Engadin St. Moritz in 60 Hours

Thursday

6 pm - Arrive and take a deep breath

Is there a nicer sound than the crunching of fresh snow underfoot? Exactly – so let’s get out there! Wrapped up nice and warm let’s set off for an evening stroll through Samedan. And in a matter of minutes the crisp mountain air has cleared our head of all our everyday worries. After just a few steps through the romantic village setting we feel calm and collected – and ready to enjoy a special form of relaxation…

7 pm - Switch off and immerse yourself

The Mineral Pool & Spa Samedan promises pure enjoyment for body and soul. Switzerland’s first ‘vertical’ mineral spa is certain to enchant with a dream world geared to all the senses and set out on three floors. Within the atmospheric architectural setting guests bathe their way through a maze of bathing pools and steam rooms, right up to the whirlpool under starry skies.

Friday

9 am - One full circuit

Each downhill run is a new experience. The Engadin Ski Safari runs from Corvatsch to Diavolezza via Corviglia and takes in all the highlights of the Engadin St. Moritz region in a single day. Those unwilling to seek out the ideal racing line for themselves will take to the slopes in the company of a guide.

4 pm - Après-ski in the gondola

After a day on the slopes the decommissioned Diavolezza gondola on the roof of the Quadrella multi-storey car park has to be the first port of call. Indeed, La Gondola is the very latest après-ski venue in St. Moritz. By contrast the legendary Roo-Bar at Hotel Hauser is a favourite watering hole among ski instructors, who will be only too pleased to let you in on the best piste tips.

7 pm - Culinary excellence

For a tasteful treat in stylish surroundings, a table reservation at Talvo by Dalsass in Champfèr is a must. A Michelin star shines brightly about this gourmet restaurant. Its radiance signals the lightness and simplicity of Mediterranean cuisine of the highest standard. Those in search of a less celestial regional cuisine will head for the cosy and congenial atmosphere of the Veltlinerkeller in St. Moritz Bad, a favourite among the locals.

10.30 pm - The nearest whisky bar…

… might not be the one at Hotel Waldhaus. But it’s certainly the largest. No venue anywhere in the world boasts a larger selection of whiskies. With 2,500 different whiskies to choose from, the experience is a mouth-watering one for single-malt enthusiasts; it has certainly earned the Waldhaus Bar an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Sláinte!

Saturday

9 am - On the right track

220 km of pure winter delights: not only is the network of cross-country tracks in Engadin St. Moritz set among one of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable, its snow is virtually guaranteed. And on the 42 km between Maloja and S-chanf it also features the most famous course in Switzerland, namely the Engadin Ski Marathon. It’s best to pick a relaxing section to acclimatise – in fact, the run from the historic Church of San Gian in Celerina across the wide open plain could not be gentler.

11.30 am - Magical trails

It doesn’t get much more romantic than this. The sound of bells jingling gently to the thud-thud-thud of the horses’ hooves trotting from Pontresina to the Val Roseg is enough to warm anyone’s heart, no matter how low the temperature. Wrapped up snugly inside cosy warm blankets you glide through the fairytale winter wonderland. But it’s not a tale that end after a hour, because the next stop brings up the next highlight: the Restaurant Roseg Gletscher.

12.30 pm - All resistance at the dessert buffet is futile

As you look up from the menu at the Restaurant Roseg Gletscher your gaze drifts out to the snow-covered valley beyond, a haven of calm and tranquillity far from the madding crowd – and the ideal spot to concentrate on what’s really important, namely treating yourself. Local specialities are just the starting point for the grand finale: the dessert buffet, famous far beyond the Engadin itself.

2 pm - Tread softly

A short post-prandial walk has to be a good thing, especially against such a backdrop! So rather than letting yourself be chauffeured back in the horse-drawn carriage, enjoy the walk through the fairytale forest of larch, Swiss pine and spruce as you listen to the gentle babbling waters of the Roseg stream and the crunching of the snow underfoot – and you’ll find yourself making your way back not just to Pontresina, but to your inner self.

3.30 pm - Roofless landmark

It was in 1682 that a bolt of lightning struck the late Gothic tower of the Church of San Gian near Celerina. No-one back then could have imagined that, more than three hundred years later, it would still stand unrepaired. Today San Gian is the region’s landmark. A visit of the church is best combined with a small snack at a Beizli along the cross-country ski track, the ideal spot to watch the skiers – and time itself – glide gently past; and all the while the Engadin heavens feel that little bit closer.

7 pm - Night-time spectacle

Friday nights is when the mountainside comes alive. This is when nightlife sports enthusiasts get together for the Snow Night event on the Corvatsch, an opportunity to ski down Switzerland’s longest floodlit piste to the valley below – until hunger takes over.

8.30 pm - Slope-side culinary treats

Those in the know always look forward to the delicious polenta served from the huge copper cauldron. But the Alpetta mountain chalet at the very heart of the skiing region also has lots of other tasty treats in store for everyone. It’s where locals and guests alike celebrate the culinary side of the Snow Night.

Midnight - One last round

The name says it all: The Hossa Bar under the heated marquee is where night skiers congregate to party in the jumping alpine chalet atmosphere before speeding off for the final valley run. The Hossa-Kafi is the legendary nightcap.

Sunday

10 am - Hot chocolate Grisons-style

The best hot chocolate anywhere in the valley is served in the cafés of the Hauser and Hanselmann patisseries and confectioners, the sweetest way to start off the day. And there’s one other temptation that simply has to be succumbed to. Nothing compares with the Bündner Nusstorte (Graubünden nut torte) made by these two confectioners.

11 am - Time-honoured witnesses

Duly fortified, nothing now stands in the way of our quest to retrace the history of St. Moritz as part of a small tour of the 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.

11.30 am - Where it all began

It was up here that winter tourism was first invented 150 years ago. In 1856 Johannes Badrutt opened the Kulm Hotel, the first luxury hotel of the Alps, and it was also here at Christmas in 1878 that Switzerland’s first electric light was switched on. Even for non-residents it is well worth enjoying an espresso 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.

2 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 finest and most elegant of fashion stores. It is also the site of the stately Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, which has often been referred to as ‘the drawing room of St. Moritz’ – indeed, the magnificent setting of the grand hotel lobby is a spectacle in itself.

3 pm - Fast track to happiness

Nowhere is the view more intoxicating. To travel up to Muottas Muragl on board the historical funicular railway is to step into paradise. Idyllic winter hiking trails lead through the alpine panorama while a spectacular toboggan run winds its way 4 km back down to the valley.

3.30 pm - Dining delights in prospect

Not only is the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl the first plus-energy hotel in the Alps, its innovative cuisine is also a cut above the rest. While regional and Mediterranean cuisine blends with the alpine backdrop into the ultimate treat in the Panoramic Restaurant, the Restaurant Scatla serves good value snacks and other delicious dishes for those who are just a little peckish.

5 pm - The journey is the reward

Plenty of poets and thinkers have found their inspiration on Muottas Muragl. Retracing their steps along the Philosophers’ Trail not only puts you in touch with their lofty thoughts, it also opens up the vista onto what is arguably the most stunning panorama anywhere in Switzerland.

6 pm - Back down to the valley

Graubünden’s second oldest funicular railway has been reliably rattling its way up and down the mountain for more than one hundred years. Its role is to transport its guests up to seventh heaven in a matter of minutes – and take them back down again to the valley below, fulfilled and contented.



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