Lorraine Earl: Gemstock at 2961m
Posted: 16 December 2015
Andermatt is a traditional Alpine resort that is undergoing a significant resurgence. With investment reaching into the billions of Swiss Francs, along with the impossibly stylish, award-winning The Chedi, Andermatt hotel, skiers will love more than the challenging terrain. The Swiss Resort is very much back in the limelight and is turning heads, once more.
At a cost of more than 300 million CHF, the GHM Hotel is borne from an Asian passion for design and service. Having won the ‘Best Swiss Ski Hotel’ at the World Ski Awards, for the second year, along with the coveted ‘Gala SPA Award, the leading SPA Award for luxury SPAs in Europe, The Chedi Andermatt certainly has a lot to shout about! Our Ski Specialist, Lorraine Earl, was fortunate enough to visit this forward-thinking luxury hotel in order to see for herself why The Chedi Andermatt has caused quite an avalanche, in design terms, and how it has breathed new life into a beautiful, and more discreet, ski resort.
Lorraine’s Ski Visit:
On arrival into Zurich Airport, we caught the train from the Airport Railway Station and enjoyed the superb views of the passing mountains, from our comfortable First Class compartment. Just two hours later, we arrived at Göschenen railway station, and The Chedi Andermatt concierge team had arranged a complimentary transfer for the ten- minute drive to the hotel (there is a station in Andermatt itself, however it is quicker for the hotel to collect guests from nearby Göschenen).
Along with being impressed by the hotel’s stylish architecture, my first real impression was how well-located the property was. Skiers could simply walk to the chairlift for access to the Nätschen ski area, which is best for beginners, or the hotel’s Ski Butlers could take guests to the cable-car for access to the Gemstock Mountain. This is more suited to Intermediates, off-piste skiers and free-riders. In very good snow conditions the hotel could almost offer ski-in and ski-out access.
On entering the hotel, I soon realised that it was mountain-style lodge, quite unlike anything which I had seen before. With warm woods, natural stone and cutting-edge architecture, it screamed style, quality and high-end service. Whilst the Andermatt village itself may be traditional and a little sleepy, this hotel is very much of-the-moment and boasts an enviable facilities list and superb dining menus. With plenty of open interior space, there are several cosy lounges, real fires and day-beds, with faux fur artistically draped about. It was clear that the hotel was conceived for well-travelled weekenders, or couples looking for more than simply a luxury ski experience. The hotel flows beautifully, inside and out, with walls of glass enabling guests to admire the view of the idyllic mountainside.
The hotel boasts an attractive 35-metre-long indoor pool with glass ceiling, which overlooks the hotel’s own incredible ice rink! Here, guests can ice skate or have a game of curling, all whilst eating hot roast chestnuts and mulled wine! A great view from your hotel room too! The hotel also serves a refreshing Afternoon Tea with an Alpine twist — we particularly enjoyed the sweet and savoury Swiss specialities! I really loved the fact that guests have of ample space to lounge and relax inside the property — from The Wine and Cigar Library, to the Bar area, Living Room and main Lobby. Even the enormous bedrooms have their own fireplace to slumber and rest beside!
Dining is definitely a highlight here, The Restaurant, offering all-day dining, serves a menu of central Swiss, European and flavours of the East. With four Theatre Kitchens, guests have full view of the kitchen staff at work, plus there is an impressive five-metre-high cheese cellar to savour! Gourmands will adore The Japanese Restaurant by Hide Yamamoto, which serves delicate and authentic Japanese cuisine. We were fortunate enough to experience a private dinner during the second night — after cheese and wine-tasting, in the mighty cheese cellar with hotel sommelier, we ate Asian food including Dim Sum, followed by traditionally prepared Veal and Swiss specialities. Should you feel like any midnight snacks, there is also the benefit of a 24-hour in-room dining service available! For those guests staying a little longer, they can also venture out for dinner within the Andermatt Village centre. An easy ten-minute walk away from the hotel, there is a traditional fondue restaurant where the fondue is made with white wine, Kirsch liquor, lemon juice and a mix of Swiss cheeses, including Gruyere, and served with local meats and crusty bread – very rich but delicious!
For those keen to get skiing, the hotel’s ski butlers are superb – they fit your boots in the ‘Living Room’ and even put them on your feet! There is all new HEAD equipment at the ski rental outlet and I was honestly impressed by the quality. Once set, the butlers shuttle you to the Intermediate or Advanced Gemstock Mountain Cable Car in just five minutes. Alternatively, opposite the hotel is the train station and chairlift to the sunny Nätschen side of the mountain - snow -sport enthusiasts are simply spoilt for choice at Andermatt! Upon your return to the hotel, after a hard day on the slopes, the Ski Butlers will greet you with a hot chocolate before skilfully taking your boots off for you!
My last morning in Andermatt was spent enjoying a guided tour of the village with ‘Benz’, an enthusiastic local, who told us about the history of the village. I was also excited to learn about the ongoing improvement plans for ski lifts and the local infrastructure. I am sure that we will hear plenty more about Andermatt in the future.