When I was invited to go to visit The Chedi in Andermatt for a luxury ski and spa weekend I received a mixed reaction from friends, family and others from the luxury ski industry. Many hadn’t heard of the relatively unknown resort of Andermatt, needing to ask “is that a ski resort?” or “which country is that in?” However, those in the know were full of superlatives about what has been one of the most exciting hotel developments the ski industry has seen in recent years, and this “little gem” of a resort that is investing a great deal in its infrastructure and development in order to make a statement of intent, to put itself firmly on the map of luxury Swiss ski resorts.
Let’s find out what all the fuss is about……
On arrival, any journey stress from taking five trains (yes five!) to arrive into Andermatt from Zurich Airport was swiftly thawed given the incredibly warm, relaxed and professional reception. The hotel’s almost theatrical 5 metre high lobby area sets the ambience that flows throughout the hotel with wood-burning fireplaces and sumptuously comfortable sofas, with floor to ceiling picture windows that look into the whopping 35m indoor swimming pool. If that wasn’t big enough for you, there are an additional 12 metres of doggy paddle possibilities in the outdoor pool.
We requested a brief tour of the hotel before heading to our room and went off to explore the best suite in the hotel, the incredible Furka Suite with its private wellness area consisting of sauna, steam room and hot tub, a Grand Deluxe Suite, and a tour of the communal areas; the vast restaurant with the eagerly anticipated full-height glass cheese room (we will see you tomorrow morning Mr Cheese!), the bar with outdoor terrace and fire pits, and the ski room where we were then introduced to our “ski butler” who was on hand to get Fran and I fitted, readying us to hit the slopes the following morning. 6 star service from the off.
The hotel complex is spread across seven separate but interconnected “chalets” which consist of 49 hotel rooms and suites, 55 apartments and penthouses, and 65 privately owned apartments, the majority of which are rented out as hotel rooms by their owners.
We were shown to our Deluxe Room, a beautifully designed and spacious 55m² room. This was one of the standard category rooms in The Chedi and yet it would easily put to shame many of the bedrooms that some hotels would classify as a suite. The rooms’ functions such as mood lighting, fireplace, and all media are controlled through an IPad, making it easy to control everything you need from the comfort of your bed…..after all, we came here to relax didn’t we?
After hearing so much about it before our stay, we were extremely excited to get our kit off and head to the 2,400m² spa and wellness area. Wow! We were not disappointed….in addition to the swimming pools there are two steam rooms, three varying temperature (33, 38 and 42 degree) hot tubs, an invigorating plunge pool and an abundance of lounging areas so that one can kick back and enjoy 40 winks after the rigours of a workout in the very impressive gym.
The first evening we decided to head into town for an eagerly anticipated cheese fondue at a small local restaurant that was recommended by the hotel, the “Gasthaus Ochsen“. Just a short stroll through the town of Andermatt and we arrived in the convivial atmosphere in the restaurant. Obviously a favourite of the locals, it was clear to see why the restaurant was recommended to us. The fondue didn’t let us down. Mouth wateringly silky smooth and utterly delicious. We retired to the comfort of our bed absolutely satisfied that we were going to have a memorable 3 nights’ stay at The Chedi.
I woke in the morning like a child waking up on Christmas Day morning, waiting to unravel the awaiting presents…..except my presents this morning were to be the discovery of the ski area, and more importantly, the cheese room at breakfast!! No, last night’s fondue obviously didn’t give me a sufficient fix….I needed to experience the room that we were both so excited about. A vast buffet breakfast with all of the expected and more (a stunning eggs benedict the choice of the morning), was then followed by the cheesy pinnacle. Pick and choose from an amazing array of delicious cheese that will ensure that you start the ski day with an adequate calorie burn challenge.
We picked up our skis and rolled out of the hotel. First stop was the most local area of Nätschen, just a minutes’ walk or 30 second chauffeured drive from the hotel. We opted to walk in order to start the calorie burn. South facing and focused mostly around beginner and early intermediate skiers, we jumped on the rather archaic two person chairlift (the higher lifts are much newer and more efficient!), had a quick blast around a few short and wide reds in the sunshine in order to break in our ski legs.
We then headed over to the area known for its extensive off piste, the north-facing Gemsstock, with a peak of 2,961 metres, making it the largest mountain in the ski area. Gemsstock is for experienced skiers looking for knee-deep powder and steeper terrain. The top station provides access to the famous 4.3km Bernhard Russi run and some legendary off-piste routes such as The Guspis and Geissberg.
