St Moritz is among the best known ski resorts, worldwide, and needs little introduction.
Winter destination of the rich and famous, this posh location is more than just a shopping mecca and place to show of designer ski wear; it’s also a great place to ski, especially good for intermediate skiers.
Fly into Engadin and you’re ten minutes from the resort. From Zurich by train is 3 hours, or you can drive it in about 2.5 hours.
St Moritz has the distinction of being the first all-round winter sport resort in the world, and it has used this head start to great advantage, building its reputation and facilities over the years to provide a great overall winter holiday experience.
If we had to name the one ski resort that attracted the most financially elite clientele, this would be it. What that means to those of us with the need to keep at least one eye on the budget, is that care is needed when planning a trip to this area. It also means, however, that there is plenty to do and see, from fine dining and outrageously expensive boutique shops, to the more usual dining options and shopping experiences.
St Moritz itself is made up of three villages, each in the vicinity of the lake, and each with its own target clientele.
St Moritz Bad is a typical resort village, and probably what most of the population is used to when it comes to amenities and prices. Just over a mile from St Moritz Bad is Dorf. Dorf is right on the lake, is known as the more expensive option and boasts high-end restaurants and shops, luxury hotels, and sophisticated nightlife.
A couple of miles further on is Celerina. This little spot has become known as Little Milan (Piccolo Milano in Italian) as it is a favourite of Italian visitors. As you might expect then, Celerina is a great place to catch a good meal after a full day of skiing – that pasta dish to fuel you up for the next day on the slopes.
Regardless of which village you stay in, it is easy to hop between them, either by road or from the mountain, as each one is connected to Corviglia (the main ski area) by lifts.
Since St Moritz is reasonably high in altitude (pistes from 1720 to 3305m) and is in the south of Switzerland, close to the Italian border, it gets the best of high-altitude snow reliability, along with a more than generous share of sunny days throughout the season.
With 93% of the available runs rated for Blue- or Red-level skiers, St Moritz is excellent for intermediates. There are some Black runs to keep the experts engaged, and a few easy ones for novices, but the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle.
The King’s Club, in the five-star Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, is elegant as well as fun, and patrons should expect to dress well (even black-tie for some events). They offer DJs, dancing and the usual refreshments, and are open from 10:30pm until the party wraps itself up. Come prepared for fun – and with a well-stocked wallet.
Another good party spot is Hemmingway’s Club. A little less expensive than King’s, and usually more relaxed and vibrant, the party starts here at 11pm and goes until around 6am, when the last die-hard patrons call it a day.
For a quiet drink and a round of darts on a budget, Bobby’s Pub is the best spot. Play some pool, sample a wide range of beers from around the world, and enjoy some of the more than two million songs available on the digital jukebox… a little piece of the UK on the slopes of St Moritz!
When it comes to meal time, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Economical choices include Veltinerkellar, in Bad, for fresh pasta and charcoal-grill-cooked meats and fish; or Trutz, an Italian-style establishment (atop the Suvretta House Hotel’s private lift) that also serves local puddings that are worth a visit in themselves.
Higher-end options include the Restaurant Chasellas, also run by Suvretta House, which specialises in high-rated gourmet meals in the evening; and Chesa Veglia, which offers a wide range of Italian and Swiss dishes, including steaks and fish, at suitably upmarket prices. The establishment itself is comprised of three restaurants and two bars, so make sure the one you choose offers the kind of fare you’re after.
There are other excellent activities in St Moritz, for adults and families, and some of them may be quite surprising. In keeping with the posh reputation, St Moritz offers ice-cricket as an off-slopes activity and, as far as we know, it is the only resort that does so. Along with this they offer skating, curling, golf, polo, show jumping, horse racing… and all of it on the frozen lake!
The Ovaverva Sports Centre, in St Moritz Bad, has a fitness centre, indoor and outdoor pools, and restaurants.