Switzerland is well renowned for being a popular skiing destination. It has strong influences from its French, Italian, German and Austrian neighbours, yet retains its own distinctive identity. Geographically breathtaking, high altitude resorts, excellent on and off-piste opportunities and a lively après ski scene, some of the most luxurious accommodation in the world and restaurants to climb for.
Our friends at Bespoke Switzerland outline 12 reasons to choose Switzerland for the upcoming 2014/15 winter season.
Switzerland has some of the world’s most stylish and glamorous ski resorts, with the celebrity meccas of St Moritz, Gstaad, Zermatt, Klosters and Verbier tending to monopolise the headlines. If you are asked what the most exclusive ski resort in the world is, most people would say St Moritz. Glamorous, chic and naturally expensive, St Moritz is understandably exclusive and preserved as a haven for the rich and famous. The skiing is varied and extensive with an excellent snow record and you can even hire your own mountain for exclusive VIP night skiing. Alternatively, Klosters is famous for its connections with the British Royal Family, The Casa Antica nightclub or the Chesa Bar which are favourite hangouts for the rich and famous.
The Chalet Chesa Falcun in Klosters is set over four floors with six bedrooms, sauna, steam shower, relaxation and massage rooms and an outside covered jacuzzi. The large sunny outdoor terraces provide fabulous southerly views.
OFF PISTE SKIING – FINDING THE BEST POWDER
There are many Swiss ski resorts that offer exciting off piste opportunities, but for those who want to ski off-piste, Klosters truly comes into its own – the off-piste skiing/ snowboarding is one of Klosters’ best-kept secrets. Although there is a vast range of skiing and snowboarding which appeals to all levels including gentleslopes for beginners.
ACCOMMODATION: EXQUISITE HOTELS, CHIC CHALETS AND HIDDEN GEMS
With so many amazing hotels on offer throughout Switzerland it is easy to oversee the hidden treasures which Bespoke Switzerland know are there! Exclusive, luxurious chalets – some in the towns and villages, others more secluded with privacy guaranteed and access to the most amazing scenery and activities.
Chalet Lottie, once an authentic farmhouse, is now a super luxury 14 bedroom private chalet in Gstaad. With a private and elevated location just outside Gstaad, guests are transported to an idyllic and secluded haven of exceptional service and cuisine. Facilities also include an outdoor hot tub, sauna, gym and cinema room.
The Lodge in Verbier is one of Sir Richard Branson’s holiday retreats and one of Switzerland’s most exclusive chalets. Spread over five floors, the nine-bedroom chalet has a staff of 13, including an activities co-ordinator, spa therapist and chefs trained by Raymond Blanc and can accommodate up to 18 guests.
SKI AND SPA
Bespoke Switzerland know all the best spa’s and wellness retreats on offer in some of the worlds most amazing luxury spa hotels. Time to detox and de-stress!
The Alpina Gstaad recently opened it’s beautiful Six Senses spa which, along with an array of après ski treatments, is committed to avurvedic and Tibetan philosophies. Here you can have traditional massages or personalised, week-long food and detox plans.
The Chedi Andermatt’s enormous 2,400 square metre spa and wellness centre incorporates ten deluxe treatment suites, an outdoor lap pool and 35 metre indoor pool overlooking the Alps.
Trekking up to a high altitude isn’t only rewarding for adrenaline junkies. Scattered around the Alps, and as typically Swiss as chocolate and cowbells, you will find an abundance of charming mountain huts offering wining and dining that rivals anything you will find in a big city. With 38 mountain restaurants, Zermatt is the resort for those looking for a gourmet ski experience. Zermatt offers the highest density of gourmet restaurants in the world, Bespoke Switzerland organises gourmet ski tours of the mountains where guests can sample menus at restaurants including Zum See and Chez Vrony.
HELI SKIING FOR THRILL SEEKERS
For the adventurous thrill seeker Switzerland is the perfect place to get a taste for heli skiing while immersing yourself in the rich mountain history of the region. From bases in Verbier, Chamonix, Zermatt and Arolla,Bespoke Switzerland offer a wide range of different heli ski adventures. Switzerland has forty two amazing landing sites where the only way to arrive is by Helicopter, no ski-lifts go that far! Bespoke Switzerland offer their clients the opportunity to ski through many remote and amazing areas where no ski resort can replicate.
Verbier is famed for its tough ski runs and trendy après ski. Verbier also has some of the most luxurious chalets in the Alps and attracts celebrities and royalty from all over Europe. The ambience is one of charm and sophistication that also attracts some of the world’s best skiers. The place to be for après-ski is the Cave Bar or Off Piste at the new W Verbier. Right at the foot of the Verbier slopes enjoy a glass of bubbly, local wine or signature cocktails. With a sizzling DJ on the decks, Off Piste will warm up the crowd, whether at the end of a hard day’s skiing or at the start of a night out in the resort.
Switzerland provides some amazing awe inspiring backdrops for skiing, but no view anywhere in the world can match the magnificence of the Matterhorn.
The panorama at the Matterhorn glacier provides a breathtaking view of Italian, French and Swiss alpine mountain giants from an altitude of 12,700feet. Zermatt offers three interconnected Swiss skiing zones, each with its own cluster of lifts and all skiable with a single ticket and accessible directly from town. There are also two ski zones just across the Italian border. Thescenery is unrelentingly stunning but the skiing and snowboarding is even more so, with vertical drops of up to 7,152 feet on terrain that varies from never-ending cruisers to north-facing powder runs.
For the best views of the Matterhorn, stay at The Omnia; a stunning design hotel high on the hill with a lovely spa, cool bedrooms and big views over Zermatt.
NEW SKI REGION – AROSA/LEINSERHEIDE
The new Arosa-Lenzerheide expansion makes the region one of the largest ski areas in Europe and even tennis legend Rodger Federer is having a chalet built in this new trendy area. The new ski region in Graubünden is a match made in heaven and one of Switzerland’s best-kept secrets.Offering 225km of ski slopes, 42 lifts and endless opportunities. The variety of the terrain is also superb: from wide pistes with wide radius curves to steep slopes for adventurous down-hill skiing, there’s plenty to keep your pulse racing. Perfect for alpine snow sports enthusiasts, Arosa-Lenzerheide has been designed to offer winter guests everything they need for an unforgettable ski trip. Throughout the new region you can expect to find modern facilities, excellent restaurants and an outstanding choice of accommodation including the five star The stunning Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa offers an amazing spa, ski out/ski in and its own private funicular to take guest up the slopes.
MORE TO THE MOUNTAINS THAN SKI
Switzerland offers much more than just the best skiing conditions in the world and for those that would like to incorporate something new into their trip Bespoke Switzerland has many fabulous ideas for how to spend your time. From staying in an igloo to husky rides, snowshoeing to cross country skiing, glacier hiking to horse racing and polo on ice, the list of activities and events is endless.