James Fisher swoops down the slopes in Switzerland, embracing a land of alpine elegance and fantastic sporting opportunities.
Disembarking from the train at St Moritz station is like stepping through a timewarp. The porter is waiting, dressed immaculately in green and black, to lead you to the 1940s Ford bus that will transport you through the white vortex and into the antique mystery of Suvretta House.
In the face of the gargantuan nature of alpine Europe, Mankind exists merely as an afterthought, occupying gaps in the hills, almost cowed by their majesty. Suvretta, however, dominates those mountains and the town of St Moritz. It’s a vast Teutonic lodge at the foothills of some of the finest skiing Europe can throw at you.
Inside, ladies of an unfathomable age play bridge silently, high tea is served gracefully, a piano tinkles tunefully and armchairs face the vast windows that frame the mountains on the other side of the valley. It’s comforting, luxurious and, above all, intimate.
St Moritz is the birthplace of winter sports and Suvretta holds that tradition to its heart with its proximity to the slopes. A private ski lift means that Suvretta is the only ski-in/ski-out hotel in the town and the on-site ski shop means that guests literally never have to leave the building. The details matter here: each guest is given a private locker and there’s no better feeling than pulling on your pre-warmed boots at the start of the day or taking them off next to the fire when you return.
The rooms are as comfortable as you would expect from a five-star hotel, and balance modernity with history seamlessly: USB sockets and Smart TVs meet exposed beams. An array of luxury shops fills the bottom floor and, if the feeling takes you, you can even go home with a Picasso, as well as a smile. Suvretta is not a package holiday – it’s the full package.
Double rooms from CHF410 (about £330) per night, on a half-board basis, www.suvrettahouse.com
While you’re there
- Eat at one of the many restaurants on site: Suvretta Stube is a more relaxed affair, with lashings of raclette, or visit the Grand Restaurant (jackets and ties for the gentlemen, long dresses for the ladies, please) for pure gastronomic excellence.
- On the mountain, Trutz is the ideal spot for a midday lunch, with a perfect mix of Swiss specialities and alpine classics. Chasellas, located a 10-minute walk uphill from Suvretta, is a more Mediterranean affair, and superb.
- If you’re not as good at skiing as you think you are, don’t worry. The Suvretta Ski school will show you the best runs and iron out the kinks in your technique to let you really dominate the mountain.
- Feeling brave? Take on the mighty Cresta Run, a natural-ice skeleton tobogganing track. Or, for something that produces slightly less adrenaline, book a private curling or ice-skating lesson at the hotel.
The real Parmesan cheese, true Parma ham and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, all confined to one region of production. Alexandra Fraser
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