Mountain air: St. Moritz | Travel x Ten


Your guide to the Alps’ original winter playground

In 1864, St. Moritz became the birthplace of winter sports, and more than 155 years later, the upmarket resort in the Engadin Valley remains one of Europe’s top mountain destinations. High altitudes and 88 pistes spread across four main sectors guarantee snow-sure, world-class skiing, while the town’s proximity to the Italian border also ensures plenty of sunshine.

And while St. Moritz retains its reputation as the Alps’ glitziest resort, with high-end hotels lined up next to Michelin-starred restaurants and upscale designer boutiques, the town is also renowned for unbridled sporty fun and both on- and off-snow activities – making it an all-round winner.

Alpine wonders

No visit to St. Moritz would be complete without a scenic walk around its eponymous lake. During the winter months, the frozen water turns into a spectacular setting for polo matches, ice cricket tournaments, the famous White Turf horse race (4, 11, and 18 February 2024), and The International Concours of Elegance (ICE) event (23 and 24 February 2024), during which you can witness some of the world’s most beautiful vintage motor cars glide along the ice.

For that on-top-of-the-world feeling without having to clip on skis, ascend the 3,000m Piz Nair in a funicular and cable car to the peak’s panoramic restaurant, where you’ll be treated to 360-degree views of the Upper Engadin. A combination of train and gondola will take you to another striking mountain lookout, Diavolezza, for spectacular vistas of the Pers and Morteratsch glaciers.

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Back down in the valley, board the Bernina Express for one of the most scenic train rides in the world. St. Moritz is a mid-way point on this single-track journey, which takes passengers on a picturesque route from Chur to Tirano via the Bernina Pass, navigating steep inclines, 55 tunnels, and 196 bridges along the way.

On- and off-piste snow adventures

St. Moritz offers plenty of outdoor activities both on and off the slopes. Avid skiers will relish the chance to hit the slopes at night; taking place every Friday from 7pm until 1am throughout January 2024, or until 2am from February until April, Corvatsch Snow Night offers the longest illuminated slope in Switzerland. A different kind of downhill race can be found at the St. Moritz-Celerina Olympia bob run; the world’s only natural bobsleigh track, and host run of the 1928 and 1948 Winter Olympics, will have you whizzing down at a dizzying 130km per hour. Alternatively, try the legendary Cresta Run, a thrill-inducing skeleton toboggan run that is sure to give you heart palpitations.

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With a proud tradition of ice sports, including ice-skating, ice hockey, and curling, St. Moritz is also the perfect place to get your skates on. The town has a natural ice rink during the winter months, but it’s the Madulain skate line, otherwise known as the fastest hiking trail in the world, that’s the real attraction. Winding its way along the river and through the picturesque countryside, it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful skating tracks in the world.

A more leisurely – and highly romantic – way to explore the area is on a private horse-drawn carriage ride into the Roseg Valley, Fex Valley, or to Lake Staz. Snuggle up with blankets in the fur-lined carriage and admire the snow-covered scenery along the way.

A thriving art scene

While St. Moritz is mostly associated with first-class skiing and a glamorous dining scene, the town and surrounding area also have a long history of attracting illustrious creatives. Stroll along St. Moritz’s streets and you’ll happen upon several architectural gems, such as the 12th-century Leaning Tower, which has an incline of 5.5 degrees – more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Norman Foster-designed Chesa Futura meanwhile, with its 250,000 shingles of larch timber, makes a bold futuristic statement.

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On your wanders, you’ll also spot uniquely decorated farmhouse and church facades, courtesy of sgraffito – an ancient artisanal craft that contributes greatly to the unmistakable charm of the Engadin’s villages. Visit the Segantini Museum to dive deeper into the area’s artistic history, before contemplating contemporary artworks at Galerie Gmurzynska and the 2018-opened Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz. For an unusual art fix, walk through St. Moritz Design Gallery in the Serletta car park.

Dining hotspots

From rustic Alpine huts to international gourmet temples, St. Moritz’s dining scene is second to none. Below are some of our top recommendations – become a member for further suggestions and to secure a table.

On the slopes:

The luxe Italian seafood restaurant opened its first high-altitude restaurant in January 2023, with an expansive terrace offering panoramic Alpine views, and direct ski slope access. If you’re a non-skier, you can also arrive in style by horse-drawn carriage.

