Badrutt's Palace

St. Moritz

Sexy Swiss grande dame with views to die for

Give me the lowdown: Towering over Switzerland’s Engadin valley, bestowing upon the tiny resort of St. Moritz a generous dusting of alpine glitz, the fabled, fairy-tale-turreted Badrutt’s Palace was opened by Caspar Badrutt in 1896. Since then, the luxuriously cosseting mountain enclave has become synonymous with a heady mix of skiing, cocktailing and people-watching. Film buffs will want to stay in Suite 501, where Alfred Hitchcock was a regular guest for decades. The hotel’s epic wood-panelled and Alps-facing lobby Le Grand Hall – ‘the living room of St Moritz’ – is rumoured to be where the director had the idea for The Birds.   

What makes it so luxurious? A heady blend of Old- and New-World opulence informs the hotel’s common areas and 157 airy guest rooms and suites, with no attention to detail being spared. Thoughtful touches include Swiss chocolates and Engadiner Nusstorte provided at turn-down, and a hot water bottle slipped between your high-thread-count sheets. But while the hotel’s extravagant food and drink offering, storied spa and Rolls-Royce guest transfers from and to St Moritz station will delight sybarites, the biggest luxury of all is the view. Book a lake-facing room with a balcony if at all possible.

Food and drink: With six on-site restaurants, dinner might take the form of signature Japanese-Peruvian cuisine at Matsuhisa, bistro classics at British chef Jason Atherton’s dine and dance concept King’s Social House or a reblochon-laden pie at Pizzeria Heuboden. Having noted the genteel ‘jacket and tie required after 7:30pm’ dress code, head to the Renaissance Bar for expert pours and live music, the trace of cigar smoke hanging tantalisingly in the air. 

Tell me more about the spa: Palace Wellness, opened in 1969 as the Acapulco and a veritable catwalk for the glitterati of the day, benefited from a $80 million investment between 2008 and 2010, and now resembles a Bond-style lair for the villain who’s into Ayurveda. Reached by taking a lift six stories below the hotel’s ground floor, then passing along an unassuming corridor, the light-flooded space dazzles, a 25m infinity pool offering sublime lake and mountain views. Elsewhere, there are fitness facilities, Jacuzzis and six treatment rooms.  

What is there to do apart from skiing? In winter, the hotel has its own natural ice rink. There’s a large heated outdoor pool, saunas and, throughout the resort, designer shopping galore. Speak to a hotel concierge to arrange a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around the lake. Do note the hotel shutters for spring and autumn.

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