities and places to eat in the hotel, so you don’t really need to venture out, including an Italian restaurant on the lower ground floor, a bistro on the ground floor serving lunch only, their own bakery (this was really good and reasonably priced) an apres ski hut serving fondue and beer outside and a fine dining restaurant on the top floor called ‘Stars’. You can also eat in the bar as we did; they also give you free sausage when having a drink – ideal!
We ate at Stars, which was very nice and serves a mixture of Pan Asian and Peruvian food. A weird combo I know, but very good.
Nira Alpina Jacuzzi
The hotel has a huge Jacuzzi, which was great and even better, nudity was not compulsory.
Corvatsch Ski Area
Corvatsch has a glacier and is the highest of the two mountains, with one or two runs right at the top. It is a smaller ski area compared to Corviglia and the majority of the lifts are drag lifts. This was still a good ski area, but not quite as good as Corviglia. There is also another smaller area called Diavolezza which is about 15 minutes away by bus.
I hope this gives you a taste of the two different areas of St Moritz and of two of our most popular ski hotels in resort.
Anyone in the team here at Ski Independence would be delighted to talk through the options available in St Moritz and you can call on 0131 243 8097 or if it’s easier why not fill in a quick online tailor-made quotation