You’ll feel on top of the world at this exclusive mountain club, which – at 2,181m above sea level – offers mesmerising Alpine views. Sit outside on the sun deck and soak up the scenery while indulging in hearty Swiss fare and sweet delicacies from the in-house patisserie.

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Muottas Muragl
Another incredible vantage point, the panoramaterrasse of the Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl will spoil you with uninterrupted views and authentic Alpine food such as Engadin-style macaroni with salsiz, roasted onions, and apple compote.

Off the slopes:

La Coupole – Matsuhisa
Talk about a transformation – Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s signature Japanese-Peruvian restaurant is located in what used to be Europe’s first indoor tennis hall. Expect nothing less than expertly crafted fusion cuisine at this stylish glass-domed space at Badrutt’s Palace, which also includes a cocktail and sushi bar.

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Restaurant Cà d’Oro
Located within the elegant confines of Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski St. Moritz, this Michelin-starred gourmet temple is renowned for its contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, to be enjoyed surrounded by stucco and striking chandeliers.

Grand Restaurant Les Saisons
Restaurant Cà d’Oro’s sibling offers the finest steaks from around the world, as well as a highly commendable international menu. The impressive wine list is the perfect accompaniment.

Ristorante Da Adriano
Completing Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski St. Moritz’s triumvirate of restaurants, Da Adriano offers the perfect execution of some of Italy’s finest dishes, presented within an atmospheric Victorian setting. The large Italian wine selection is another highlight.

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Refined without being pretentious, Rolf Fliegauf’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant at Hotel Giardino Mountain delivers one of St. Moritz’s finest dining experiences. The German chef’s four-, five-, and six-course menus focus on seasonal ingredients.

Located in the centre of St. Moritz Bad, this cosy and traditional restaurant offers an atmospheric setting and honest Swiss-Italian cuisine – the pizzoccheri is a standout, as are the meat and fish dishes cooked on a charcoal grill.

Our favourite hotels

Considered to be among St. Moritz’s top accommodation options, our preferred hotel partners offer exclusive benefits for our members.

Grace La Margna

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Described as ‘the first luxurious boutique hotel with an urban touch in St. Moritz’, this newcomer is set to be the ski destination du jour this winter. The plush rooms and suites are spread out across two wings, the restored art nouveau wing and the brand-new state-of-the-art annexe. The Grace Penthouse with a sprawling terrace and scenic views of the Upper Engadin is a design highlight. The expansive culinary offering includes Mediterranean cuisine at THE VIEW, a brasserie menu at THE STACK, afternoon tea at THE LIVING ROOM, and ‘culinary boutique’ THE MAX MORITZ. There’s also a serene spa, featuring a holistic wellness program, and a stylish kids’ club.

Carlton Hotel St. Moritz

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Located high up on the north side of Lake St. Moritz, this palatial hotel is one of St. Moritz’s most iconic destinations. Originally built in 1913, the historical property now features 60 bespoke lake-view rooms, including St. Moritz’s biggest penthouse suite; an expansive spa with indoor and outdoor pools; an on-site ski rental shop; and two fine-dining restaurants – the two-Michelin-starred Da Vittorio, and the brand-new The Grand Restaurant. Based on naturküche (natural cuisine), the latter is helmed by Sicilian chef Salvatore Frequente, who draws inspiration from the Engadin surroundings for his menus.

Badrutt’s Palace

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Arguably St. Moritz’s most iconic hotel, this fairytale-like property continues to ward off stiff competition thanks to its dreamy lakeside setting in the heart of town, historical elegance, and impeccable service. The wide range of facilities, including a tennis court, ice rink, state-of-the-art fitness room, yoga studio, designer shops, and on-site ski shop, cater to every whim. The contemporary spa will take care of all your wellness needs, while epicureans are sure to find plenty to love in the seven restaurants – one of which is the two-Michelin-starred IGNIV by Andreas Caminada.

Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski St. Moritz

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As St. Moritz’s oldest five-star hotel, Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski combines a historical facade with classic interior design. Winter sport enthusiasts will appreciate the direct lift access and ski shop and school, plus tennis and squash center and 24-hour gym. Following a long day on the slopes, skiers can soothe any aches and pains at the luxury spa, which features various saunas, a laconium, an atrium-style indoor pool and Kneipp baths. Three restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Cà d’Oro, take care of guests’ culinary needs.

Words by Verena Neumayr-Howes

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