A brand new feature series to kick off 2024! As head of the Luxury Brand Strategy Bachelor specialization, Dr Barbara Czyzewska knows luxury inside out. She’s also an independent consultant advising luxury service providers on designing unique customer experiences. So who better to accompany us on a tour of the world’s best luxury destinations…
The Insider is thrilled to launch a new feature series in which we will showcase luxury destination around the world, with the aim of highlighting different faces of luxury. In the company of Dr Barbara Czyzewska, we will take readers on a journey across cultures and climates, to discover highly diverse – but always exclusive – luxury experiences.
At Glion, we’re immensely proud of our Swiss heritage, so it’s appropriate for us to begin this new feature series on home soil. And as we’re launching during Europe’s winter, we’ve chosen to present an alpine destination that is most famous for its winter glamor: St. Moritz.
Why St. Moritz?
St. Moritz is often considered one of the most glamorous destinations for winter travel due to a combination of stunning natural beauty, luxurious amenities, and a long-standing reputation as a playground for the rich and famous.
Nestled in the Engadin Valley in the Swiss Alps, St. Moritz boasts breathtaking landscapes with pristine lakes and snow-capped mountains. The stunning surroundings provide an exclusive and picturesque setting for winter activities.
St. Moritz has been a pioneer in winter sports since the late 19th century. It hosted the Winter Olympics in 1928 and 1948, and its frozen lake becomes a playground for activities like ice-skating, polo, and horse racing on ice. The resort offers world-class skiing and snowboarding facilities, attracting enthusiasts from around the globe.
Over the years, St. Moritz has attracted a host of celebrities and high-profile individuals who’ve added to its glamorous reputation. Celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Brigitte Bardot have been known to frequent St. Moritz for winter vacations.
St. Moritz offers an atmosphere of exclusivity and privacy, making it a preferred destination for those seeking a discreet and opulent retreat. The town’s discretion and ability to provide a secure and serene environment have also contributed to its popularity among the élite.
Barbara’s best luxury stays in St. Moritz
Two hotels stand out for me as the pick of St. Moritz:
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel – awarding it 5 stars, the Forbes Travel Guide sums up Badrutt’s Palace as “Classic elegance” and it is hard to disagree.
The hotel was built in 1896 by legendary hotelier Johannes Badrutt. He was the man who launched St. Moritz as a winter destination, having won a bet with some summer guests that they would also experience warming sunshine in the winter months!
The hotel offers 157 elegant rooms and suites, while the Forbes Travel Guide inspector noted the luxurious pool and spa complex as a highlight, adding that “the glass-enclosed indoor pool has views of the mountains, and you can swim from the interior to a heated outdoor pool with even more dramatic vistas”.
Kulm Hotel – a 4 star Forbes Travel Guide property, the Kulm describes itself as “The hotel that makes winter”. For its part, the guide calls the hotel “St. Moritz’s alpine grand dame”, recognizing its storied 160-plus year history and stately décor.
There are 150 rooms and suites to choose from, each featuring distinctive styling. A few years ago, some 40 of the Deluxe rooms were given a refresh that introduced locally sourced woods, jewel-toned accents and noise-reducing carpets for ultimate comfort.
The Forbes Travel Guide inspector recommends to “splurge for a Lakefront accommodation to wake to spectacular waterfront vistas with the mountains as an impressive backdrop. Book a Deluxe room or suite to enjoy those views from your own private balcony”.
Where to eat luxuriously in St. Moritz
I have two recommendations for special places to eat in and around St. Moritz:
Ecco St. Moritz – this two Michelin star restaurant is the culinary playground of Executive Chef Rolf Fliegauf. A seasonal operation, Ecco is open from December to March. It is situated in The Hotel Giardino Mountain, which is located at almost 2,000 meters above sea level, between the Alpine peaks of Corvatsch and Corviglia.
For the ultimate luxury experience, it’s possible to arrange private dining for up to 20 people, and for which Chef Fliegauf will create a bespoke menu to your wishes.
Kulm Country Club – this restaurant, which forms part of the Kulm Hotel, is the brainchild of Michelin-starred Chef Mauro Colagreco and features dishes cooked on a grill or over embers and charcoal.
What really sets the venue apart though, is the music offering curated by Musical Director Arman Nafeei, which includes DJ sessions on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
What to do in St. Moritz
There is plenty going on in St. Moritz, and here’s a taster:
The White Turf – perhaps the most famous event in St. Moritz? Hard to argue against, as the annual equestrian extravaganza (see main image) is renowned for its glamorous and stylish atmosphere, attracting visitors from across the world.
Various categories of horse races are featured, including flat races, trotting races, and skijoring. The latter involves a skier being pulled behind a horse, showcasing a unique blend of winter sports and horse racing! As this issue went to press, the 2024 edition was just getting underway, so unless you’re able to book a last minute trip you’ll have to wait until 2025 to experience the White Turf for yourself!
Luxury shopping on Via Serlas – Bulgari, Gucci, Hermès, Versace… the Via Serlas earns its reputation as a premier luxury shopping destination by being home to many of the most storied designer brands.
Aside from clothing, there are numerous watch and jewelry shops, including Cartier, as well as high end furniture, making it the perfect shopping adventure.
Events and festivals – if you’re a music lover, you’ll love the SunIce Festival, which is described as the “Coachella of the Alps”. This year’s festival runs from 4-7 April and features leading names from Europe’s DJ community. Back on frozen ground, the Snow Polo World Cup takes place in late January, with six ‘high goal’ (i.e. top level) teams taking to the frozen lake of St. Moritz to compete for the highly coveted Snow Polo World Cup St. Moritz Trophy. Last but not least, with the summer months in mind I would select the St. Moritz Running Festival as something for the more active among us. The event moved to St. Moritz in 2021, and it features five running categories including a fun run and kids’ race.
- Look out for our next issue in May, when Barbara will present her guide to another world-class luxury destination.
Main image: Romilly Lockyer/Getty
St. Moritz view: Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld/Getty
Badrutt’s Palace: Murat Taner/Getty
SunIce DJ: Nico Favero
Be wise, specialize
Luxury Brand Strategy is among the final semester specializations offered by our Bachelor’s in International Hospitality Business. Click the link to discover more.