We skied the beautiful long and rolling red “Sun Track” piste and then the long black run back down into Andermatt. This is possibly the prettiest run in the Ski Arena, affording beautiful views over the town of Andermatt and the surrounding mountains.
We headed back to the hotel, dropped off our skis and picked up a sledge each, then hopped on the Matterhorn Gotthard railway that took us back up to the top of Nätschen. The sledging descent was recommended by our ski butler and was most definitely sound advice. A short walk from where the train dropped us, we accessed the piste and boarded our sledges with a childlike excitement. It was going to be a very competitive husband vs wife race to get to the mid-way agreed apres-ski RV point. A swift stop to enjoy the panoramas and a warming Jaeger-tea before we then hopped back on the sledges for the last part of the run back to town.
Top to bottom in around 20 minutes, it’s a lengthy run with plenty of opportunity to “whoops and giggles” – just remember to follow the sledge-posted directions on the final stage as otherwise you will end up like Fran and I, hurtling down a quite steep section of blue and then at the end resembling a “White Walker” due to being covered head to toe in the spray of snow kicking up from putting my feet down, trying to prevent a nasty injury!
For our second night we opted to eat at the main hotel restaurant. It wasn’t a hard menu choice to make when presented with the opportunity to indulge in an Asian Taster Menu. Two courses each consisting one Thai, one Chinese and one Indian dish. Why haven’t I come across this combination before?! Dim sum, Thai beef salad, steak in black pepper sauce, and a sumptuous Murgh Makhani chicken curry were just a few of the delicious treats on offer.
Both too full to think about desert, there was only one decision to make, cheese or no cheese?! Time for a “lightbulb moment” and I then asked one of the waiters if we were able to take some cheese to the bedroom…..”of course Sir, would you like to accompany me to the cheese room to select your plate and we will then take it to the room?”…..the service just went up to 7 star in my eyes. As you can see from the above photo, the suggestion definitely had Fran’s seal of approval! In bed watching the movie The Big Short, with a glass of red in one hand and plate of cheese in the other, and wife by my side. My life felt utterly complete. Time for cheesy dreams.
We woke to another bluebird day and, after a quick breakfast, jumped on the Matterhorn Gotthard railway again but this time headed for the ski area of Oberalppass. Another south facing area, bathed in sunlight throughout the day. I have been advised of the plans to link the area with Nätschen for the 2018 season which will greatly improve the efficiency of skiing the two areas without needing to precisely time your train departures.
Oberalppass is ideal for intermediate skiers who are looking to hone their technique on long, cruisy reds that run down into the village of Dieni. This is the most extensive area of the Andermatt-Sedrun Skiarena. It’s a spot where family and groups of friends will be able to easily ski at their own pace with plenty of options for spots to meet for a drink or lunch.
After another tiring day on the slopes we had to re-energise ourselves with a trip to The Chedi spa. We had booked an hours’ treatment each, Fran having the Signature massage and I chose the Balinese massage. We warmed ourselves up first in the steam rooms and hot tubs before being welcomed into our own private massage suite to get ready to bed down for a body pummel. Ensure that you give yourself an hour or so after the treatment to further the feeling of serenity in the “relaxation room”. The therapists at The Chedi are exceptionally well trained, offering an array of treatments. It’s easy to see why city professionals from Zurich would head to the hotel for a weekend escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life, or simply for a romantic break away.
Feeling thoroughly relaxed and somewhat sleepy, we got ourselves ready to head into town for a quick bite and beer before getting an early night to make the most of the sleep time away from the children. We ate at The Spycher in the centre of the town, serving delicious stone baked pizzas and a potential new favourite, “Schneider Weisse” beer. A match made in heaven.
So, that pretty much sums up a fantastic few days spent in an undisputedly first class hotel. The Chedi did not fail to live up to expectations, it exceeded them. The longer that I was there, the more I fell for its charms and very personal and relaxed atmosphere. For those looking for the ultimate escapism to the mountains, in a resort where skiing and spa indulged pampering are the fundamental focus rather than apres-ski and shopping, The Chedi in Andermatt could well be your utopia.
We are delighted to welcome The Chedi Andermatt onto our portfolio at Ski In Luxury. I am sure that it will be a firm favourite of our clients for many years to come. Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss a potential visit to Andermatt, or call one of our team on +44 (0)1202 203650 to enquire further.