Engadin St. Moritz in 48 Hours

Friday

5 pm - Arrive and immerse yourself

… as the glowing sun sets on the snow-covered mountain tops. And as the blue twilight hour bathes the Engadin in magical light, the mood around the Lej da Staz (Lake of Staz) is all the more enchanting. The perfect setting, then, to enjoy a stroll, clear the head, and leave the worries of everyday life behind. The fairy tale can begin.

6.30 pm - An apéritif with style

The Engadin’s culture of hotel hospitality is legendary. No fewer than seven five-star hotels in Pontresina, Sils and St. Moritz celebrate good taste. Every evening their foyers, bars and lobbies are transformed into the perfect setting for grand entrances and intimate get-togethers. Nor is there any need to feel intimidated by such occasions. A warm and hospitable welcome is always guaranteed, even in casual attire.

8 pm - Starry nights

As the canopy of stars sparkle in the night skies above, gourmets residing in the Engadin are transported to other spheres by no fewer than seven Michelin stars (and 426 Gault-Millau points). The Gastro Guide (www.gastro-engadin.ch) is packed full of information to help with that all-important choice of restaurant.


Saturday

7.45 am - ‘White Carpet’ on the Corviglia

They say the early bird catches the worm, and indeed, those who venture out first onto the freshly prepared slopes are certain to enjoy an unforgettable experience. The mountain railways and cableways roll into action at 7.45 am on the dot, whisking winter sports enthusiasts up to the Corviglia in time for the sunrise. And as the vast expanses of slopes sparkle and gleam in the first light of day, the endorphins are set racing, too.

11.30 am - Lunch is served!

With no fewer than 15 mountain restaurants and chalets displaying such a great taste in food, you will certainly be spoilt for choice, if only temporarily. Once you’re seated at a table, there’s nowhere else you would rather be. The Piz Nair Panoramic Restaurant has the best views of the Engadin, but just below it (and something of an insider’s tip) is the Lej da la Pesch alpine hut with keenly priced dishes of the day and wonderful salads.

2 pm - Tracking the elite athletes

There are more than one hundred kilometres of exciting pistes on Corviglia/Marguns. Whether it’s the official Women’s World Cup piste with views of the five-star panorama or the black category Olympic piste through untamed terrain, winter sports around here always mean total immersion in a unique natural setting.

3 pm - Sweet temptations

The New York Times rates it as the best crèmeschnitte in the world: the vanilla miracle that is the crèmeschnitte at the stylish El Paradiso mountain restaurant certainly gets the gourmet taste buds racing. It’s also a world record holder: in 2008 the world’s longest crèmeschnitte – at 1.4 km – was ‘constructed’ here between the El Paradiso mountain chalet and the Signal cableway station.

7 pm - Spirited shanty shack

Once upon a time the Baracca stood in a remote mountain valley, providing shelter for tunnel workers. That is, until jack-of-all-trades Max Schneider relocated it to the Signal cableway car park, where it gained a cult following as a bohemian watering hole for elite artists. Patrons are invited to dine at long tables, chat about everything under the sun, and celebrate the beautiful things of life (often into the wee hours of the morning).

10 pm - For night owls and revellers

St. Moritz certainly has some of the finest parties around. Whether it’s the legendary Dracula’s Club, the no less fashionable King’s Club or the Vivai at Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz is renowned for turning night into day.


Sunday

9 am - Spectacle ‘on the rocks’

The ideal way to clear your head: a stroll from Celerina along the world’s one and only natural ice bob run to the big bend known as the Horseshoe. This is where the pros thunder past at spectacular speeds. Which, by the way, is something amateurs can try their hand at too, as a passenger on a ‘taxi ride’ in a four-man bob. Besides the Olympia Bob Run the legendary Cresta Run is also built out of natural ice, every winter. Its members race down the ice run (face down!), some of them in historical costumes.

11 am - A blissful journey

It promises the most beautiful views anywhere in the Engadin (and perhaps even in the world). The historical funicular railway between Celerina and Pontresina makes the journey up to Muottas Muragl. The summit then belongs entirely to winter hikers, from a short stroll to the inspiring Philosophers’ Trail.

12 noon - The best seats in the house

The five-star panoramic view is of course there to be admired from any point along the ridge. However, the new Romantik Hotel on Muottas Muragl does offer the very best (heated) seats in the house, not to mention the finest Grisons specialities. And you needn’t have any qualms about enjoying such luxuries. After all, over the course of a year, the first plus-energy hotel in the Alps generates more electricity than it consumes.

2 pm - Plenty of thrills

High time now to turn your back on the mountain – and race down the region’s greatest toboggan run. The sleds for the thrilling, winding 4 km course are available for hire from the valley station.

3.30 pm - Where it all began

Winter tourism was invented in St. Moritz 150 years ago. However, the famous resort’s history began much earlier, more than 3,000 years ago, when the first mineral springs were tapped and half the known world made a pilgrimage to the alpine village to drink from the particularly iron-rich elixir. It’s a tradition upheld to this very day, with a spring at the spa in St. Moritz Bad still dispensing healing waters for all.

3.45 pm - Prime locations

St. Moritz is arguably at its most glamorous along Via Serlas. The ‘world’s greatest outdoor luxury shopping mall’ stretches from the railway station to the village centre and boasts the most luxurious of fashion stores. It is also the site of the legendary Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, which has often been referred to as ‘the drawing room of St. Moritz’. For non-residents too, savouring an espresso in the hotel lobby is always a treat, with the magnificent setting a spectacle in itself.

4.15 pm - Time-honoured witnesses

An enjoyable way of retracing the history of St. Moritz is to take a small tour of the resort town. In the centre itself, typical Engadin buildings such as the Chesa Veglia (a farmhouse dating from 1658) are a delight. Soaring out of the ocean of rooftops is the Chesa Futura with a façade of 250,000 larch shingles designed by British architect Norman Foster. The hustle and bustle of vibrant village life is to be found along Via Maestra. And showcased up on the hill, high above the village, is the local landmark, the 12th century leaning tower.

5 pm - Tea time!

Adjacent to the leaning tower stand a particular legend. The Kulm Hotel was opened by Johannes Badrutt in 1856 as the first luxury hotel of the Alps, and it was on these premises that Switzerland’s first electric light was switched on at Christmas in 1878. Even for non-residents it is well worth enjoying afternoon tea in the five-star hotel’s historical setting. In fact, it’s something to enjoy in every one of St. Moritz’s luxury hotels; after all, each one has its own signature style and character. While the Kulm is discreetly elegant, the Carlton is splendidly fashionable, the Badrutt’s Palace an utter indulgence, the Suvretta House quintessentially British, the Giardino young and modern, and the Kempinski informally self-assured.



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