This December marks the tenth anniversary of The Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland – and what a decade it has been. The Alpine-Asian hotel has built up quite a reputation for its fresh take on luxury, garnering multiple awards along the way. From the photogenic interiors, sumptuous spa and fine dining to the Swiss-efficient service and, of course, superlative skiing, here’s why you should make this hotel your winter wonderland.
The Chedi Andermatt has been setting the bar for understated glamour ever since it opened a decade ago, in the scenic Alpine village of Andermatt. Set high in the Swiss Alps in the Ursern Valley – between the Oberalp, St Gotthard and Furka passes – it’s proper Heidi territory (and James Bond territory – Goldfinger was filmed in Andermatt in 1964). The two-hour train journey from Zurich – you can also drive – takes us past lush green fields of goats and cows, huge bells around their necks, glacial lakes and pine forests shrouded in mist.
As we ascend – Andermatt is approximately 1,440 metres above sea level – the snow appears, glistening in the wintry sunshine. The ski hotel, just moments from the train station, looks like a traditional Swiss chalet, albeit a gigantic one, with the 123 guest rooms and suites spread across a series of interconnected buildings.
An Asian-Alpine aesthetic
As you sweep through the sliding glass doors into the lobby, the 3.5-tonne Swarovski chandelier above the reception desk sets the tone. The king of luxury hotel design, Jean–Michel Gathy, is behind the decor, blending chalet-chic with a zen Asian vibe. Amongst the deep leather chairs, velvet sofas and roaring fires (just the kind of welcome you want after a day on the slopes), you’ll spot Balinese artwork, Japanese lanterns and latticework panelling that draws inspiration from Thai temples. Nature is nuanced everywhere, from the warm woods and natural stones (all sourced in Switzerland) to the palette of soft greys, deep reds and browns.
The rooms – from the Deluxe to the take-your-breath-away top-tier suites – are equally cocooning. All come with a balcony, complete with a dual-aspect fire that’s controllable by an iPad, huge beds with plush Hastens mattresses, and bathrooms featuring large tubs, heated floors, rain showers and Acqua di Parma amenities.
Hit the slopes
The skiing is exceptional, with ski-in, ski-out access to around 180 kilometres of slopes – on the Gemsstock and Nätschen, in Sedrun and Disentis as well as on Oberalp – covering all bases for skiers. And, thanks to its high altitude, it’s very reliable for snow. The ski resort has a dedicated ski room, of course, where ski butlers in chic Nordic jumpers ensure your boots are warmed, hire you equipment and drive you to the ski lifts (the service throughout the hotel is Swiss efficient and exceptional).
But it’s not all skiing. One morning, we visit the local Bristen Llamas farm for a couple of hours of llama trekking – as we stroll in the mountains leading our furry friends (mine is called Miss Switzerland and has the longest eyelashes I have ever seen), it’s surprisingly therapeutic. Visit this area after the winter snow has melted and there are wildflower meadows, cascading waterfalls and pretty Alpine villages to be explored.
The Chedi’s three-floor 2,4000 sq metre spa and health club is a highlight. The pool takes centre stage – it’s the longest in Switzerland – with floor-to-ceiling glass windows framing the snowy vistas beyond. While guests in fluffy robes lie around on huge day beds, nibbling on dried apple slices and sipping fresh juice, my favourite spot is the outdoor pool where I breathe in the crisp air as steam rolls off the deliciously warm water.
The floor below is home to the gym, sauna and steam rooms, and three hydrotherapy pools; upstairs the ten spa suites are all enormous. It’s here – luxuriating in my heated massage bed, heated neck pillow and heated eye mask – that I have the signature Balinese massage with jasmine oil, my therapist Eva working through all the knots acquired from my exertions on the mountains. The spa also offers Omorvicza and Tata Harper treatments, as well as every manner of beauty treatment.
F&B – and après-ski
Can we start with the cheese, please? The hotel is home to a 16-foot-high, glass-walled, climate-controlled wine and cheese tower housing 43 types of Swiss cheese alone. I spend a happy hour with the cheese sommelier Jennifer, sampling the standouts including a 32-month-aged gruyère. The tower is housed in The Restaurant, which serves an Asian-European menu with the likes of dim sum, black pepper beef, tagliatelle with lemon and caviar, and incredible desserts. The pastry chefs deserve a special shout out – Afternoon Tea, served in a bento box, was the prettiest I’ve ever seen.
Breakfasts are hearty. But it’s the two-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant, accessed via a discreet corridor, which you won’t want to miss. Executive chefs Dominik Sato and Fabio Toffolon also serve up sushi, sashimi and sake on the slopes at The Japanese by The Chedi Andermatt, high in the mountains. Apres-skiers will love the hotel bar – where the cocktails are inspired by fire, water, earth and air and the DJ spins a good tune.
The hotel’s eco efforts are laudable, from the green beauty products used in the spa to the electric vehicle fleet and charging stations (even the Harley-Davidson, available for guests to explore the mountains, is electric). Food is sourced locally and waste is kept to a minimum, electricity comes from wind turbines in the mountains and the hotel also uses solar energy. Even The Chedi Andermatt’s annual pop-up Winter Village, which opens in mid-November, stays true to its sustainable ethos.
The traditional Swiss and Scandinavian cabins – including The Chalet serving raclette and cheese fondue, a Finnish Sauna and (new for this year) The Dome, where guests can enjoy post-ski tipples and star-lit dinners – are all made from local wood. The 250 fir trees that line the snow-covered paths are replanted in Andermatt’s forest once the festive season is over.
A Deluxe Suite at The Chedi Andermatt starts from £680, including breakfast.