A resort that requires little introduction – this Swiss chocolate box resort is praised for being-car free, snow-sure all year round, having over 38 Gault&Millau starred mountain restaurants dotted along the vast ski area overlooking the magestic Matterhorn. Zermatt has managed to retain its charm where so many other resorts have lost there’s. We can say the same for the newly transformed easy going Hotel Schweizerhoff.
Discreetly tucked away on Zermatt’s Bahnhoff Strasse, which as its name suggests, is the road that leads to the train station, a mere 5 minute walk away from the hotel’s front door. What used to be a run down, old fashioned, shabby alpine hotel was acquired by Michel Reybier (the man at the helm of La Réserve group of hotels) in 2017 and underwent an extraordinary facelift lasting all of 8 months, transforming it into a swish hotel and hang out. As you enter there’s an inviting, large open-plan public area with a dining area and bar to the right and left an extensive lounge area that seems to never end. All you want to do is grab a drink from the glowing amber like bar, put your feet up and relax in this homely, relaxed, luxurious alpine retreat. I can safely say that there is no hotel like it in town. No signs of the usual Julen interior design and decoration that can be found in almost all new establishments within the resort. That’s because French-based design firm Kristian Gavoille & Valérie Garcia is responsible for overhauling the 95 rooms and suits and suites.
The team opted for French oak wood throughout the hotel with leather Italian furniture and copper lighting. The walls and shelves are adorned with Swiss-inspired nik naks and amenities including wooden sticks, antlers, cow bells, Matterhorn art and beautiful old books, each sourced from various free markets in France. From 6pm there’s a DJ in the buzzing lounge and next season, part of the lounge will be transformed into a sophisticated night club, something the resort still lacks in.
It feels as though no furnishing has been repeated, all lamps, rugs, chairs and rocking chairs are different and each with their own quirks. If you’re not people watching you’re investigating all the different bits of eye catching décor.
The dining options really give a shine to this hotel. The signature restaurant is as you come in with a spectacular open plan kitchen (the largest grill you’ve ever seen with racks of meat on rotation) The extensive menu features all the home favourites but entirely refined. The burger, truffle infused mac ‘n’ cheese and wood-fired pizzas are most popular and for good reason too. All ingredients are locally sourced and are beautifully presented.
The cheese factory is just across the way in the basebement however we didn’t have change to snoop around although we can confirm that it melt of the delicious cheese, the main ingredient to this kitchen with a menu featuring dozens of upmarket fondues and raclettes.
To the back of the hotel is La Muña, Zermatt’s first and only Peruvian restaurant with a menu of ceviche and other Peruvian Japanese classics. Michel have their eye on this kitchen which goes without saying but the hotel isn’t sure whether to opt for a star because they want to be open to everyone.
The Games and Le Fumoir lounge are just across the way and well worth investigating and whilst you’re at it, try your hand at a game of snooker. If you’re after a livelier atmosphere head to The Cocktail Bar which can’t be avoided. It’s radiant, warming golden glow catches your eye when arriving and leaving the hotel. It’s backed by a team of highly skilled mixologists serving up seriously delicious cocktails. If cocktails aren’t your thing we highly recommend Michel Reybier’s own brut champagne or a glass of Château
Cos d’Estournel – the house red wine from Saint Estephe in France.
Upstairs are the minimal, wooden bedrooms and suites with different coloured velvet finishes, glacier white heated marble bathrooms and kitted out with state of the art in-room technology including Chromecast devises, Netflix, Spotify and RFID room keys. Guests can check in remotely using the hotel’s forward thinking app as well as book a table, pay their bill, book spa treatments, open their room door, speak with the in-house teams and book ski equipment (yes, they have their own ski rental facility). Not far from the ski rental and ski room is the children’s day care centre, a room run by a charming British lady, filled with toys and activities to kids occupied for hours. Whilst the kids are with their pals playing in the centre, parents can indulge in the Hotel Schweizerhof’s spa. Featuring a large indoor swimming pool, three saunas, a Turkish bath and fitness centre it’s impossible to be disappointed. Treatments are with Nescens, a Swiss anti-aging product (used in all of Michel Reybier’s La Reserve spas) in private treatment rooms.
The hotel strikes the perfect happy medium between cool and comfortable. It hasn’t scared off the former hotel’s guests which is somewhat of a rarity in the hotel business and Zermatt’s regulars are flocking there in their masses. Their cool, casual approach when it comes to service and design really stands out and hope the hotel has a fantastic end to the season.
It’s worth pointing out that the Sunnegga-Rothorn valley and Gornergratbahn stations are just a few steps away from the hotel so access to the mountains is within easy reach by foot. A big plus.
Double rooms start from 390GBP. Children go free up until the age of 9 years old.
www.schweizerhofzermatt.ch / +41 27 966 0000